The lives of more than 100 families living in the small Xique-xique, isolated community of Remanso, Bahia, has a new history. With the arrival of electricity from a clean and renewable source, the residents of this locality, approximately 720 kilometers from the capital Salvador, began to have access to energy 24 hours a day. Neoenergia has completed the installation of a solar plant and distribution network that form the microgrid system. A pioneer in the Northeast, the energy solution brings innovation and provides well-being for everyone in the region, besides being also the first 100% sustainable in the country.
Near the São Francisco River, Xique-xique is an isolated community with about 400 inhabitants who live basically from family farming and home-grown honey production. "It was the best thing that ever happened. The lack of energy was one of our greatest difficulties. Now we have a refrigerator, washing machine and television that we can use at any time," says Adriano Pereira dos Santos, a resident of the community.
In addition to 110 residences, the Neoenergia project included a school, a community artesian well and a residents' association. The power is completely clean, coming from a solar plant with 616 panels installed, with a generating capacity of 243 kWp. The system can guarantee an average consumption of 80 kWh per month for homes. There is also storage by lithium-ion batteries, with the capacity to ensure supply for 48 hours when there is not enough solar radiation. 26 kilometers of primary distribution network and nine more kilometers of secondary grid were built that bring electricity to consumers. 387 poles and 32 transformers were also installed.
The microgrid system is an alternative solution to enable the supply of energy in isolated communities, where the expansion of transmission and distribution networks can be complex due to geographical, environmental and structural conditions. "Neoenergia invests in this initiative that could benefit other remote communities in the country. More than providing sustainable electricity, with quality and efficiency, we are promoting economic and social development for families," says Heron Fontana, Director of Processes and Technology at Neoenergia.
The operation of the plant and the distribution of power are monitored by the IOC (Integrated Operations Center) and CEGRI (Intelligent Grid Management Center) of Neoenergia Coelba, located in Salvador (BA). For this, a satellite antenna was installed that ensures the monitoring of equipment, meters and distribution performance. All power meters are intelligent, allowing remote reading of each customer's consumption, energy supply management and monitoring of voltage and current levels.
The Remanso microgrid project is a pioneer in the Light for All Program, created by the Federal Government to bring electrification to remote areas and universalize access to energy. The initiative received funds from Neoenergia's Research and Development Program (R&D), regulated by the National Electric Energy Agency (ANEEL) and was recognized with two trophies at the 2022 OSE Award "The Electric Sector" in the categories "research and development" and "best work".
The initiative will also generate data so that, in the laboratory, the application of a microgrid with super capacitor for storage is simulated. " The investment in microgrids is related to the expectation that the technology will have greater market support, which can generate cost reduction, enabling the expansion of projects like this in the country and benefiting other communities in remote areas that are not yet served by the conventional distribution electricity network," explains Neoenergia's corporate R&D manager, José Antonio Brito.
The microgrid solution is also aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations (UN) with which Neoenergia is committed, especially number 7, priority for the company for providing for the supply of clean and affordable energy. With access to energy, this population will have economic and social benefits, which will be monitored within the scope of the project to ensure the development of the locality.
In addition to the distribution of energy, Neoenergia carried out social actions for the residents of Xique-xique. Adriano Pereira dos Santos' family is among the beneficiaries of the company's Energy Efficiency Program, regulated by ANEEL, which has given more than 90 refrigerators to the community. "I'm happy. We can conserve food and drink cold water. It's an achievement," said his wife Rafaela Ferreira de Sousa.
The company's initiative also encompasses education for conscious consumption. Lectures and educational actions on energy efficiency and safety were held before and after the completion of the microgrid. Residents who are able to enroll in the Social Tariff program that grants discounts of up to 65% on the electricity bill for low-income consumers.