Energy production in Brazil is sufficient to meet demand until 2009, the executive secretary of the Ministry of Mining and Energy, MaurÀcio Tolmasquim guaranteed, earlier this month.
“Through 2009 there is sufficient supply to meet demand, and beginning in 2010 there will be new sources of supply as a result of the bidding procedures that are going to be held to decide on new power plant construction,” he pointed out.
The secretary was in São Paulo to participate in the 14th Forum of Debates – Project Brazil, which is discussing the situation of the Brazilian Energy Matrix.
He used the occasion to congratulate the President of Bolivia, Carlos Mesa, for his declarations assuring that the contract to supply gas to Brazil will be fulfilled.
Brazil can gain a route to ship its products via the Pacific Ocean in, at most, five years, with the construction of four hydroelectric plants along the Madeira River.
The plants’ reservoirs will form a network of waterways with a 4.2 thousand kilometer perimeter between Brazil and Bolivia.
Last September, two companies, the Furnas Centrais Elétricas and Norberto Odebrecht, submitted to the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel) a viability study of the Jirau power plant, which will be built 130 kilometers from Porto Velho, capital of the state of Rondônia, in the Northern region of Brazil.
They have also submitted a viability study of the Santo Antônio power plant, which will be located six kilometers from Porto Velho.
Together, the Jirau and Santo Antônio plants will have the potential to generate 6.3 thousand megawatts (MW) of electric energy, enough to eliminate the dependence of the states of Rondônia and Acre on thermally produced electricity.
The two states’ energy matrix is predominately based on diesel, which is more expensive and dirty. “This corresponds to at least 8% of Brazil’s installed capacity, which amounts to 80 thousand MW,” explained Marcio Arantes, an engineer in Furnas’s Superintendency of Generation Enterprises.
The forecast for the start of construction is June, 2006. “Jirau will begin to generate energy three and a half years after work gets underway, and Santo Antônio, after four and a half years,” Arantes affirmed. Construction is expected to take between eight and ten years.
Furnas and the Odebrecht construction company are awaiting authorization to initiate inventory and viability studies of the two other power plants that will comprise the Madeira River complex.
One of them will be the second binational power plant with Brazilian participation. The project has its location set for the municipality of Guajará Mirim, in Rondônia, on the Bolivian border.
The other plant will be built in Bolivian territory, in Cachuera Esperanza. Studies indicate that the Guajará plant will be able to generate 3000 MW and the Bolivian plant, something on the order of 600 MW.
With the creation of the waterway network, the soybean production of Brazil’s Center-West region, for example, will be able to be shipped through Peru, Bolivia’s western neighbor.
“This would bring a reduction of 3.5 thousand nautical miles, corresponding to the detour made to ship soybeans to Asian markets, [as the shipments are] generally embarked in the ports of Santos or Paranaguá and go south by way of Tierra del Fuego or north by way of the Panama Canal,” Arantes observed.
Another advantage of the waterway network, as José Bonifácio Pinto Júnior, Odebrecht’s contracts director, remarked, is the relief that it will provide to the country’s highway network in the Southeast, Center-West, and South, responsible for transporting a large part of Brazil’s industrial and agricultural production for export.