Neoenergia adopts drones to inspect environmental protection areas of hydroelectric plants


​​The technology allows accessing high resolution images to make the mapping and monitoring of the APPs of Baixo Iguaçu, Corumbá III and Teles Pires plants faster and more objective




Aerial view of the Corumbá HPP region​​

The use of technologies can bring more efficiency to activities in the electricity sector, which is why innovation and digitalization of processes are part of Neoenergia's daily activities. At the hydroelectric plants of Baixo Iguaçu (PR), Corumbá III (GO), and Teles Pires (MT/PA), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, are a tool for monitoring the use and occupation of the Areas of Permanent Preservation (APPs) of the reservoirs and for supporting activities related to land organization. The equipment allows accessing high resolution images, which may be worked on through photogrammetry, geoprocessing, and remote sensing tools, providing more agility and objectivity to the control of these areas. In total, there are 28,200 hectares of conservation in some of the main Brazilian biomes: Atlantic Forest, Cerrado, and Amazon.

“The use of drones and other innovative devices facilitates our work in the forest areas, acting in line with the Brazilian Forest Code and the company's commitments towards preservation of biodiversity and the environment. With the images obtained from the drones, we manage to quickly identify possible areas of deforestation or irregular occupations, for example, immediately taking the necessary measures to fight them. Besides, it is a financially viable technology, especially when compared to the satellite images or aerial surveys currently available on the market", states the superintendent of Hydraulic Engineering and Operations at Neoenergia, José Paulo Werberich.

In the APPs, several environmental programs are carried out together with the licensing agencies, with objectives such as recovery of degraded areas, monitoring fauna and flora, and promoting reforestation. The company also works in monitoring these areas, seeking to maintain the forest coverage, and avoiding the occurrence of undue occupations in the preservation areas.

Drones contribute to this work by obtaining high resolution, multitemporal images. From them, mosaics can be formed from images of certain places, the so-called orthophotos, which, in turn, allow technicians to assess and monitor, in detail, the recovery of the Areas of Permanent Preservation with a broader focus. In Baixo Iguaçu, for example, the APP will extend up to Iguaçu National Park, consolidating a Biodiversity Corridor through which species will be able to move freely, and UAVs will provide support to the consolidation activities of these protected areas.

The use of UAVs also brings an advantage for the occupational safety of technicians. With the devices, it is possible to access the visualization of the area in a complete, fast way, thus reducing the need for field work.​


Neoenergia holds interest in seven hydroelectric plants​, with its share in the total installed capacity at 3,030.6 MW. The undertakings have significant Areas of Permanent Preservation around the reservoirs, where conservation activities are carried out for forest areas already established and forest plantations, with the use of various techniques such as total planting, enrichment, nucleation, conducting of natural regeneration, among others, thus constituting Neoenergia's greatest asset in biodiversity conservation and regeneration.

The company is committed towards sustainable development and environment protection, and therefore considers that respect for biodiversity and ecosystems must take a leading role within the scope of business strategy. The company operates with the purpose of reaching zero net loss of biodiversity by 2030, betting - whenever possible - on a positive net impact on its new infrastructure projects.

Baixo Iguaçu

With an installed capacity of 350 MW, the Baixo Iguaçu plant has been operating for two years and plays a key role in strengthening the stability of the National Interconnected System (NIS). Besides generating clean energy, several environmental programs are carried out in the region, such as the Rescue and Scientific Use of Fauna. 1.8 thousand hectares of Atlantic Forest will be recovered in the APP, adding up to 2.7 thousand hectares.

Corumbá III

The Corumbá III hydroelectric plant has 96.45 MW. The enterprise has been operating since 2009, connected to the National Interconnected System (NIS), supplying energy to Neoenergia Distribuição Brasília - distributor acquired by Neoenergia in December 2020 and integrated into the group in March 2021 - and supplies around 10% of the demand of the federal capital. Out of the plant's protected areas, which add up to 5.5 thousand hectares, over 3.6 thousand hectares are forest in an advanced stage of preservation and a great diversity of fauna and flora species, and another 1.8 thousand hectares are areas that were degraded before the company's operations and have already been reforested through the planting of native Cerrado seedlings.

Teles Pires

Since the opening of the Teles Pires plant in 2015, 20 thousand hectares​ of Amazon Forest​, an area equivalent to 28,000 soccer fields, have been benefited through the Forest Restoration Program and the implementation of the Area of Permanent Protection (APP). The planting of 2 thousand hectares of native seedlings is planned to occur by 2030.

Among the areas are about 15,500 hectares of forest in an advanced stage of preservation, already showing a great diversity of species from the Amazonian fauna and flora. In addition, approximately 955 hectares of degraded areas have been reforested through the planting of native seedlings, and 978 hectares will be regenerated naturally, in areas protected against human use, thus allowing the conduction of natural succession by favoring the regional biodiversity.