Brazil’s hydroelectric plant suspends operations due to drought

Isbel Lázaro.

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Inspenet, October 4, 2023.

It is the fourth largest hydroelectric plant in the country

Due to the historic drought affecting the Madeira River, the Santo Antonio hydroelectric plant, the fourth largest power generator in Brazil, has suspended its operations . This decision was made last Sunday and was announced by Santo Antonio Energía , the company that operates the plant.

Santo Antonio supplies several regions of the country and has 50 turbines, with an installed capacity of 3,568 MW. According to the company, current flow levels in the Madeira River are 50% below the historical average.

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This is not the first time that the hydroelectric plant has stopped its operations, since the previous occasion was in 2014, during one of the largest floods of the tributary.

Santo Antonio Energía has explained in a statement that the suspension of the operation of the hydroelectric plant has the main objective of protecting the integrity of its generating units, since the amount of water available is insufficient for the proper functioning of the turbines .

Likewise, the company has assured that there is no imminent risk of shortage of electricity supply for the states of Rondonia and Acre, which are the most dependent on this hydroelectric plant.

However, it has been reported that Porto Velho, the capital of Rondonia located on the banks of the Madeira River, is on alert due to the drought that began in August and is expected to continue until December.

The intense drought in the northern region of the country led to a state of emergency being declared on September 28 in Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas. The natural canals and lakes that run through the city are drying up, creating a crisis in riverside communities facing shortages of food and drinking water.

Of the 62 municipalities of Amazonas, only two have managed to avoid the effects of this historic drought. In addition to Manaus, 16 other cities have declared a state of emergency, 38 are on alert and five are under special attention due to the situation.

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