Brazil auctions could attract over US$790mn for waste-to-energy projects

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, February 01, 2023
Brazil auctions could attract over US$790mn for waste-to-energy projects

The owner of the Barueri energy recovery plant (URE) in São Paulo state, Orizon Valorização de Resíduos, will invest 800mn reais (US$158mn) this year to conclude construction.

With installed capacity of 20MW, the project won the A-5 auction held by regulator Aneel in September 2021 and is scheduled to start operations in the first half of 2025.

According to waste energy recovery association Abren, another 4bn reais (US$791mn) could be invested in the Mauá (80MW), Caju (31MW) and Consimares (20MW) UREs this year, if these projects win the next A-5 or A-6 tenders. 

"There are 10 projects underway in Brazil that will generate 10bn reais in capex. If we follow the goals of [solid waste plan] Planares, with 1GW of installed power by 2040, we’ll have total investments of 40bn reais in the period," Abren head Yuri Schmitke told BNamericas.

If the investments materialize and these plants start operating in 2027 and 2028, they will have the capacity to treat more than 5,000t/d of urban waste.

No waste-to-energy (WTE) plants are operating in Brazil so far, only landfill biogas capture plants with two biodigesters in Paraná state.  

To stem the necessary investments, Abren supports the approval of a federal bill, creating a waste energy recovery program, currently under analysis in the lower house. The bill provides incentives to accelerate WTE development by diverting urban waste from landfills to generate clean and renewable energy.


Brazil’s Pólis Institute has filed requests with the federal and state public prosecutors of São Paulo questioning the environmental licensing of URE Barueri. 

The entity alleges that works were started based on an expired installation license.

"The institute defends the establishment of a civil investigation and the adoption of the appropriate measures, including the suspension of work and the contracting of energy from the plant," Clauber Leite, energy coordinator of Pólis, said in a statement.

When contacted by BNamericas, Orizon’s press office said the company did not have prior knowledge about the allegations. 

Orizon emphasized that it follows all required procedures, complies with the environmental protocols and has authorization from all competent bodies.

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