Water crisis: committee sees ‘relevant worsening’ and recommends more measures to preserve dams | Economy

The Electric Sector Monitoring Committee (CMSE), a body chaired by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, said on Tuesday (24) that there is a “relevant worsening” of water conditions in the country.

According to the committee, it is essential keep all measures in progress and take new measures to maintain hydroelectric reservoirs.

“As highlighted by the National Electric System Operator (ONS), as seen in recent months, the degradation of the observed scenarios and future prospects predominates, with a relevant deterioration, making it essential to adopt all the measures in progress and proposals, particularly the allocation of additional energy resources and relaxation of hydraulic restrictions”, says the committee in a note.

The collegiate met extraordinarily on Tuesday to assess the conditions of the national electricity system and propose the adoption of new measures. The recommended measures are:

  • Temporary flexibilities of the São Francisco River operation rule – the note does not explain how. “Considering the importance of having additional energy resources in order to ensure the conditions for electrical energy services, and thus minimizing the degradation of storage in the reservoirs of hydroelectric plants in the Southeast and South regions of the country”, states the CSME;
  • use of stored water supplies – the note does not provide further details.

The measures were recommended by the National Electric System Operator and accepted by the CMSE. The topic will continue for consideration by the Chamber of Exceptional Rules for Hydroenergetic Management (CREG), created to manage the water crisis. The chamber is also chaired by the Ministry of Mines and Energy. The CREG meeting takes place this Wednesday (25).

The goal is prevent the country from going through blackouts and having to resort to compulsory energy rationing. The ONS has already admitted, in a technical note, difficulties in meeting the country’s energy demand in October and, mainly, in November.

This difficulty would come from the “depletion of practically all resources [de potência de energia] in the month of November”.

Water crisis: the level of reservoirs in the Southeast and Midwest is the worst in 20 years

Water crisis: the level of reservoirs in the Southeast and Midwest is the worst in 20 years

The country faces the worst water crisis in 91 years. You reservoirs in the Southeast and Midwest, which account for 70% of the country’s energy generation, have 23% of the storage capacity, a level lower than that recorded in August 2001, when the country faced energy rationing.

In November, when the rainy season starts, the ONS predicts that the Southeast/Midwest reservoirs will reach 10% of capacity.

To preserve water in hydroelectric reservoirs, the government has been activating thermoelectric plants, which are more expensive and polluting. It has also been adopting exceptional measures, in partnership with regulatory agencies and the ONS, such as:

  • activation of additional thermoelectric plants;
  • forecast of an auction to contract “reserve” power generation plants;
  • expansion of the possibility of activating thermoelectric plants without an energy commercialization contract in force;
  • increased energy imports from Argentina and Uruguay;
  • exceptional operation of part of the water systems;
  • flexibilization of the storage and flow limits of hydroelectric plants; and
  • flexibilization of the safety limits of the transmission lines, with the objective of “transporting” more energy from the Northeast and North to the Southeast and Center-West; and
  • program that will encourage large consumers, such as industry, to save electricity and shift their consumption outside peak hours in exchange for financial compensation.