Brazil plans power-line auction

Maurício Tolmasquim says this is the first step in developing a dynamic solar market

Maurício Tolmasquim

Brazil will stage an auction in December for 2,400km of transmission lines in the southern region to connect wind power plants that will be built there in the near future, EPE President Mauricio Tolmasquim told Recharge.

The decision kick-starts new power-planning policies announced in July that aim to eradicate grid connection delays by auctioning transmission lines ahead of, or close to, the auction of wind power projects.

The lack of synchronisation between lines and wind farms has raised developers' costs and left 1GW of Brazilian wind capacity unconnected in the past two years.

The December auctions are for the Coxilha de Santana, Escudo Rio-Grandense, Litoral Sul and Costa da Lagoa dos Patos areas, which are due to come on line in 2018.

The projects need an estimated investment of R$2.2bn ($982m).Tolmasquim says that a further auction is planned in 2015 to connect 3GW of wind capacity — 811km of lines — which is also due to be commissioned in 2018.

Tolmasquim also confided that Brazil's 31GW target for new hydropower installations is likely to be extremely challenging, leaving the way open for other energy sources, including wind.

"I think that is the highest limit we can reach, but there is a probability that we won't reach that — it's not an easy objective," he says.

"It is a target, but a very daring one, so we are going to think about how we substitute [the power]."

Tolmasquim says that it is also extremely difficult to map the effect that climate change is likely to have on both hydro and wind output in the medium term.

"There are some studies, but there is a very high level of uncertainty," he says.

"We have to do wind and hydro and then adapt, but it's very hard to predict or know where we should or shouldn't construct."

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