Latin America, News, Pumped Storage Hydro, Regulation and Policy

Batteries, pumped storage hydro and gas storage could gain ground in Brazil

Brazil’s power market could become more attractive for energy storage batteries, pumped hydropower and gas storage projects, according to president of federal energy planning firm Empresa de Pesquisa Energetica (EPE) Thiago Barral, after the adoption of an hourly PLD (index of short-term electricity prices) model.

According to BNamericas, Barral said during the Enase electricity event in Rio de Janeiro earlier this week that adoption of this model should take place in the next two years. 

“Every technology is welcomed as they are competitive and add value to the market. We’re paving the way to removing barriers and making new models possible,” Barral said.   

Underground gas storage is considered important, particularly to help supply thermoelectric plants. Private firms such as French company Engie have already indicated they are interested in the sector.

Studies by EPE show Brazil would have a more flexible and reliable gas market if it had underground gas storage because it could create synergies between the natural gas stored and its current LNG infrastructure. This would create operational flexibility, reduce risks related to price volatility and increase the efficiency of the gas pipeline network.

So far, there is only one such project Brazil – in the Santana field in Bahia state.  

Similarly, pumped hydropower storage plants are also seen as crucial to guarantee the security of the power system and help offset energy load variations, which will grow as the share of renewables in the energy matrix increases.

EPE is conducting studies on the potential for pumped hydropower storage plants in Sao Paulo state. Last year, it published a study showing 15 possible locations for such plants in Rio de Janeiro state, which would provide a potential 21,109 MW. But, at present, Brazil does not have a regulatory framework for this type of infrastructure.