Apiacás, a cascade of energy

Published on Friday, 25 November 2016

Close to the ‘dense jungle’ after which Brazil’s Mato Grosso state is named, the municipality of Alta Floresta is ready to be powered with zero-emission energy thanks to Enel. Here our company has recently put into service the Apiacás hydropower park, consisting of three plants - 45 MW Salto Apiacás, 30 MW Cabeça de Boi and 27 MW Fazenda  - totaling an installed capacity of 102 MW.

Apiacás, which required an investment of around 287 million dollars, can generate more than 490 GWh per year, enough to meet the annual energy needs of over 200,000 Brazilian households and avoiding some 280,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

In order to build a plant that would consistently meet the needs of the population, EGP has created a design-sharing model. This process produced a 260-page study that gathered information on education, health, companies, telecommunications, transport, employment and all that characterises the life of an area covering almost 90,000 km2 with just under 50,000 inhabitants. In line with the Creating Shared Model (CSV) adopted by our Group, which aims to combine business development and local community needs, the construction featured the use of measures and technologies that reduced the environmental impact of building works and local community development initiatives. The latter include biodiversity protection projects (reforestation programmes) as well as local infrastructure and public engagement initiatives (management and sustainability training courses for municipal government bodies that promote the development of local infrastructure).

Following the prototype of the sustainable worksite that Enel has already implemented in Italy, Mexico and Chile, Apiacás is the first power plant in Brazil built at a construction site powered by a solar PV system installed for this purpose, which reduced emissions in the construction phase. This is a 1.2 MW “stand-alone” facility, meaning that it is not grid-connected. Now that the construction work has been completed, the PV plant will keep operating, adding its own renewable power to that produced by the hydro plants.

The three hydro plants became operational more than a year before the deadline set down in the call in which the Group was awarded the project. “The inauguration of Apiacás - said Enel`s Country Manager in Brazil Carlo Zorzoli - is an important achievement for Enel in Brazil, as we followed the highest sustainability and environmental standards for its construction and we were able to complete the facility well in advance of the original deadline. Apiacás shows how to best use Brazil’s hydro resources while contributing to both the sustainability of the country’s energy mix and the development of local communities.”

In Brazil Enel Green Power has a total installed capacity of 648 MW, including 401 MW of wind power, 12 MW of solar PV and 235 MW of hydropower. In addition, the company has ongoing projects for 442 MW (wind) e 807 MW (solar) and also manages a 658 MW hydro plant in the state of Goiás through its subsidiary Enel Green Power Cachoeira Dourada.