Company will soon put into operation three wind farms and two large solar plants
Paula Dalbello — Foto: Silvia Zamboni/Valor
The EDP group’s plan to grow in renewable energy involves Brazil. The Portuguese company’s ambition to reach 20 GW of installed capacity by 2025 has the country as one of the main vectors of growth outside Europe.
Paula Dalbello, the new country manager of EDP Renováveis do Brasil, took over the command of the company less than two months ago with the challenge of putting large-scale projects to work. For 2023, the renewable energy generation branch of the group plans to put into operation three wind farms in the Northeast region. In addition, there are two more mega plants, which yield 463 MW, in São Paulo and Rio Grande do Norte. Combined, the plants total more than 1 GW.
In parallel, the executive has the personal challenge of taking care of little Gregory, a five-month-old baby, and between meetings she finds time to breastfeed. The civil engineer told Valor that her goal is to get the projects off the paper and put them into practice. This includes prospecting and developing them until they mature for construction, which means finding good areas, connection points, entering auctions, and closing new power purchase and sale agreements (PPA).
The favorable natural conditions for renewable generation make Brazil the company’s second-largest market. The promise is to invest R$24 billion, but they do not detail the share that will be destined for Brazil. The intention is to build between 1,000 MW and 1,200 MW of renewable projects by 2025, in addition to 6.9 GW of projects with concession or authorization for the medium and long term.
“We have 790 megawatts (MW) in operation, a great part of which is in Rio Grande do Norte. For the coming months, we have three wind power projects in the state that add up to 580 MW. One is already in the operational test phase and two others should start early next year. Also in 2023, we will have two more solar projects, which are coming off the paper, of 463 MW in São Paulo and Rio Grande do Norte,” said the executive.
Most of the energy from the plants is likely to be intended for the free energy market, given the context of the opening in which a greater number of consumers served with high voltage will be able to opt to purchase electricity from any supplier as of January 1, 2024.
Specifically in solar, the company will build the projects in partnership with EDP Brasil, also a subsidiary of the Portuguese group operating in Brazil. The disarrangement of the segment’s supply chains raised capex but was not an obstacle for the projects. “We bring the project, and they help us find the PPAs and the investment is made together,” he explains.
Recently EDP Renováveis sold to Copel the wind complexes Aventura and Santa Rosa & Mundo Novo for R$1.8 billion. It is a strategy of the Portuguese company to rotate assets, which facilitates the monetization of the generating parks before they reach the end of their useful life, besides raising funds for the projects under construction.
“It is a strategy that allows us to feedback the process. We are happy to fulfill the company’s global objective by using our own resources to develop those projects,” says Mr. Dalbello, guaranteeing that there are no more assets available to the market for rotation in the short term.
The Northeast region is the flagship of renewable energies in Brazil and where EDP’s main plants are located. However, the bottleneck of transmission lines has made it difficult for the companies to drain the amount of energy, so the alternative has been to make a mix between submarkets with common connection points, a strategy that has made entrepreneurs migrate to other regions of Brazil.
This is perhaps why São Paulo has become an option. In 2021, the company inaugurated the Pereira Barreto solar complex, in the countryside of the state, with an installed capacity of 252.29 MWdc. The investment was R$750 million, the multinational’s largest investment outside Portugal.
Next year, work will start on the Novo Oriente Solar project, in the municipality of Ilha Solteira, also in São Paulo state, which will have an installed capacity of 254 MWac. Besides the advantage of being close to the consumer centers, the company can also reduce transmission costs.
“It is up to us, as developers, to align our development strategy with best practices. We are developing projects in the Southeast, which is where we will mitigate the impact of the transmission costs of our projects,” he said.
*By Robson Rodrigues — São Paulo
Source: Valor International