Chesf seeks partners for 5MW CSP plant in northeastern Brazil

Brazil's federal power company Chesf is looking for partners to develop a 5MW concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in the country's northeastern state of Pernambuco.

The public invitation will be open to interested parties up to 15 March with the final selection made by 30 March.

Chesf is one of 28 energy companies that declared interest in a CSP R&D program launched by power regulator Aneel in September 2015.

With irradiation that peaks at 5MWh per square metre in the northeast region, Brazil is looking to solar to help diversify its power mix, which is currently largely based on hydro (70%) and polluting thermo-electric sources (20%).

Chesf had already started to draw up plans for investing in CSP before the start of the R&D programme.

In October, Chesf told Recharge that it was planning a 1MW experimental parabolic-trough plant to be built by 2017, and a commercial 50MW-100MW unit that it expects to conclude by 2020, and for which it has still to decide whether to use a central receiver or parabolic-trough technology.

It had already developed a CSP project in partnership with Germany's international development agency Giz and the German development bank KfW.

Under the R&D programme, partners eligible are research centres, equipment suppliers, universities and international or Brazilian 'specialists'.

Chesf will test different CSP technologies, thermal storage, commercial and technical feasibility, and connection to the grid.

Aneel's R&D initiatives are based on legislation that obliges power companies to use 0.4% of their operational revenue to invest in research projects. Aneel needs to approve the project before it is implemented.

Aside from Chesf, Italy's Enel, Spain's Iberdrola and China's State Grid were among the companies that declared interest in the CSP programme.