Uruguay and Brazil
Press Release

With projects worth more than 6 billion reais in Brazil, Epcor targets the Mercosur energy market

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, November 22, 2022

By Epcor

November 22, 2022

This is an automated translation of the press release originally published in Portuguese 

The Epcor Group (Epcor Solar and Epcor Energia), which has been operating in the electricity market since 1995 and which is the leading developer of wind farm projects in the southern region of the country, has a volume of 430 MW of wind projects in its portfolio with Preliminary Licenses (LPs) issued and another 1.14 GW in the process of environmental licensing of LPs with Fepam, for an overall equivalent of R$ 6 billion in investments. The company invests in providing a complete service carried out by an experienced technical and commercial team, in addition to having strategic partnerships with a select group of consolidated companies in the market, aiming to guarantee the fulfillment of the exclusive needs of each client.

Epcor specializes in solar energy projects and complete solutions for residential, rural and commercial services. Today the company has 2 GW (two gigawatts) in photovoltaic projects under development and a green hydrogen plant powered by 120MW. The direct environmental gain is the neutralization of carbon from this green energy generation. In the distributed market, the company serves self-consumption projects from 100 kWp. In the centralized market, there are three plants located in Rio Grande do Sul and Bahia with 1.1 GW.

Green Hydrogen and Expansion to Mercosur

With activities traditionally focused on energy auctions, Epcor is undergoing a review of its planning due to the interest of entrepreneurs directed at the free market and the potential market for clean energy in Mercosur. In 2022, the company is directing wind projects to the free market, due to the progress of some negotiations with players in the sector and Epcor believes that auctions are a complementary alternative.

Mercosur entered the Epcor Group's radar due to the countries' proximity to the South Region, where the company operates and the opportunities that are opening up, the opening of the market in the Uruguayan case and the shortage of energy sources in Paraguay. Uruguay, for example, will test the appetite of investors to develop green hydrogen projects in the South Atlantic with the bidding of 10 offshore wind generation blocks in the coming months. The country generates, in a good year, more than 95% of its electricity from renewable sources, thanks to investments in wind, solar and biomass energy over the last decade. The government is promoting Uruguay's untapped renewable resources and tax exemptions to put the country on the path to becoming a global exporter of hydrogen.

“The Epcor Group is looking for new markets in Mercosur and we are already opening a branch in Uruguay, in the city of Rivera, on the border with RS, specifically for projects with renewable energy but focused on green hydrogen and green fuels, which is a demand from the Uruguayan government. At the beginning of 2023, we are going to open an office in Ciudad del Este, in Paraguay, on the border with Paraná, where we already have a commercial agent focused on agribusiness clients and which already has great demand for energy generation projects. We are going to invest not only to have new customers but also to capture new investors and partners. Clean energy is rapidly moving towards becoming the main energy source in Brazil, and we want to be a substantial part of this evolution, bringing more sustainability and ESG and thus building a more democratic country, because we want free energy for all Brazilians and we want to take this concept to our neighbors in Mercosur,” says Mario Morocini de Azambuja Jr, New Business director at Epcor.

Paraguay consumes only 16% of the electricity it produces, the rest is exported as a commodity to countries like Argentina and Brazil, with which Paraguay shares, respectively, the Yacyretá and Itaipu hydroelectric plants. Energy is sold at a lower price than the market price due to international agreements, as informed by the organization Base IS. Despite generating and exporting much of the hydroelectricity it consumes, Paraguay is heavily dependent on biomass for domestic demand. Wood from forest plantations and native forests supplies 51% of homes and industries that consider it cheaper to use firewood than to pay for electricity. Although Paraguay's domestic demand is mainly supplied by biomass, the generation capacity of the country's three hydroelectric dams — Acaray, Yacyretá and Itaipu — has been severely impacted by two consecutive years of a historic drought on the Paraná River, on which the three are located.

The difference between renewable energies such as wind and solar and hydroelectric plants is that they do not need to flood large areas of forests, remove populations, interfere with biodiversity or compromise public coffers with billionaire expenses. The water crisis in Paraguay opens up an opportunity for people to stop using energy distributed via the concessionaire to generate their own, through photovoltaic panels installed on the roof of their homes, shops, companies and industries. “We don't know how far this water crisis and the successive tariff increases will go. People don't want to be held hostage by this. Projects for mini solar plants, wind farms and green hydrogen are the future, clean and renewable energy that does not threaten biodiversity and are the present and future of energy matrices”, emphasizes the director of Epcor.

Projects for new wind farms

Epcor is currently developing over 2.3 GW of wind projects in Rio Grande do Sul alone and another 1 GW in the state of Bahia. In RS, the company developed and structured two wind farms: the Corredor do Senandes Wind Complex, with 180 MW, whose first phase has been operating commercially since 2014, totaling 40 wind turbines of 2.7 MW, belonging to the NC group, located south of Cassino beach in Rio Grande/RS. And the Povo Novo Wind Complex, with 52.5 MW, totaling 25 wind turbines of 2.1 MW, with works in progress, located in the Povo Novo district (Rio Grande/RS), belonging to CEEE-GT.

A third project developed and structured by Epcor, the 220 MW Dom Pedrito Wind Complex, located between the municipalities of Bagé and Dom Pedrito/RS, was acquired by an investment fund. The unit has an LI issued and is negotiating the sale of energy in the free market. Epcor also owns and is in the process of obtaining environmental licensing at FEPAM (State Foundation for Environmental Protection – RS) two Wind Projects totaling 1.14 GW on the western border of RS, in the municipalities of Uruguaiana and Quaraí.

The company already serves more than 2,000 customers and is going to invest R$ 10 million in the project to build the largest Solar Energy Plant in greater Porto Alegre, located in the Lami neighborhood, with 2MW of power (enough to supply almost 1,000 homes) and which should go into operation by April 2023. The company will also install a 180 kWp Solar Photovoltaic Plant at Quinta da Estância, in Viamão, also in the Porto Alegre metropolitan area. In compliance with international sustainability values and commitments, the largest Pedagogical Rural Tourism Farm in Brazil and Estância das Oliveiras, an internationally awarded olive oil agroindustry, will have 100% of its energy coming from renewable sources starting this year.

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