Any modification determined by the National Electricity Agency (Aneel) in Law nº 14.300/2022, which established the Legal Framework for Micro and Mini-Generation of Energy – also known as the Legal Framework for Solar Energy – would be a “contradiction” and would mainly penalize the small low-income residential consumer.
This is the assessment of Bárbara Rubim, vice president of distributed generation at the Brazilian Association of Solar Photovoltaic Energy (Absolar), one of the entities questioning the technical note released by Aneel on January 26, which proposes changes to the legislation on the matter microgeneration and distributed minigeneration.
In a meeting held on Tuesday (31 January), Aneel’s board decided to postpone the vote on any changes to the legal framework until 7 February. The decision to postpone it was made after suggestions were made by the industry. In all, 17 professionals from associations and companies in the electricity sector attended the Aneel meeting.
“Some contributions have brought me doubts that need to be studied. I know my decision may ultimately frustrate those accompanying us, but I will remove the trial from the agenda with the intention of resuming it at the next meeting,” said Aneel trial rapporteur, Hélvio Guerra.
Entry into force on 6 January 2022, Law no. 14,300 established the new regulatory framework for distributed generation – term used for self-produced energy – and the Social Renewable Energy Program (PERS). In general, the new legislation allows consumers to produce their own energy using renewable sources.
Law No. 14.300 provides for a subsidy for solar energy until 2045 and establishes a transitional rule for those who choose to produce energy independently from 2023 onwards. .
“The law must be regulated by Aneel, but doing it through the proposal presented is a contradiction to all the discussions that took place during the drafting of the law. It is a contradiction that they bring this proposal at a time when Brazil and the world are studying more and more ways to promote the energy transition and stimulate a greater inclusion of clean energy,” says Bárbara Rubim, in an interview with metropolis. “If the legislator, who is the sovereign and representative body of the people, has chosen to create a public policy with the arrival of the legal framework, it cannot be Aneel, through an infra-legal act, who makes this policy unfeasible”.
The points that most concern the sector
According to Absolar, there are two main points that should be addressed by Aneel in its resolution. The first refers to the tariff called Fio B – part of the composition of the energy tariff corresponding to the use of the distribution system.
“When Aneel presented the regulation proposal, it suggested that, in addition to paying Fio B, which is this tariff component that remunerates the distributor, the consumer should continue to pay the minimum tariff or the cost of availability. So, paying these two amounts together means that this consumer will pay twice for using the network. It would be a double burden for consumers who decide to self-produce their own energy”, criticizes Rubim.
The second point disputed by the vice president of distributed generation of Absolar is the application of a third tariff for small consumers, a sort of consumption contract at the plant used by those who choose to self-produce their own energy.
“They are low-income residential consumers, farmers who often work with family farming. Which systems today pay for the use of the network? They are large plants, built to serve large industries or factories,” says Rubim. “What these proposals do is set a triple tariff for low-income small residential consumers. This sensitized the rapporteur to remove the trial from the agenda and open up an extra week of dialogue”.
Another delicate point is the deadline within which distributors will have to adapt their billing systems to the changes proposed by law no. 14,300. Since 7 January 2022, a progressive reduction of contributions for connection to the grid of photovoltaic systems has been underway.
Currently the period of entry into operation, counted from the date of issue of the access opinion, is 120 days for distributed micro-generators, 12 months for mini-generators with solar sources and 30 months for mini-generators from other sources. However, there are cases in which the distributor recognizes the need to carry out interventions on the electricity grid to make the generation connection practicable.
According to Aneel’s understanding, the grid work cannot mean outstanding issues suspending the 12-month deadline for the start of injection of the distributed solar generation project. The measure would mainly concern projects delivered by 7 January 2022, when there was full subsidy for grid connection.
In the month of December alone, there were over 100,000 requests for connection to the grid from distributors. Estimates indicate that the number of out-of-court notifications against distributors who have not complied with requests would already be close to a thousand. According to trade associations and entrepreneurs, the regulation of solar energy, if approved as it stands, could lead to definitive jurisdictionality.
For Bárbara Rubim, the removal of the discussion at Aneel from the agenda is a sign that the speaker himself was convinced by some of the arguments presented by the sector.
“We understand that this is a result of the rapporteur’s awareness of the many points that need to be changed in the draft resolution, so that Aneel can achieve what he said he set out to do, which is to ensure that its energy generation remains viable to the smallest, low-income consumer,” he says. “Unfortunately, with the proposals we had on the table up until then, this would no longer be a reality in much of the country”.
Solar energy in Brazil
Solar energy is an alternative, renewable and sustainable source of energy from electromagnetic radiation (light and heat) emitted by the sun. This type of energy can be used in various ways, for example through solar thermal panels, solar thermal systems and photovoltaic panels.
Energy generated by solar panels became the country’s second-largest source earlier this year, surpassing the total generation capacity of wind farms, according to data from Absolar and Aneel.
According to the survey, the solar source has reached 23,854 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity, which corresponds to 11.2% of the national capacity. Wind energy is equal to 23,754 MW (11.1%).
Electricity remains dominant in the country, with a capacity of 109,719 MW, which represents 51.3% of the national park. The other sources of electricity are natural gas (8.2%), biomass (7.8%), diesel (4%), coal (1.7%) and nuclear (0.9%) .
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