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Equinor launches 531 MW solar power plant in Brazil

Equinor ASA has launched its 531-megawatt (MW) Mendubim solar plant in Brazil, marking a 30 percent increase in its equity power production in the country.

The Mendubim plant will produce 1.2 terawatt-hours (TWh) of power annually, Equinor said in a recent news release. Around 60 percent of the power will be sold under a 20-year USD-denominated power purchase agreement (PPA) with Alunorte, one of the world’s leading suppliers of alumina for the aluminium industry. The remaining production will be sold on the power market in Brazil, the company noted.

The project was developed and will be operated as a joint venture between Scatec, Hydro Rein and Equinor. The three partners have an equal economic interest of 30 percent in the project. Alunorte has exercised its call option and now holds the remaining 10 percent, according to the release.

“Mendubim represents an important contribution to Equinor’s diversified energy offering in Brazil that includes a robust oil and gas portfolio and an attractive renewables position”, Equinor Brazil Country Manager Veronica Coelho said.

Olav Kolbeinstveit, senior vice president for onshore and markets within Renewables at Equinor, said, “Launching a major new solar plant in Brazil in partnership with Scatec and Hydro Rein is an important achievement. Equinor has conducted business in Brazil for over two decades, and we see the country as a core area for long-term profitable growth. By investing in renewable energy, we are supporting Brazil’s ambitions towards a diverse energy mix and helping to meet the expected power demand growth in the country”.

According to the release, Brazil is the largest power market in South America, with expected significant demand growth. The deregulation of the power market is ongoing, with the deregulated market now accounting for about 40 percent of total consumption.

Mendubim brings Equinor’s power production in the country to over 1.4 TWh in 2024. Through the plant, the company also enters the deregulated power market in Brazil for the first time. The asset is expected to deliver real base project returns in the middle of Equinor’s guided range for renewables of four to eight percent.

Scatec CEO Terje Pilskog said, “This project marks a pivotal milestone in realizing our strategic objectives and reinforces our position in a prominent renewable energy growth market, bolstered by our partners Equinor and Hydro Rein. The burgeoning solar energy market in Brazil aligns with our commitment to sustainable progress, and we are excited to advance this impactful project with approximately 3 million [metric tons] of carbon dioxide equivalents avoided”.

Hydro Rein CEO Olivier Girardot said, “We are thrilled to complete the first of Hydro Rein’s renewable energy projects in Brazil. Our mission is to develop renewable energy solutions for more sustainable industries, and Mendubim does just that. Most of the power output will go to Hydro’s alumina refinery Alunorte in Pará, supporting one of the largest decarbonization projects in the world. We are very proud to take part in this development together with Equinor and Scatec”.

Equinor noted that its total renewable power generation in 2023 was approximately two TWh, and it aims to double the figure this year.

“We are working to build a material and profitable power portfolio in Brazil”, Kolbeinstveit added. “Our energy trading house Danske Commodities will increasingly manage this portfolio in the Brazilian market, leveraging their trading and portfolio risk management capabilities to maximize value creation”.

Equinor’s renewables position in Brazil includes three assets in commercial production: the 162-MW Apodi solar plant, the 223-MW Serra da Babilônia 1 onshore wind farm, and the Mendubim plant. Further, over 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of solar and onshore wind projects are in the pipeline, led by its fully owned subsidiary Rio Energy.


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