The importation of electricity in Brazil in 2018 was the largest in 17 years, according to data from the national operator of the electrical system (ONS). Only last year, the country imported 1,131 gigawatts-hour (GWh) from Argentina and Uruguay. The account disregards the energy provided by Venezuela, which serves only the state of Roraima.
Since 2001, the largest import of electricity in Brazil was 3,917 GWh. That year, the country went through a rationing due to a lack of rainfall. In 2018, the imported volume was equivalent to 0.24% of all energy consumed in the national territory of 474,242 GWh. Despite being a symbolic quantity, the presence of importation in the sector is seen with good eyes by specialists, as it benefits consumers.
Among the main factors for this increase in imports is the low level of water in the reservoirs of hydroelectric plants — reflecting the lack of rainfall — which leads to the enhancement of the energy produced in the country and generates a high cost for the consumer’s pocket Brazilian.
The lack of rainfall in the reservoirs causes the firing of thermoelectric plants, which generate electricity through the burning of fuels such as oil and gas. The measure saves water from hydroelectric dams, but leaves the cost of energy production even more expensive, raising the extra rates of tariff flags.
Brazil has an electrical interconnection with Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay and can both import and export energy. According to the ONS, exchanges occur when there is “slack of energy resources and generation in one country and need in another, or to respond to emergencies”.
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