Brazil won't change transmission rules despite criticism

Brazil’s energy planning authority EPE said it will not revise grid-connection rules for the upcoming solar and wind tender, despite criticisms by regional authorities and trade groups that wanted changes to the guidelines.

EPE’s president Luiz Barroso said this week that a revision to improve connection arrangements is possible but only for tenders next year. The National Grid Operator (ONS) also published a statement reiterating the grid-connection rules.

In early October the government published a technical note detailing the transmission capacity of the country’s 125,000km national grid and said that over 70% of 35GW of solar and wind projects would not be able to participate in the tender.

According to the tender guidelines, the lines had to be operational before the 1 July 2019 deadline when the generation projects are due to be ready.

This removed three of the most prominent wind and solar states in the country – Bahia, Rio Grande do Norte and Rio Grande do Sul. Projects in other states were also limited.

The governments of these states formally requested the central government to revise the transmission capacity limits, and suggested that it could find alternative connections to the main grid or postpone the start of operations of projects

The problem has been caused by delays in the construction of an important transmission line linking the north-eastern region following the bankruptcy of Spain’s Abengoa, and delays in the construction of a line in southern Brazil by federal power company Eletrosul.

EPE’s Barroso said that the government is trying to avoid extra costs to final consumers in Brazil which would arise if generation projects were built and not connected, repeating a similar problem between 2012 and 2014, when over 1GW of wind projects were built but left stranded because of lack of transmission links.

The National Grid Operator said that if the expansion substation and transmission infrastructure were ready before the expected deadline then they could help increase transmission capacity for future tenders.