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Brazil’s CMU seeks customers to get 20GWsolar projects off the ground

João Montenegro / BNamerica

Brazilian energy trader CMU is prospecting clients for self-generation solar projects worth 60bn reais (US$12bn), the firm’s CEO Walter Fróes told BNamericas.

The plants will have around 20GW of installed capacity and are part of the portfolio of Spain’s Solatio, with whom CMU has a partnership.

In the case of self-generation, consumers generate and consume their own energy, fully or partially meeting their demand.

Electricity-intensive industries, such as steel mills, are among the country’s main self-generators and benefit from tax breaks.

“We have 12 contracts for plants under construction and another 30 proposals being studied. Unlike companies that pay for the whole plant, in our business model the novelty is that CMU is the one that invests and pays for the entire operation,” said Fróes.

Free Market

The executive is optimistic about the January opening of Brazil’s electricity market, when all consumers connected to high voltage sources will be able to migrate from the regulated to the free market.

As a result of the opening, electricity trading chamber CCEE estimates that another 72,000 consumers will be able to choose their own energy provider.

CMU is one of the country’s 20 largest traders and it handles energy for 300 large consumers and generators on the free market, which is equivalent to approximately 1,500MWa in contracts at 3,000 points of consumption or generation.

“We intend to have at least 1,500 customers by the end of 2024,” said Fróes.
To meet the new demand the trader has created retail arm CMU Varejista, which will represent the new free market entrants before CCEE.

The federal government is still studying the possibility of allowing low-voltage units to migrate to the free market by 2028, a universe of 80mn consumers, according to sector regulator Aneel.

“The free market represents 40% of the energy generated in Brazil, but there are only 30,000 agents and Brazil has 95mn meters,” said Fróes.


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