Aneel to hold an auction for thermal power plants

The National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel) will hold an auction to hire plants to guarantee the supply of electricity from April 2022 to December 2025. Although the government has opted for a “simplified process”, the general director of regulatory agency, André Pepitone, stated that an auction will be held for contracting the projects. However, there is still no forecast for when the round will be held, as the notice is still being prepared.

According to Pepitone, this contracted energy will be used to serve the population and allow the recovery of reservoirs, which are at alarming levels due to the worst water crisis ever recorded in the country. “The simplified procedure is being structured. The auction will be carried out by Aneel through a notice that will call these companies to make their bids, having to present fuel and connection guarantees,” he said after the inauguration event of a Taesa transmission line, in Janaúba, Minas Gerais.

The possibility of carrying out a simplified process to contract capacity reserve to face the water crisis is provided for in Provisional Measure 1.055/2021. The text, which still needs to be analyzed by the National Congress, does not say how the procedure should be done. In theory, the government could dispense with holding an auction. The recommendation was made by the Electric Sector Monitoring Committee (CMSE) and ratified by the Chamber of Exceptional Rules for Hydroenergy Management (Creg) last Thursday (9).

The acquisition of reserve capacity was recently authorized through Provisional Measure 998, issued last year. The decree that regulates the legislation provides that thermoelectric and hydroelectric power plants may participate in disputes. The government’s decision, however, indicates the contracting of plants in the Southeast/Midwest and South subsystems, where water scarcity is more serious at the moment, which should favor the participation of thermal plants in the simplified processes.

The costs of this contract, including administrative and financial and tax charges, will be apportioned among all energy users in the electricity system, including consumers operating in the so-called free market and some self-producers.

Also present at the event, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, stated that expenses with energy generation, of course, reflect on the electricity bill of consumers, but that holding this auction could result in a reduction in this cost, as the contracts will be made in advance and predictably. The minister acknowledged that ensuring energy security and energy supply for the entire population are “great challenges.”

“Energy generation falls on the consumer’s bill, of course, as energy is made for consumers. What we are working on, anticipating, is that we will have to fill the reservoirs and we will do this not only with rain, but also with use of other energy sources,” he said. “We are not only meeting a need, but giving predictability to the entrepreneurs who will generate this energy. We are going to make five-year contracts, which will lower the cost of energy, as the thermal contracts will be made with diesel oil and natural gas suppliers well in advance.”

Asked about the forecasts of the National Electric System Operator (ONS), which point to even more alarming levels in the reservoirs in the coming months, Albuquerque stated that the very low levels are not so “relevant”. “Of course, we would like to have more water in our reservoirs. The important thing is to have governance of the system, so that we can later fill these reservoirs over time. This is fundamental and we work 24 hours a day, to maintain governance, which means there is no shortage of light for the population,” he said.