Hydropower projects and environmental licensing process: how different countries manages the problem





Hydroelectric Power; Environmental Licensing; Environmental regulation.


This research seeks to establish a comparative study among selected countries (Brazil, United States, Canada, Chile and Portugal), regarding aspects of the environmental licensing process for hydroelectric projects. The previous studies consider the Brazilian environmental licensing process to be very complex and differentiated from the other selected countries. There is also a lack of homogeneity among the countries surveyed. In general, environmental licensing is considered a "bottleneck" for the Brazilian electricity sector. With this analysis, it was intended to verify what types of procedures exist in other countries and that could be adopted by Brazil, in order to improve the environmental licensing process of hydroelectric plants. Thus, according to the experience of the countries analyzed, Brazil could improve relations with indigenous peoples and establish a maximum period for finalizing the licensing of hydroelectric plants. Comparative international experiences are important for possible adjustments in the Brazilian licensing process, however, one must not confuse the bureaucracy of the process with excessive simplification.


ANEEL. (2020). Financial Compensation (CFURH) - Legal Aspects. Agência Nacional de Energia Elétrica. http://www.aneel.gov.br/cfurh-aspectos-legais.

APA. (2019). Avaliação de impacte ambiental do aeroporto do Montijo e respetivas acessibilidades: Proposta de Declaração de Impacte Ambiental Favorável Condicionada. Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente (APA). https://www.tsf.pt/portugal/sociedade/agencia-portuguesa-do-ambiente-aprova-com-condicoes-aeroporto-do-montijo-11464718.html

Bass, R. & Herson, A. (1996). Strategic environmental assessments in the US: policy and practice under the National Policy Act and the Californian Environmental Policy Act. Paper presented in IAIA'96 16th Annual Meeting, Estoril

Ben. (2019). National Energy Balance. MME. Ministry of Mines and Energy. Base Year 2018. Brazil, 2019.

Bermann, C. Hydroelectricity impasses and controversies. Advanced Studies, São Paulo, 21 (59), 2007. P. 139-153.

BRAZIL. (2002). MMA - Ministry of the Environment. Strategic Environmental Assessment. Brasília: MMA; SQA.

Britto, F. (2014). Critical analysis of the environmental licensing of HPPs in the Brazilian Amazon. Doctoral thesis. Graduate Program in Civil Engineering. COPPE / UFRJ. Rio de Janeiro.

Chile Atiende Portal. Environmental Impact Study (EIA) and Environmental Impact Statement (DIA). https://www.chileatiende.gob.cl/fichas/2638-estudio-de-impacto-ambiental-eia-y-declaracion-de-impacto-ambiental-dia

Damazio, J., Medeiros, A., & Abreu, J. et al. (2017). Data Analysis of Campaigns to measure emissions and removals of greenhouse gases in hydroelectric plants in Brazil. ANEEL research and development magazine, 98-101.

Drummont, E. & Nascimento, J. Amazônia: Economic dynamism and environmental conservation. 1 st ed. 336p. Publisher Garamond. Rio de Janeiro, 2003.

FERC. federal energy regulatory commission. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). 2012. http://www.ferc.gov/help/faqs/cfr.asp

FERC. federal energy regulatory commission. Hydroelectric Licensing under the Federal Power Act. 2003. http://www.ferc.gov/whats-new/comm-meet/072303/H-1.pdf

FORTIN, P. (2001). The hydro industry and the Aboriginal people of Canada: Paving the way for new relationships. Hydropower & Dams i. 3, p. 47-50.

Gonzalez, D., Kilinc, A., & Weidmann, N. (2011). Renewable energy development hydropower in Norway. In Hydropower Norway Seminar Paper.

HRC. Hydropower Reform Coalition Citizen guide for effective participation in hydropower licensing. [Sl], 2015.

IEA HIDROPOWER. Survey of existing guidelines, legislative framework and standard procedures for EIA of hydropower projects. IEA Technical Report. 2000.https://www.ieahydro.org/media/51693b42/Survey%20of%20existing%20guidelines,%20legislative%20framework%20and%20standard%20procedures%20for%20EIA%20of%20hydropower%20projects.pdf

IEA. (2012). International Energy Agency. Technology Roadmap Hydropower. 68p. Paris.

