The proposal that is being put on the table by the plant’s investors is the change of contract model commercialization of thermal power generation. The new agreement would be sealed as reserve energy, in which the plants that are monetized in this way are used to increase security of supply in the National Interconnected System (SIN)complementing the available generation volumes and reducing the risk of shortages when hydroelectric reservoirs are low.
O Mayor of Rio Grande, Fabio Branco, who participated in the delegation at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, considered the meeting very positive. He points out that the presence of representatives of the ministry and Aneel in the same room to deal with the matter was very important. Branco also adds that Silveira rrecognizes the importance of the enterprise and, if there is a technical solution by Aneel, the initiative will continue.
already the planning and development manager at Portos RS (public company responsible for administering the hydroport system in Rio Grande do Sul), Fernando Estimapoints out that it is first time the minister had contact with the project. “There was a ground zero atmosphere with the new (federal) government”, argues Estima. He emphasizes that the construction of the plant will also mean the arrival of natural gas in the port of Rio Grande, which will represent a change in the state’s energy matrix.
In turn, the general director of Grupo Cobra Brasil (a company that wants to proceed with the plant project), Jaime Llopis, thanked the presence of the Rio Grande do Sul authorities at the event in Brasília. “And for us it was an opportunity to reinforce our commitment to the project. We remain firm and with all the will to take this project forward”, says the executive. He reinforces that the tendency to find a solution to make the plant viable is, probably, to adopt the reserve energy contract option. Llopis adds that next Monday (29) there will be a meeting to discuss technical aspects of the situation between representatives of the Cobra Group and Aneel.
The imbroglio over the thermal has been going on for nearly a decade. In 2014, with the conduct of the Bolognese group, the plant won an energy auction to commercialize its generation and allow its implementation. However, due to delays in the original schedule of works (the prospect was that the thermoelectric operation would take place by January 2019), which experienced difficulties regarding the release of environmental licensing at the time, the power plant project grant was revoked by Aneel in 2017.
Today, the Bolognesi group has a rights transfer agreement of the venture to the Spanish company Cobra, but for this measure to materialize, Aneel’s consent is needed and confirmation that the thermal plant will be able to sell its energy production. The unit was planned for a installed power of 1,238 thousand MW (which corresponds to about a third of the average electricity demand in Rio Grande do Sul).
In addition to the plant, the project in Rio Grande foresees the installation of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification plant and a pier at the port to receive the vessels that will handle the fuel. This entire complex would represent an investment of more than R$ 6 billion. Last year, the State Foundation for Environmental Protection (Fepam) granted the prior environmental license (LP) for the LNG regasification unit and the installation license (LI) for the thermoelectric plant. In addition to the possibility of an administrative definition within Aneel regarding the future of the plant, the issue is also being discussed in court.