PV projects totaling 26 GW to compete in Brazil’s A-4 auction

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Brazilian energy agency the Empresa de Pesquisa Energetica (EPE) has admitted 1,581 wind, solar, hydro and biomass projects with a combined capacity of 51.2 GW to the initial phase of the A-4 energy auction, planned for June 27.

Of the contenders, 751 are solar projects totaling 26 GW of generation capacity, wind has a 23 GW share from exactly the same number of projects.

The state of Piauí has the largest total capacity of solar schemes under consideration, with around 6.18 GW, followed by Bahia (6.1 GW) Rio Grande do Norte (4.6 GW), Ceará (3.1 GW), Minas Gerais (2.4 GW), Pernambuco (1.9 GW), Paraiba (739 MW), Sao Paulo (559 MW), Mato Grosso do Sul (400 MW) and Tocantins (225 MW).

Only a small proportion of the eligible projects will reach the auction’s final phase. For comparison, in the A-4 auction held last year the EPE initially admitted 620 PV projects with a combined capacity of more than 20 GW but ultimately allocated 806 MW of solar capacity. Overall, around 1 GW of renewable energy capacity was assigned in the auction, including 114.4 MW of wind, 61.8 MW of thermal from biomass, and 41.6 MW of small hydro.

The projects that will be selected in June’s auction must be grid connected and come into operation by January 1, 2023.

Energy strategy

Brazil’s Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) recently published guidelines for the procurement exercise, which is part of a three-year energy auction plan unveiled by the ministry last month. The plan included six auctions for “new energy” – including solar – for which the MEM has scheduled two auctions per year: an A-4 exercise for power supply to begin four years later, and a six-year A-6 procurement. The A-4 auctions will be held on June 27; April 23 next year; and April 29, 2021. The A-6 auction dates are September 26; September 24 next year; and September 30, 2021.

It is still unclear whether solar will be admitted to the A-6 auctions and the Brazilian government is expected to announce a decision in the weeks ahead.