Transmission networks are responsible for safely and reliably bringing the energy produced in generation plants to consumers. That is why the expansion of this system is the basis for the development of the electricity sector. Contributing to the growth of the Brazilian market, Neoenergia invested R$ 2 billion in transmission projects in 2020, when it energized two substations and 359 kilometers of transmission lines, with early deliveries within 25 months. The investment was 235% higher than 2019, which represents an increase of R$ 1.3 billion in comparison to the previous year. The company stood out in the latest auction held by the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency (Aneel), in December, by acquiring the longest batch in the auction.
“In 2020, we managed to overcome the challenges and move forward with our projects by advancing investments and generating jobs. With innovation, efficiency and planning, we carry out our works with cost savings and anticipation of the schedule, which confirms the expected rates of return, adds value to our investors and contributes to the growth of the electricity sector", said Neoenergia's Transmission Director, Luís Alves.
Last year, the substations of Sobral (CE), Biguaçu (SC) and three sections of the Dourados (MS) project were energized, which represented more than half of the 578 kilometers of the transmission line. All enterprises were acquired in the auction held in April 2017 - batches 4, 20, 22 and 27 - and added, still in 2020, R$ 79 million of RAP (Annual Permitted Revenue), that is, 75.9% of the total forecast amount.
The substations have a Reactive Static Compensator, one of the most modern technologies on the market. To make the commencement of Biguaçu's commercial operation safely feasible in July last year, the company used augmented reality technology to perform the commissioning of the substation. The projects were also responsible for environmental innovations, such as the trailblazing use of eucalyptus stowage to access the transmission towers, avoiding the grounding of flooded areas and, thus, contributing to the conservation of the local biodiversity and landscape.
Neoenergia already has three other projects in operation and eight more under construction, with a highlight to the acquisition of batch 2 from the December 2020 auction. The new project will be the company's largest in extension, with the construction of 1,091 kilometers of lines, particularly in Bahia, in addition to Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. Altogether, the company has 1,038 kilometers of lines in operation and about 6 thousand kilometers under construction. The greater number than the distance between the extreme points of Brazil from east to west - Moa River spring, in Acre, and Ponta do Seixas, in Paraíba, which are 5,000 kilometers away from each other.
With the acceleration of projects, Neoenergia has good forecasts of anticipation, in relation to Aneel's business plan and contractual deadlines for the delivery of the final two sections of Dourados transmission lines and other enterprises under construction. Acquired at the auction held by the regulator in December 2017, the line has a total of 729 kilometers across the states of Tocantins, Maranhão, Piauí and Bahia and aims to contribute to the interchange of energy between the Northern and Northeastern regions and drain a portion of the production by Belo Monte (PA) hydropower plant, which holds an interest in the company. In 2020, 1,363 jobs were created.
Santa Luzia (PB) transmission line, acquired in batch 6 of the same auction, created 943 jobs in 2020 and is also at a fast pace. The project will be responsible for flowing the energy generated by Chafariz Wind Complex, which is under construction in Paraíba and is one of the company's main projects as for clean generation. To prevent contamination of employees by Covid-19, a strict health and safety protocol was adopted in all works, which provides for testing of professionals, mandatory use of masks and intensification of personal hygiene and environmental measures.
Due to the pandemic, Neoenergia needed to innovate in order to continue with the necessary environmental licensing processes for the advancement of transmission projects. For that purpose, the first virtual public hearings of the electricity sector were held in partnership with Ibama (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) and with the state environment agencies. The digitalization contemplated the projects in Vale do Itajaí, acquired in batch 1 of auction 004/2018, and Lagoa dos Patos, acquired in batch 14 of the same auction. In batch 1, previous licenses for three substations were obtained. In batch 14, the Marmeleiros and Livramento substations and the Santa Maria-Livramento transmission line are already under construction. Batches 2 (Guanabara, in Rio de Janeiro) and 3 (Itabapoana, between Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais) of the same auction are also under licensing process, in addition to batch 9 (Rio Formoso, in Bahia) of auction 002/2019.