Former Aneel director says that Brazil may suffer ‘involuntary blackouts’

Former director of Aneel (National Electric Energy Agency) and ANA (National Water Agency) Jerson Kelman said that Brazil could suffer blackouts during peak usage hours. In an interview with the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, the specialist said he believed that the country would “scrape by” without electricity rationing this year.

“We have two agendas in 2021. In the short term, it’s to manage supply and demand so that we can spend scraping without rationing. The reservoirs will be very low, no one will sleep calmly until November. It’s a worrying situation. We are taking more risk. November and December, then we can start thinking about a new reform of the sector,” he said.

Kelman was the leader of the task force created by then-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso during the 2001 rationing crisis. Therefore, he pointed out that, as then, “something is wrong now” and stressed that not all problems have been fixed.

Among the main points, according to him, is the overestimated vision of the plants’ physical guarantee. This is because, in the country’s understanding, the system would be able to meet a demand “greater than it could actually manage”.

“In other words, it is not enough to have a thermal plant, you have to have gas. Today we have the same problem. There are two thermal plants in Ceará (Termofortaleza and Termoceará) that do not have gas to operate. They use LNG in a Petrobras vessel. he took the ship from there and took it to Bahia. The maintenance of Mexilhão also put Petrobras’ platforms out of combat. It’s a coincidence. .

In the expert’s view, ANA and the ONS (National Electricity System Operator) should have articulated themselves to work on the flexibility of the operational restrictions of hydroelectric plants, which only happened after the creation of the Creg (Chamber of Exceptional Rules for Hydroenergy Management) – which happened in June 2021.

“It was necessary to create the Creg to take the measures. The Porto Primavera plant, the last hydroelectric plant before Itaipu, had a restriction imposed by Ibama on high flow rates to preserve fish. This restriction emptied not only Porto Primavera but also the plants in the basin of the Paraná River. Creg removed this restriction and Cesp managed to displace a team to capture the fish,” he exemplified in the interview to Estadão.

Finally, Kelman defended the “resumption of evaluations on the possibility of building hydroelectric plants, preferably with reservoirs”. That’s because, in his opinion, the country gave up on building hydroelectric plants “too soon” and “without examining which cases are favorable”.

“Brazil has always been a leader in the field of hydroelectricity and I think we have abandoned this natural wealth too quickly,” he concluded.