SNAPSHOT: Paraguay's push to ease power dispatch congestion

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The benefits of a comfortable power generation reserve margin can only be enjoyed with a reliable electricity transmission and distribution system.

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Case in point, Paraguay, whose reserve margin stands at around 230% while dispatch is stymied by weather and growing offtake.

In April and May, state power company Ande issued five statements announcing that "adverse climatic conditions" knocked out feeders that supply capital Asunción and the metropolitan region, and downed towers in other parts of the country.

(CREDIT: Ande)

Consumption spikes because of above-average temperatures during summer also have placed a strain on lines and substations. Load demand hit a record 2,656MW this January.

Associated power losses totaled 26% in 2014, according to data from the country's national energy information system, SIEN.

Paraguayan power transmission losses (CREDIT: Ande).

To shore up infrastructure and ease congestion, authorities have stepped up efforts to bolster the grid, led by flagship transmission project Yacyretá-Ayolas-Villa Hayes.

The 500kV line will run alongside an existing line and reinforce transport capacity from the Yacyretá hydroelectric dam and help optimize and balance the flow of electricity from the Itaipú hydroelectric dam.

Offers for the new line and associated substation work are due this month.

On Thursday, the EBY joint venture that operates Yacyretá launched operations of the project to increase Paraguay's connection to 500kV from 220kV which will allow 750MVA delivery to Ande from the current 500MVA.

Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes at Yacyretá dispatch event (CREDIT: Paraguayan government)

Work also is underway to improve energy delivery from Itaipú, such as 220kV 20km line Villa Hayes-Puerto Sajonia, due online in August.

Other projects to increase grid quality and service reliability include construction of 220kV substations Vaquería and Mallorquín in respective departments Caaguazú and Alto Paraná.

In 2014, the country's transmission network included 364km of 500kV line, 4,022km of 220kV line and 1,267km of 66kV, and 90 substations.