Fabiola Zerpa, Bloomberg News
EnergiesNet.com 210 24 2023
Venezuela agreed to resume sending hydroelectric power to the Manaus region of Brazil, a move that strengthens energy ties between President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s government and Nicolas Maduro’s socialist regime.
Lula’s energy minister, Alexandre Silveira, is visiting the Andean nation this week to discuss importing energy from the Guri hydro plant to the state of Roraima. He’ll meet his Venezuelan counterparts and visit the facility on the Caroni river, his office said.
State-owned Venezuelan electric utility Corpoelec plans to dedicate 200 megawatts of its 10,000 megawatts installed-capacity from the plant to supply power to its neighbor in northern Brazil, according to two people familiar with the plans who requested anonymity ahead of the official announcement.
Brazil initially expects between 25 megawatts and 30 megawatts of Venezuelan energy to begin arriving within a month and for Roraima to be integrated into the national power system within a year, Silveira said last week. The remote state isn’t yet integrated into the Brazilian electrical grid.
It’s not yet clear how much adequate transmission lines will cost or who will pay for them. In May, Maduro said rebuilding them would require between $4 million and $5 million in additional investment.
Roraima has been relying on diesel-fueled thermopower plants since March 2019, when it halted imports from Venezuela due to the frequent blackouts at Guri. At the time, 75% of power supplied to Manaus came from the Andean nation.
The energy relationship between the two countries was broken when former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro severed ties with Maduro’s regime and recognized former lawmaker Juan Guaido as the legitimate head Venezuela’s government.
Venezuela and Brazil initially struck a power supply deal in the 1990s. Electricity started flowing after towers were inaugurated in 2001 by Maduro’s late predecessor, Hugo Chavez, and former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
–With assistance from Mariana Durao.
bloomberg.com 10 23 2023