Briefly Noted … Hydro Power– Brazil will provide Ecuador with a US$300 million credit to build a hydroelectric power plant. The credit would cover a 230 MW plant in Ecuador’s Andean highlands and would be used to pay the Brazilian firm Odebrecht to build the plant. – Ecuador has declared its electric services to be in a state of emergency as a lack of rain threatens to cause an energy shortage. The state of emergency allows the government to limit operating hours for public buildings and to set special prices for fuel used in electric generation. More than half of Ecuador’s electricity is hydroelectric. – Peru has commissioned studies on privatizing or selling concessions in 2003, for the nation’s biggest hydroelectric plant. Mantaro has been valued at US$1.5 billion but requires an investment of $300 million for repairs. Privatization could be important for Peru, whose new government has promised to kick-start growth after a three-year economic downturn. Three foreign groups have been approved to compete for concession rights to the $700 million Olmos hydro project in northern Peru. – In U.S. House Resources Committee has approved two bills that would increase security for federal dams, power substations and transmission lines. The legislation will provide certified law enforcement officers at 348 reservoirs and 58 hydroelectric plants. Regional power administrations would be allowed to offer rewards of US$1,000 for information leading to the conviction of those who commit vandalism or other property crimes at energy facilities. – The Mexican Energy Ministry says it will invest 129 million pesos this year in renewable energy, of which 117 million will go to hydroelectric projects and the rest to geothermal. The goal is to develop the capacity of generation from solar energy and mini-hydro stations. This decade, Mexico expects to invest 21,388 billion pesos in renewables.