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Cold winters increase demand for Brazilian electricity in other countries

. Aug 31, 2020
energy brazil argentina uruguay Brazil's Itaipu plant. Photo: Maila Facchini/Shutterstock

Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry has granted permission to a local power company to export electricity to Argentina and Uruguay. Copel Mercado Livre, the trading branch of the Paranaense Energy Company (Copel), had already gained the right to import power from the neighboring countries back in June, and now both licenses will be valid until December 2022.

The exchange of electricity with Argentina will take place by way of the Garabi and Uruguaiana power stations, both located in Brazilian border state of Rio Grande do Sul. The energy plants of Santana do Livramento and Jaguarão — in the same state — will be tasked with producing electricity for Uruguay.

</p> <p>This form of electricity &#8216;sharing&#8217; is a frequent occurrence, working in accordance with the <a href="https://brazilian.report/power/2019/08/15/itaipu-paraguay-brazil-tension-mario-benitez-impeachment/">energy resources</a> and demand of each country. For instance, between the second half of 2017 and the first half of 2018, Brazil was forced to import power from its neighbors due to a drought in the country&#8217;s southern region, which dried up the hydroelectric reservoirs responsible for the majority of Brazil&#8217;s energy production. </p> <h2>Energy consumption rises in the cold </h2> <p>Argentina and Uruguay have particularly severe winters, which raises the demand for electricity at a time when Brazil enjoys high consistent winds, resulting in abundant wind power. Brazil&#8217;s exports are made through thermoelectric plants left unused by the national grid, due to the surplus wind energy.</p> <p>In June 2019, Brazil exported 280 megawatts (MW) to Argentina, while June of this year saw the country send 320 MW to its neighbors to the south. According to Capel Mercado Livre, exports to Argentina usually happen in June and July, while Brazil in turn imports electricity between March and May.&nbsp;</p> <p>Copel Mercado Livre has roughly 800 consumers in 14 Brazilian states and trades an average of 1,300 MW of electricity per year. Brazil&#8217;s free energy market was opened in 1995, when legislation created the definitions of free consumers, independent producers, and the Wholesale Energy Market — now called the Electricity Trade Chamber (<a href="https://www.ccee.org.br/portal/">CCEE</a>). Copel&#8217;s involvement with the free energy market began in 1998, when the company signed the first contract on Brazil&#8217;s free market.</p> <h2>Private sector involvement</h2> <p>Two weeks ago, Brazil also began exporting power to Argentina by way of another domestic trader. Tradener, a private firm headquartered in the southern city of Curitiba, was granted permission to sell electricity abroad in July. Valid until December 2022, the contract was signed directly with Argentinian wholesale energy company Compañia Administradora del Mercado Mayorista Electrico (Cammesa) represented in Brazil by Tradener. The value of the contract was not disclosed.&nbsp;</p> <p>Tradener is one of the largest independent traders of electricity and natural gas in the country, focused on free electric energy consumers and independent producers. A pioneer in the segment since 1998, it was the first company in Brazil to receive permission to trade power with consumers and generators in the free market.

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Renato Alves

Renato Alves is a Brazilian journalist who has worked for Correio Braziliense and Crusoé.

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