Pedras Altas power station

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Pedras Altas power station, known locally as UTE Ouro Negro, is a proposed 600-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Pedras Altas, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.


The map below shows Pedras Altas, the approximate location where the plant would be built.

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In September 2015 José Ivo Sartori, governor of Rio Grande do Sul state, confirmed that Ouro Negro Energia will invest US$3.5 billion to develop a two-unit, 600 MW coal-fired power plant near Pedras Altas, RS. According to Mr. Sartori, Ouro Negro Energia plans to complete construction in 2020 and begin commercial operations in 2021, with coal to be supplied by CRM (Companhia Riograndense de Mineração), a mining company based in Rio Grande do Sul state.[1]

Ouro Negro Energia's director, Silvio Marques Dias Neto, told the Jornal do Comércio that his company would submit an environmental permit request to Brazil's national environmental agency IBAMA in the first week of October and hoped to submit a bid on behalf of the Pedras Altas plant in Brazil's next national energy auction, scheduled for 2016. If successful at auction, Ouro Negro Energia would begin constructing the plant immediately. The company's long-range plans call for the plant to increase in size from 600 MW to 1800 MW.[2]

The EIA was submitted for public review in December 2015.[3] That month it was also reported that Chinese state-owned SEPCO Electric Power Construction Corporation and Hebi Guochang Energy Development were in negotiations with Silvio Marques Dias Neto to build the plant. The Chinese companies would control plant operation, with two-thirds of the share capital and 80 percent of constructions costs guaranteed by the China Development Bank. The project has been approved by the Brazilian National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel), but needs environmental approval to compete for tenders launched by the government to hire plant constructors.[4]

After initially including the project in an auction in April 2016, the government delayed bidding due to recessionary conditions that resulted in a surplus of energy. Paradoxically, climate change was touted as a reason for pursuing coal-fired power, due to climate-induced changes in rainfall that have led to scepticism about the reliability of hydroelectric energy.[5]

Coal for the project would come from the Candiota mine, Brazil's largest coal mine.[5]

In August 2016, Brazil's national environmental ministry IBAMA issued an advance license for the project, clearing the way for Ouro Negro Energia to enter the Pedras Altas plant in Brazil's next national energy auction, scheduled for the first half of 2017.[6]

The Pedras Altas project was officially registered to compete in Brazil's A-6 energy auction on December 20, 2017[7]; however, the company pulled out at the last minute citing unfavorable economic conditions[8], and the auction concluded with no contracts issued to coal plants[9]. Silvio Marques Dias Neto, president of Ouro Negro Energia S.A., expressed hope that Brazil's economy would pick up in 2018, when a new energy auction is anticipated in May or June.[8] In April 2018, the director of Pedras Altas announced his intention to have the project participate in the A-6 energy auction to be held in August 2018.[10] Ouro Negro did not participate in the August 31, 2018 A-6 energy auction.[11]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Ouro Negro Energia S.A.
  • Parent company: Ouro Negro Energia S.A.
  • Location: Pedras Altas, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • Coordinates: -31.732865, -53.585750 (approximate)
  • Status: Permitted
  • Gross Capacity:
    • Unit 1: 300MW
    • Unit 2: 300MW
  • Type:
  • Projected in service:
    • Unit 1: 2021
    • Unit 2:
  • Coal Type:
  • Coal Source:
  • Source of financing: China Development Bank[12]

Articles and resources


  1. "Pedras Altas terá investimento de R$ 3,5 bilhões em nova termelétrica,", Rio Grande do Sul state government news release, September 29, 2015.
  2. "Usina em Pedras Altas pode crescer,", Jornal do Comércio, September 30, 2015.
  3. "Ibama publica o aceite do EIA/RIMA da UTE OURO NEGRO," Diário Oficial da União (DOU), 30/12/2015
  4. "Chinese state-owned enterprises want to build power plant in Brazil," Macau Hub, Dec 14, 2015
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Brazil adds new coal-fired power," Dialógo China, 26 September 2016
  6. "Ibama emite Licença Prévia da UTE Ouro Negro," Tribuna do Pampa, August 7, 2016
  7. "UTE Ouro Negro está habilitada para o leilão A-6, que acontece em dezembro," Tribuna do Pampa, September 19, 2017
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Economia em baixa frustra participação de UTE Ouro Negro," Tribuna do Pampa, December 22, 2017
  9. "Leilão A-6 viabiliza 3,8 GW e R$ 13,9 bilhões em novos investimentos," CanalEnergia, December 20, 2017
  10. UTE Ouro Negro pode participar de novo leilão de energia, Jornal Minuano, Apr. 3, 2018
  11. Generation Auction No. 03/2018, ANEEL, accessed November 2018
  12. "China stokes global coal growth," Third Pole, Sep 23, 2016

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External resources