Without additional production, energy generation will be insufficient from October, alerts ONS | water crisis

The National Electric System Operator (ONS) reported on Thursday (26) that, as of October, the country’s current electricity generation capacity will be insufficient to meet demand. In the assessment of the body, it is essential” to increase energy supply by about 5.5 GW from September.

The conclusions are contained in an update of the technical note on monitoring the conditions of the electricity sector until November.

Among the solutions that the ONS suggests to increase supply are increasing energy imports and putting more thermoelectric plants into operation — which generate more expensive energy (read the body’s proposals below.).

On Tuesday (24), the Electric Sector Monitoring Committee (CMSE), chaired by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, had already informed that there is “relevant worsening” of water conditions in the country, without detailing the picture.

The additional amount required, of 5.5 gigawatts (GW), corresponds to about 7.5% of the current daily load of the electrical system.

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According to the ONS, the main reservoirs in the country will reach the end of the dry period, that is, in October, with low levels of storage. And even with the measures adopted so far to guarantee the energy supply, “the resources are insufficient to serve the energy market and will demand new measures in the short term”.

The scenario worsened due to the lower-than-expected rainfall volume for August, especially in the reservoirs in the South region (video below).

Below-average rains light up an alert in the reservoirs of the largest metropolises

Below-average rains light up an alert in the reservoirs of the largest metropolises

Measures to avoid blackout

The National System Operator suggests the following measures to avoid the risk of a blackout as of October:

  • postpone scheduled maintenance thermoelectric plants, measures that force the shutdown of plants;
  • create conditions to increase the energy import Argentina and Uruguay;
  • put into operation thermoelectric plants who currently do not have a government contract for energy supply;
  • resolve legal issues that prevent the operation of five thermoelectric plants: Goiânia II, Campina Grande, Maracanaú, Palmeira de Goiás and Pernambuco III;
  • enable a third regasifier ship to guarantee the natural gas that allows the operation of thermoelectric plants Termoceará, Fortaleza and Vale do Açu; and
  • replacement of energy that is no longer generated because of the scheduled maintenance of the Mexilhão platform and the Rota 1 gas pipeline, both owned by Petrobras, which flow natural gas to thermoelectric plants;
  • put into operation the thermoelectric plant GNA I, in São João da Barra (RJ).

With these measures, says the ONS, “the energy service is made possible through the incorporation of additional resources, resulting in storage gains and eliminating possible deficits”.

ONS suggestions need to be approved by the Electric Sector Monitoring Committee (CMSE) and by the Chamber of Exceptional Rules for Hydroenergy Management (CREG) in order to take effect.

The ONS also emphasized that it is essential to continue the measures already in progress, such as:

  • additional generation from thermal plants without Variable Unit Cost (CVU),
  • Voluntary Demand Response Program, for the industry to move production outside peak hours in exchange for financial compensation;
  • actions to encourage the population to voluntarily reduce consumption;
  • new flexibilization of the minimum levels in the reservoirs of the Ilha Solteira and Três Irmãos hydroelectric plants;
  • flexibilization of the safety criteria of the transmission lines, to allow a greater exchange of energy from the North and Northeast to the South and Southeast;
  • new temporary flow restrictions at the São Francisco and Itaipu hydroelectric plants, which may add more resources to the availability of power.

In the worst water crisis in 91 years, the government promises a discount for those who reduce energy consumption

In the worst water crisis in 91 years, the government promises a discount for those who reduce energy consumption

Measures to reduce consumption

This Wednesday (25), the government announced an “award” for consumers who manage to save electricity – however, the rules for the program were not disclosed.

In addition, it also determined that federal public agencies must reduce energy consumption by 10% to 20% between September 2021 and April 2022.

At the time, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, once again ruled out the possibility of energy rationing.

The measures were announced after the Electric Sector Monitoring Committee (CMSE) assessed, on Tuesday (24), that there is a “relevant worsening” of water conditions in the country.

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