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Copel and ITAIPU Binacional put micro-grid into operation in western Paraná
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10/09/2021

A project that has been generating energy from biogas since 2006 in western Paraná is now taking another important step in technological and operational innovation for the decentralized generation of electricity, also known as distributed generation.

Through a partnership between Copel and ITAIPU Binacional, starting this week, Granja Colombari, in São Miguel do Iguaçu, will form a micro supply grid for its property and three other neighboring consumer units, increasing energy security in the countryside. The initiative is a pioneer in the country.

With the implementation of the microgrid, in the event of a failure in Copel's distribution system, the generating unit will be automatically isolated from the system and will be able to supply the area during the contingency period. A test of the islanding operation in the region was successfully carried out two weeks ago, as a result of a three-year effort, made possible by a protocol of intentions signed between the distribution concessionaire and the binational plant.

Now, an operation agreement is being signed between the self-generating customer, the Itaipu Technological Park and Copel, with the primary objective of establishing operative procedures and ensuring safety. CIBiogás is also a partner in the initiative.

"This is a project that we are handling with great attention, as we understand it to be a key point for the maximum use of distributed generation, especially in rural areas", says the superintendent of Smart Grid and Special Projects at Copel, Julio Omori. "This is the embryo of a system that can work at various power levels, with various generating sources, and expand throughout Copel's concession area, and even to Brazil as a whole," he adds.

"Itaipu sought, through this project, to meet two of its strategic objectives: the preservation of the region's water resources, necessary for the production of energy, and the use of renewable energy sources, aiming at reducing environmental pollution", says the Director of Coordination of ITAIPU Binacional, Gen. Luiz Felipe Carbonell. "By using waste from the local protein chain for the production of bioenergy, and the use of this generation in a distributed manner through a micro-grid, nature is preserved and the availability of energy to the producer is ensured, in a way that complements the public grid”, he concludes.

Sustainability

The project gives destination to swine waste from the property, which borders the Iguaçu National Park. The pig excrements go into a tank and are treated for between 20 and 30 days until ceasing to be pollutant, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 90%. At the end of the process, two ecological products are generated: biogas, for the generation of electricity, and biofertilizer, which goes to the crops.

With the implementation of this system, the rural property in question transformed an environmental liability into an energy source, which additionally replaced the use of diesel oil to run the machinery. Now, the production residues themselves supply enough energy to drive production as whole, and the surplus is injected into Copel's network. The property's herd is composed of approximately 5,000 swine and 350 beef cattle, whose waste feeds a mini-plant with an installed capacity of 75 kW (kilowatts).

History

Copel was the first energy concessionaire in the country to contract this type of energy supply, called distributed generation, through a public notice published in 2008. The experience in the western part of Paraná, which has already been supported by Copel and ITAIPU Binacional since then, served as a parameter for the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel) to regulate the operational and commercial issues regarding distributed generation, with the publication of Normative Resolution 482/2012, which today allows the compensation of energy injected by generators into the network.

Recently, the concessionaire obtained permission from the regulatory agency to seek the contracting of generators for the formation of micro-grids, such as the one that is coming into operation in São Miguel do Iguaçu. Aneel already holds public hearings to seek to establish rules for this arrangement model, which benefits the end consumer with greater security against power outages.