In the coming days, members of the Chamber’s Mines and Energy Commission want to unblock the vote on the project that creates rules for micro and mini generators, such as the use of solar energy for their own consumption by companies and homes.
Deputies argue that the incentive to these energy generation projects can relieve the demand of the electrical system in the face of the risk of rationing or blackout. Among them is Christino Áureo (PP-RJ), who is president of the Parliamentary Front for the Sustainable Development of Oil and Renewable Energy.
Entities, such as the one representing the energy distribution companies, deny that this proposal will solve the problem of the water crisis and foresee an increase in the electricity bill if the project is approved.
Today, there is an exemption for these small power generation facilities. But the Ministry of Economy has already defended the end of these benefits.
The most current version of the proposal, reported by Deputy Lafayette de Andrada (Republicanos-MG), provides only for the withdrawal of part of the subsidies to these small energy generators, which essentially rely on sunlight.
The text is on the agenda of the Chamber’s plenary. Under the most recent format, businesses and homes with these power generators would not pay all the costs of the electrical system—power distribution and transmission costs or charges.
Charges are, for example, charges that energy consumers pay to help reduce costs for those in need, such as low-income and rural populations.
For the president of Abradee (Brazilian Association of Electric Energy Distributors), Marcos Madureira, the project to be voted on in the Chamber could generate an impact of R$ 130 billion in the coming years.
“When they [microgeradores de energia] do not assume the full costs, these costs will be paid by other consumers. This will lead to an increase in tariffs,” said Madureira.
The point of greatest debate is that the maintenance of subsidies to the solar energy sector favors especially large companies, such as banks, telephone companies, retail networks and agribusiness companies, in addition to high-income population homes, which have the resources to install the panels, according to Idec (Brazilian Consumer Defense Institute).
“Who has distributed generation [nome técnico dado a esses projetos de geração da própria energia] it is those who are able to make a greater investment”, argues Clauber Leite, responsible for the energy area at Idec.
For the project’s rapporteur, the expansion of the use of the solar source makes the activation of thermoelectric plants, with more expensive generation, less necessary in this moment of crisis.
“It’s a great option. The project provides conditions for more people to have access to solar energy”, says Andrada.
Aneel (National Electric Energy Agency), supported by the Ministries of Mines and Energy and Economy, even planned a schedule to end the exemption for the use of the transmission network.
The discussion, however, was blocked by the government, given the speech that the proposal would “tax the sun”. This represented a defeat for minister Paulo Guedes (Economy), who is against subsidies for this type of energy. He argues that only the richest benefit from incentives.
Amidst the impasse, Andrada provides for the payment of only part of the costs to the distributor, called Fio-B. But it kept most of the exemptions.
“Lafayette’s report has quite balanced this discussion. Therefore, it is positive to approve this proposal. These microgeneration projects [de energia] they are quick to install and can help ease the pressure on the system,” said Áureo, defender of the proposal to address this year’s water crisis.
There is still no consensus in the Chamber on the matter, which could delay the plan to vote on the proposal in the coming days.
Abradee says that, although these companies and homes produce part of the energy used, they need the power grid for the microgenerators to work. Without the grid, the investment to install solar energy generation could be ten times greater. Therefore, these facilities should not be exempt from charges, defends the entity.
“We are in favor of solar energy. We are not in favor of subsidies that are paid by one consumer to another”, said Madureira.