The Baixo Iguaçu Hydro Power Plant (PR), controlled by Neoenergia, was approved by the National Electric System Operator (ONS) in black start test and became part of the group of projects in the country with self-restoring features. These generating plants are strategic for the reliability of the National Interconnected System (SIN) because they have the ability to restore important corridors in cases of occurrences such as the so-called blackouts. The company already has two other assets endowed with these solutions, the Itapebi (BA) and Teles Pires (PA) plants.
“This is a demonstration of the fundamental role of the Baixo Iguaçu plant in strengthening the stability of the electrical system. It is a project that started operating only two years ago, but it has this strategic function due to its location and the large installed capacity, of 350 MW, enough to serve 1 million people with clean and renewable energy", states the superintendent of Operations and Hydraulic Engineering at Neoenergia, José Paulo Werberich.
The first black start test at the Baixo Iguaçu plant was carried out in March to assess, through simulations, whether the plant's self-restoring features have the proper performance of the operation in the event of systemic disturbances. The project has diesel-powered generator sets, which can be operated autonomously to power the equipment after an eventual blackout, enabling the Neoenergia System Operation Center, located at its headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, to remotely promote the restoration of thus contributing to the normalization process of the electrical system.
The National Operator concluded that all technical indicators were met. In the event of a blackout, the plant's self-restoration will allow the power supply to resume in the southern region of Brazil more quickly.
If there is a blackout, black start solutions serve to create kind of islands in areas of great socioeconomic and strategic importance, pre-defined by ONS, which will have their supply resumed more quickly. The load that must be met by self-restoring generators is also determined by the national operator. From the moment the SIN returns to stability, with these areas already recomposed, the agency is able to interconnect them more easily and safely.
At the Itapebi hydro power plant, for example, it is possible to supply a power of up to 229 MW in the event of a blackout thanks to self-restoring features. The project can make the prompt restoration in the surroundings of Porto Seguro, a region with relevant paper for the economy of the state of Bahia due to the presence of the pulp and paper industry. To provide more security and reliability to the SIN, black start tests are carried out annually.
In addition to having a fundamental role for the SIN, the Baixo Iguaçu plant brought several socio-environmental and economic benefits to the region. One of them is that the hydro power plant contributed to the regulation of the flow of the Iguaçu River, guaranteeing the natural beauty and collaborating with the preservation of the biodiversity of the Iguaçu National Park, which is a Natural Heritage of Humanity. Since its construction, actions have been carried out with the objective of assisting in the sustainable development of the region, maintained until today. Among the highlights in the conservation of biodiversity are the Program for the Rescue and Scientific Use of Fauna and the Permanent Protection Area (APP), (Programa de Resgate e Aproveitamento Científico da Fauna e a Área de Proteção Permanente, in Portuguese) of the plant's reservoir, where 2,700 hectares of one of the most important Brazilian biomes are protected, the Atlantic Forest.