Data from the National Electric System Operator (ONS) show an optimistic water scenario in the first months of this year for the country’s reservoirs. According to the latest ONS operation bulletin, the forecast is that by the end of January, the Southeast/Midwest subsystem, responsible for 70% of the country’s hydroelectric plants, should have 41.4% of volumes in the reservoirs. In the same period in 2021, this subsystem was at 24.4% storage.
This Wednesday (19), the SE/CO reservoirs had 37.84% of water volume, a significant increase compared to twenty days ago, at the end of December, when this value was 25%.
Professor and researcher at the Alberto Luiz Coimbra Institute for Graduate Studies and Engineering Research at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (COPPE-UFRJ), Marcos Freitas, explains that in the last month the volume of rains was greater than expected, which supplied the demand from the reservoirs left by the water crisis of last year.
“Rain is already expected at this time of year, but what we are experiencing now is an extreme event, in this case more rain. From an electrical point of view, this is very good, because it raises the level of the reservoirs. The problem is that we don’t know where it will rain more or less, so from a management point of view, I think we needed more reservoirs, because we need to store more water,” he points out.
The researcher explains that Brazil has 42 thousand km² of hydrographic basins, almost the size of the state of Rio de Janeiro, which has 44 thousand km² of territorial extension. However, according to him, this is not enough for a country in the proportions of Brazil, which has an area of approximately 8.5 million km².
“Hydroelectric plants were very demonized, if we better regulate and store the country’s rains, we would solve problems such as the lack of water resources and floods, for example. This reduces our vulnerabilities.”
Another factor that should contribute to a more stable energy scenario is the reduction in energy load. According to the ONS, the load in January 2022 should decrease by around 1.6% in the National Interconnected System (SIN), compared to January 2021. Also in the month of December, there was a decrease of 1.3% in the load compared to the same month in 2020.
“We are on vacation, a lot of people are not in the work environments, they were no longer on account of Covid-19, and now people are circulating. Another point is our de-industrialization process, which is a little accelerated, and the industry is responsible for the largest share of energy consumption”, he explains.
According to the ONS, in the last months of 2021 the Brazilian industry recorded lower volumes of sales and production. IHS Markit’s December Industrial Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) assessment is that the latest drop in sales was associated with weak domestic demand for products, ample inventories among customers and problems in the automotive sector, and these facts have been reflected in the performance of the load in January of this year.
Also according to the expert, due to the high prices of electricity, it is unlikely that the high temperatures this summer will increase domestic consumption to the point of impacting the energy load.
The reservoirs located in the Southeast/Midwest of Brazil had 35% of their maximum capacity in the first half of January. It is the highest level recorded by the subsystem since August 2020, when plant levels were 42%. The survey carried out by CNN was based on data released by the National Electric System Operator (ONS) on Friday (14).
Data compiled by CNN show that the Southeast/Midwest reservoirs reached their worst moment in September 2021, when the subsystem registered 16% of total water capacity. In the period, Brazil registered the worst water crisis in the last 90 years, according to the ONS.
Reference: CNN Brasil