Brazil to auction new transmission

Brazil plans to auction about 4,000km of transmission lines ahead of construction of wind power projects in the country's northeastern and southern region.

According to Brazil's federal energy planning authority (EPE), the measure aims to avoid delays in connecting wind farms to the grid.

EPE President Maurício Tolmasquim told O Estado de S.Paulo that it is cheaper to auction power lines than pay wind farms that are unable to produce power due to transmission capacity shortages.

Until now, the government auctioned power lines after signing contracts with generators because it feared not having enough demand for transmission services.

In an effort to identify transmission infrastructure needs, EPE mapped location of wind projects recently auctioned and those designated for future actions into early next year.

EPE will suggest that the energy ministry offers 2,400km of transmission lines in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul to connect 5.6GW of wind projects that could win contracts in auctions later this year. These wind projects would have to be ready for commercial operation by 2018.

In the country's northeast, EPE identified the need to build 1,643km of lines through 2018 to guarantee connections to 8.75GW in expected new wind generation capacity.

There is about 1GW of completed wind generation capacity nationwide idle because of transmission shortages. The government waited until the wind farms were completed  before auctioning the power lines whose construction has been delayed due to problems in negotiating leases for right-of-way and obtaining required environmental licenses.

In Rio Grande do Norte, for example, about 24 wind farms having been waiting since 2012 and 2013 for construction of power lines now due for completion in 2015.