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Brazil introduces new rules for hybrid power plants

The new provisions define clearly what hybrid power plants are and what kind of grid tariffs they should pay. The regulation may be particularly favorable for hybrid wind-solar plants, especially in North-Eastern Brazil, where the grid is not strong enough to support further renewable energy development.

From pv magazine Brazil newsletter

The Brazilian energy regulator – Aneel – approved, last Tuesday, a new regulation for the operation of hybrid power plants.

Resolution 954/2021 defines what hybrid projects are and establishes the rules for permitting and contracting the use of transmission systems. In addition, it defines what kind of tariffs these plants will have to pay for using the grid, and possible tariff reductions.

The regulation is considered an important step to help Brazil take advantage of the synergies between different sources of energy generation. It allows for combinations of different generation sources, including PV, wind, hydroelectric, and thermoelectric plants.

Combining utility scale facilities, according to the regulator, should allow the use of the transmission network in a more efficient and stable manner while helping plant operators mitigate risks and save on land purchase and other costs.

“The approval of the proposed regulation will be a milestone for the development of hybrid plants, which will provide greater technological diversity, contributing to the modernization of the Brazilian electricity sector,” stated Aneel director Elisa Bastos. “The inclusion of these projects in the electrical system can reduce costs and delay new investments in grid expansion.”

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“This regulation is a leap in quality in the electricity sector and is now the priority of our innovation agenda,” said the director general of Aneel, André Pepitone. “Throughout the entire process of building the regulation, Aneel acted with predictability and transparency, qualities that were recently recognized by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).”

The procedural matters related to the viability of the hybrid plants will be approved by Aneel shortly, with the revision of grid procedures and commercialization rules.

Prior to Aneel’s new resolution, some pilot, hybrid wind-solar projects were undertaken in Brazil. One of these is a 68.7 MWac facility planned to be installed on a plot next to the existing 205.9 MW Ventos do Piauí I wind farm, by the energy division of the Brazilian multinational Votorantim: Votorantim Energia. The commissioning of the entire complex is scheduled for early 2023 and it will have a total installed capacity of 274.6 MW. It will sell energy on the free market.

A study conducted by Brazil’s government-run energy agency the Empresa de Pesquisa Energética, in 2017, stated that, for hybrid wind-solar, the particular characteristics of every geographical area must be taken into account, and that the benefits of every wind-solar project must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The study includes, among other things, an analysis of the advantages of these projects in northeastern Brazil, where the transmission grid has a limited capacity compared to the volume of the proposed wind and solar projects.

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Source: pv magazine