Speaking at the inauguration of four new turbines at the TucuruÀ power plant in the state of Pará, Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva declared that the country now has a new model for the electricity sector which will attract more investments, give the sector more operational freedom and remove the danger of future blackouts.
“The rationing of energy and blackouts of 2001 and 2002 are a thing of the past,” said the President.
According to Lula, the Tucuruí expansion is the biggest project in infrastructure and engineering underway in the country at the moment. So far, Tucuruí has cost US$3 billion. With the new turbines, it can now generate 8,370 MW.
Lula went on to say that this year the government was investing R$70 million in Tucuruí and that it should be completed before the end of his term of office.
“I hope to be back here before I leave office to inaugurate a completed hydroelectric project because this is something that is so important to the people of the state of Pará,” declared the President.
The Alternative Energy Sources Program (Proinfa), started by President Lula in March, is born as an option for complementation of National energy. According to Mines and Energy minister Dilma Rousseff, the program focuses on ways to guarantee supply throughout the country.
“About 41% of our energy production is renewable. With regard to our electric energy, 76% is renewable, as it is hydric. Our objective is to diversify renewable energy sources, including production with wind, biomass (such as sugarcane bagasse), and small electric centres (PCH’s). These energies are complementary. The objective of the program is to diversify the energy distribution,” stated minister Rousseff.
The minister signed a decree that establishes the economic values turned to each energy source to be explored, authorizing the opening of a public request for Brazilian electric power generator Eletrobrás to develop new projects.
This way, the program establishes the commissioning of 3,300 MW of energy in the Sistema Interligado Nacional (SIN), the national grid. According to the minister, the program should generate around 150,000 new direct and indirect jobs.
The Proinfa will be supported by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES). The institution has announced the creation of the Financial Support Program for Alternative Electric Energy Sources.
The bank has stated that BNDES participation will total up to 70% of the items that can be financed in the project. The grace period is of up to six months after the project goes into commercial operation, with amortization in up to ten years. Interest will be the Long Term Interest Rate (TJLP), currently at 9.75% per annum, plus 3.5% per year for direct operations.
The bank will support companies that make investment necessary for alternative electric energy generation, including the use of biomass, wind, and PCH’s, considered ecologically clean.
Still on Tuesday, minister Dilma Roussef informed that, since yesterday, Brazil has been exporting electric energy to Argentina, in an emergency program. The minister stated that, based on information transmitted by the Electrical System Operator (ONS), the supply may total up to 500 megawatts, and should last until today (31).
Minister Rousseff explained that this is common practice between both countries, in case of emergencies, and it is not considered a commercial operation, but an energy exchange. Exemplifying this, the minister stated that at a time of energy rationing in Brazil, Uruguay supplied 70 megawatts of energy to the country, in an emergency operation.