What is the Energy Platform?

O que é a Plataforma de Energia?
The Energy Platform is an initiative of the Institute for Energy and the Environment which aims the disclosure of systematized information regarding electricity generation in Brazil. While you browse through its features, it is possible to locate in an interactive map each one of these power plants, along with information about their technical details, water usage indicators, Brazillian Development Bank (BNDES) financing, energy auctions, water resources management, environmental permitting and annual electricity generation. Moreover, it is also possible to access the main documents related to the processes of environmental permitting and water usage permitting. The database is also available for download, containing all the information used in order to develop this platform and can contribute to de development of studies regarding the electricity and environment interface. Thus, this platform aims to intensify the discussion about the environmental impacts of Brazil’s electricity sector and provide the access to detailed information, aiding the natural resources management across the power sector.

How the platform was developed?

The Energy Platform presents, throughout this present version, every fossil fueled thermoelectric power plant, over 100 MW, which is operating, under construction or hired through the energy auctions but still haven't started their construction process. In order to develop this platform, many information sources were consulted, systematizing the data as follows:

Where does our electricity come from?

The centralized wind, thermoelectric, hydroelectric and solar power plants, combined with the transmission structure, make up Brazil's Interconnected System (SIN). Almost Brazil's entire territory (96,6%) is covered by this system, which is composed by four subsystems - Southern, Midwestern/Southeastern, Northeastern and Northern -, which enable the interconnection of different generation facilities, electricity distributors and final consumers. Mainly composed by hydroelectric and thermoelectric power plants (hydrothermal system), Brazil's SIN is controlled by the National System Operator (ONS), which is responsible for planning and controlling the operation of the generating facilities. At this point, the decision of operating the power plants is centralized, changing daily the composition of the sources responsible for electricity supply in Brazil.

National Interconnected System (SIN)

Sistema Interligado Nacional (SIN)

Fonte: Operador Nacional do Sistema (ONS)

Since 2012, according to the resolution nº482 of the National Agency of Electric Energy (ANEEL), is now possible to generate decentralized electricity in places such as houses, shops and rural constructions, bringing the electricity generation to the consumer. For more information, click here.

How does the thermoelectricity conversion works?

Thermoelectricity is the conversion of thermal energy into electricity through the operation of a thermodynamic cycle. Conventionally, thermoelectricity conversion technologies are divided into four routes: Rankine Cycle, Brayton Cycle (open cycle), Combined Cycle and Combustion Engine. The following image combines these technologies and the possibilities of using different fuel. There is also below a brief explanation of the working principles of each cycle.

Fuel and thermodynamic cycle combination

Find below a simplified diagram of each thermodynamic cycle by clicking on the boxes:

What is a cooling system?

Thermoelectric power plants operating Rankine and Combined cycles require cooling systems in order to reduce the temperature of the combustion products. On the other hand, Brayton cycles reject heat directly to the environment and combustion engines need low amount of water on their auxiliary cooling systems. The power plant’s chosen cooling system, since it is the main water consumption source, exerts great influence on the water consumption from the basin where the power plant is located. These power plants, most of the times, can use alternatives to the water cooling systems like air cooling, reducing dramatically the water consumption. On the other hand, air cooling presents a higher need for initial investments and can cause losses in efficiency, mainly in regions that presents higher temperatures.

Water cooling

Air cooling


Water usage indicators

Each power plant presented by this platform includes data regarding its water consumption profile (indicators). These indicators present volumes of water catchment, consumption, evaporation and discharge, presented by time (m³/hour) and produced electricity (m³/MWh) units. Moreover, it is possible to visualize, when presented by the entrepreneur, these indicators related to the power plant’s operation profile (average yearly operation and maximum yearly operation).

Please enjoy the Energy Platform and, popping up any doubts, suggestions or comments, please leave your message to our team on the form below. We hope you all like it!

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