Brazil’s RZK Energia looks to double its installed capacity in 2 years

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Brazil’s RZK Energia looks to double its installed capacity in 2 years

Brazil’s RZK Energia delivered last week the Tanabi solar power plant to telco Claro.

Located in Tanabi, São Paulo, the 6.3MW plant is part of a partnership between the companies that includes four more solar plants, two biogas plants, and one hydroelectric plant, totaling 36MW of installed capacity.  

The program will generate the equivalent of 80% of the energy consumed in all the telecommunications company's operations and installations in Brazil.   

BNamericas spoke with RZK's CEO, João Neves (pictured left), and the company's commercial director, Ricardo da Silva (pictured right), about the projects.

BNamericas: Claro's energy program contemplates 70 power plants. What’s RZK Energia's participation in the initiative?

Neves: We’ve been, since the beginning, part of some of these plants. And I believe we’re Claro's largest supplier of distributed generation [DG]. 

Silva: We have eight plants with Claro, one hydro, two biogas, and five solar. They total 36MW of installed capacity, with 15MWm of generation capacity. 

Neves: In this partnership, we build the plants and lease them to Claro. 

Silva: Our services include the identification of the areas, access advice, investment, connection, operation and compensation. The whole process. 

BNamericas: What’s your total installed capacity at the moment? 

Neves: There are about 28 plants, with installed capacity of approximately 150MW and 45MWm of generation capacity. 

In addition, we have an energy trading company and a technology arm that provides several services. 

BNamericas: What are the investment and growth goals of the company?

Neves: We plan to at least double the installed capacity in the next two years. We received an investment from a fund called Nova Milano, which is now our partner. 

We also want to grow in the commercialization area and adopt new technologies for transformation in the energy sector, based on the 'energy as a service' concept. As the free [non-regulated] market advances, customers will demand curation and management to better understand their energy bill. This is the way to empower the customer so that he can become effectively free. 

Silva: The electricity sector has many rules, so we have to help customers understand them and offer options for them to look for energy within the profile of what they want in terms of price and source. 

Neves: Price is just one of the aspects. Other important questions are: is the energy renewable or not? Does it provide the energy security that the customer needs? Does it work properly? There are a number of developments that require these services, and the first one is to understand the energy bill. 

BNamericas: What are the possible impacts of the eventual approval of the bill that extends the benefits of use of the distribution network by DG projects?

Neves: We think that it’s necessary to have consensus and reasonability from all parties involved. If the bill’s approved, it will certainly generate more business for us. If it’s not, we still have an extensive pipeline to build in the next two years. 

Silva: We’ve already developed enough to achieve our goals, considering the scenario of not approving the extension of benefits. 

BNamericas: How has the interaction with energy distributors been regarding requests for new connections of DG projects?

Silva: There’s a very large increase in connection requests, so sometimes the utilities work to the limit of the deadline. Some have more bureaucratic requirements. We try to understand each one to be able to work according to their procedures. But it’s clear that this is a critical point, and we’ve been very careful with this management.

BNamericas: What’s the profile of your clients in general? 

Silva: They are companies from the financial sector, banks, telecommunications, retail, chain stores... We serve large companies and a large number of consumer units in low and medium voltage in the DG area. 

In the energy commercialization part, the public is more diverse. We try to serve the end customer, which includes the industrial sector and high voltage accounts that are in the free market. 

We’re preparing for this movement of low and medium voltage customers who are migrating to the free market. 

BNamericas: What are the growth prospects for the free market in 2023?

Neves: This is an inexorable movement, which may take more or less time, but it’s the path. Our idea is to manage more than one million consumption units in two years. 

BNamericas: Are you looking for new partners?

Neves: We’re looking for new partnerships, for example, to be able to advance in this approach to clients, with a view to technological transformation. 

Silva: For example, retail and software technology companies that can add to this process.

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