Thermal plant output in Peru dips nearly 15% in 2020, due in part to hydro prioritization

Peru’s power grid operator COES reports that that electricity generation totaled 49,179 GWh in 2020, down 7% from 2019, due to reduced offtake on account of COVID-19 lockdown measures and the prioritization of hydropower with its lower variable costs.

According to BNamericas, before the pandemic, power generation in the country had been growing year-on-year, with output up 4% in 2019.

Thermal plants — basically those that use natural gas — were most heavily impacted in 2020, as dispatch from plants with lower variable costs — primarily hydro — is prioritized during weaker offtake. The start of the health crisis also coincided with the end of the rainy season and higher water flow for hydro plants.

Last year, thermoelectric generation slid 14.9% to 17,288 GWh, after showing a 5.69% increase in 2019. Hydro output also dipped in 2020, but only 2.85% to 29,310 GWh, after growth of 2.76% the previous year.

Meanwhile, generation from wind and solar plants — albeit marginal contributors — rose 9.85% and 2.0%, respectively, to 1,803 GWh and 778 GWh. As with hydro, renewable energy resources benefit from priority dispatch.

BNamericas reported previously that amid increasing demand following an easing of COVID-19 restrictions, the traditional balanced mix of gas and hydro had returned to the grid.

COES forecasts that consumption this year will grow 13%.

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