Power and light outage: Chinese investment to expand the network

The summer broke records for historical temperature marks and energy demand to cope with it. The result is already known: homes that have been without power for weeks in the south of the city, massive blackouts in the metropolitan area, intermittent power outages. Within this framework, the government is making progress in obtaining financing to improve the network. Are 1,100 million dollars to decompress two of the three Transformer Stations (ET) that supply the AMBA and they are already saturated with no possibility of expansion.

The negotiation between the Ministry of Energy and the Chinese company Electric Power Equipment and Technology (CET) points to the development of Plan Integral AMBA I, which involves the construction of a new Transformer Station in the town of Plomer, General Las Heras, and more than 500 km of high and extra-high voltage power lines. The work, which is still in the negotiation stage, provides for a minimum assembly period of three to four years and is intended to strengthen the energy ring of the AMBA to “guarantee the reliability of operations and the safe supply of the most populated area and with the highest demand in the country”, according to the energy portfolio, in addition to “making the Argentine Interconnection System (SADI) more efficient”.

The energy production chain is made up of three main links. On the one hand, producers -mainly private, although there are important public-private players such as YPF- that generate energy through different sources that range from thermal power plants -hydrocarbons, especially gas-, thermoelectric plants -liquid fuels such as diesel and fuel oil- and hydroelectric plants -use generation hydraulic – to renewable – such as solar and wind power. On the other hand there is the transport of that energy through large lines of higher voltage that go from the production centers to the largest consumption centers. Finally there is the distribution which are the small lines that carry energy from the transformer stations to homes, where the famous Edesur and Edenor play in AMBA.

The investment of the national government will be in the transport link. Through the construction of a new node in the AMBA ring, the Plomer 500/220/132 kV Substation, will be able to supply air to the Ezeiza and General Rodríguez Substations, which already operate at the limit of their capacity in terms of load, a situation that It can cause permanent damage to electrical equipment and generate more complex situations than those currently experienced in the region.

This investment will not specifically solve the situation of power outages, since they occur for multiple reasons in the different links of production: from the historical downspout of the Paraná that generated a reduction in the production of hydroelectric energy to the lack of investment by the distribution companies. But nevertheless, energy specialists assure the importance of carrying out these works to avoid more dangerous collapses in the Buenos Aires power lines. “There is unanimity in the sector regarding the need to move forward with this plan. Whenever there are works there is controversy, but here the transmission, generation and distributor companies with 30 or 40 years of experience in the sector gave a unanimous answer about the need to do it,” they say.

The new Plomer Substation will supply part of the demand covered today from the Ezeiza Substation, allowing it to reduce its load and mitigating the short-circuit level in the 220 and 500 kV bars. For its part, the new 500 km. of high tension will increase the number of corridors for the entrance of electrical energy to the AMBA from the south and the north, especially making possible the access of new energies of renewable origin. According to official information, it will improve the supply conditions for the installed demand in the Luján, Mercedes, Zappalorto and Casanova substations, reducing the possibility of outages and avoiding Non-Supplied Energy (ENS) in the AMBA energy ring. The work provides for the updating of the SADI systems, both automatic response and cybersecurity, in the prevention of new challenges.

One of the alerts that the energy announcement lights up has to do with the fact that financing would be achieved through a Chinese company. The investments of this country are characterized by requiring foreign labor and technology within the contractual clauses. In this sense, there is a commitment from the government to prioritize the work and demand for national teams, because there is capacity in the country and even laws – such as the Buy Argentino – that protect it.

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