Brazil’s Telefonica plans to get 80% of electricity from renewables by June 2021

Brazilian telecommunications firm Telefónica says it aims to get 80% of its low-voltage consumption in the country through distributed generation from renewable sources by the end of June 2021. Of the total, generation will be solar (61%), hydro (30%) and biogas (9%).

According to BNamericas, by the end of the first half of next year, the company expects these three sources to power more than 28,000 sites, such as stores, towers, antennas, telecommunications equipment and offices.

Work toward this goal kicked off in 2018 in Minas Gerais state with a set of hydropower plants with a total generation of 22.4 MWh built by Hy Brazil. (The names and generating capacity of these plants were not disclosed.) The energy was used to power more than 3,000 antennas, among other assets, according to Telefônica Brasil.

In addition, in Mato Grosso, a hydro plant built by Centrais Elétricas Salto dos Dardanelos started operation in March 2019, with generation of 3.5 MWh. (Again, the name and generating capacity of this plant was not disclosed.) Meanwhile, a 4.77-MWh Campinas solar plant developed by TMW Energy went operational in June 2020.

Telefônica Brasil did not disclose figures and financial details. The company said all investments are made by the contracted companies, with a 20-year partnership commitment by Telefônica. When all plants start operations, the operator expects to produce around 670,000 MWh/year for its use.

Telefônica Brasil said it went from 26% of renewable energy consumption – obtained in the free market and in distributed generation – to 100% in 2018. But this level was achieved through the acquisition of energy certificates, or I-RECs (International Renewable Energy Certificates), of wind sources. With the expansion of distributed generation, Telefônica Brasil expects to reduce the acquisition of I-RECs in coming years.

In 2019, energy from renewable sources allowed the company to cut its direct and indirect CO2 emissions by 50% and to save about 7% in energy use.

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