IEA. (2020). International Energy Agency. Global Energy & CO2 Status Report. https://webstore.iea.org/download/direct/2461?filename=global_energy_and_co2_status_report_2018.pdf

IPCC. (2014): Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. [Core Writing Team, R.K. Pachauri and L.A. Meyer (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, 151 pp. https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/syr/

Kumar M. (2020). Social, Economic, and Environmental Impacts of Renewable Energy Resources. In K. E. Okedu, A. Tahour, & A. G. Aissaou (Eds.), Wind Solar Hybrid Renewable Energy System. IntechOpen. https://doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.89494

Lee, Peter G, Hanneman, Matt, & Cheng, Ryan. (2012). Hydropower developments in Canada: number, size and jurisdictional and ecological distribution. Global Forest Watch Canada, 64 p.

Mercure, J. F., Salas, P., Vercoulen, P., Semieniuk, G., Lam, A., Pollitt, H., & Vinuales, J. E. (2021). Reframing incentives for climate policy action. Nature Energy, 6(12), 1133-1143.

MMA. (2020). Federal Environmental Licensing Procedures Guide. Reference document. Brasília, 2002. https://www.mma.gov.br/estruturas/sqa_pnla/_arquivos/Procedimentos.pdf

Natural resources canada. (2019). Electricity facts. https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/electricity-facts/20068#L3

PIAGENTINI, P; Favareto, The Institutions for environmental regulation: the environmental licensing process in four hydroelectric producing countries. Development and Environment, v. 30, p. 31-43, Jul. 2014.

Rosenberg, D. M.., McCully, P., & Pringle, C. M. (2000). Efeitos ambientais de alterações hidrológicas em escala global: introdução. BioScience , 50 (9), 746-751.

Santos, M. & Rosa, L. (2013). Hydroelectric Power Plants. In: New and renewable energy sources. p.179-192. SANTOS, M (Orgs). 216p. Publisher LTC. Rio de Janeiro.

Santos, M., Rosa, L., Matvienko, B., Santos, E., & Rocha, C. et al. (2008). Emissions of greenhouse gases by hydroelectric reservoirs. Oecologia Brasiliensis, 12 (1): 141-154.

Silva Júnior, O; Santos, M., & Szlafsztein, C. et al. (2018). Protected areas as strategies for preserving vegetation cover in the vicinity of hydroelectric projects in the Brazilian Amazon. Energy Sustainability and Society 8: 33. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13705-018-0172-1

Steeves, B. B., & Ouriques, H. R. (2016). Energy security: China and the United States and the divergence in renewable energy. Contexto Internacional, 38, 643-662.

US EIA. (2012). US Energy Information Administration Electricity in The US. https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/electricity/electri city-in-the-us.php

Von Sperling, E. (2012). Hydropower in Brazil: overview of positive and negative environmental aspects. Energy Procedia, 18, 110-118.

Webb, J. W., & Sigal, L. L. (1992). Strategic environmental assessment in the United States. Project Appraisal, 7(3), 137-142.

Word Bank. (2008). Licenciamento Ambiental de Empreendimentos Hidrelétricos no Brasil: Uma Contribuição para o Debate. (Em Três Volumes). Volume I: Relatório Síntese. Relatório Nº 40995-BR. Escritório do Banco Mundial no Brasil, Estudo Econômico e Setorial, Região da América Latina




How to Cite

SANTOS, M. A. dos .; ANDRADE, A. L.; SILVA JUNIOR, O. M. da .; MARINS, G. M. dos S. .; RIBEIRO, P. E. A. M. .; BOITÉ, P. S. N. .; MORAES, V. R. de . Hydropower projects and environmental licensing process: how different countries manages the problem. Research, Society and Development, [S. l.], v. 11, n. 3, p. e17711326408, 2022. DOI: 10.33448/rsd-v11i3.26408. Disponível em: https://rsdjournal.org/index.php/rsd/article/view/26408. Acesso em: 23 jul. 2024.



Review Article