The world is in a constant process of change, in an acceleration of technological development whose vortex seems unstoppable, moving the frontiers of knowledge further and further away. All this is possible thanks to the practically constant supply of energy, in its different forms, electricity being the most tangible by humanity. The great limitation of this development scheme is that the energy sources we use are finite and highly polluting, resulting in the existence of two completely independent but intertwined crises: the economic (future depletion of sources) and the environmental (climate change). ).
These crises are enhanced by the fact that humanity, in its continuous search to improve its quality of life, has automated daily processes that have led to an increase in global energy consumption per capita, which added to disproportionate population growth guides us, quickly and without pause, towards a precipice. Despite this, there are actions that can be undertaken to reduce electricity consumption, some associated with energy saving and others with energy efficiency. Contrary to popular consensus, these two expressions do not imply the same thing, efficiency being the obtaining of a product or service, without any impairment of its quality, consuming the least amount of inputs possible, while saving implies cuts that can affect quality. , production, etc In other words,
Energy in Venezuela
Venezuela is one of the world powers in terms of energy sources, comparable to countries like Norway, both in terms of fossil fuels (natural gas, oil) and renewables (hydraulic, wind), with the exception that, due to our position in the In the tropics the potential in solar energy is several orders of magnitude greater than the Nordic country. It is important to highlight that the electricity generation business is capital intensive and can only be billed for the amount of energy supplied to the end user, which implies that depending on the kWh (kilowatt hour) sale price, these investments will be recovered in a greater or lesser period.
The sale price to the end user in Venezuela varies according to the federal entity where the service is billed, being quite low on average ($0.01/kWh), added to the fact that a large portion of the population is given free the supply, with the amount of electricity not billed close to 30% of the total energy produced (CAVEINEL 2007). This does not reflect the degree of effort and investment required to maintain the national electrical system.
With regard to the sector to which the electricity billed in the country is directed, 30% is consumed by the basic industries of Guyana, 11% by the rest of the country’s industrial sector (41% in total), 16% by the commercial, 27 % residential and 16% the so-called “others” (CAVEINEL 2007), demonstrating that the high per capita consumption comes primarily from the intensive use of electricity in basic industries; however, it is necessary to highlight the high percentage that the residential sector has of incidence in the electricity consumption of the country, well above the commercial one.
Based on these statistics and other previous data, the State evaluated the level of investments that it should make at the generation level in order to keep up with the demand. In this projection, elaborated in 2003, a critical point was going to be reached from the year 2015 where 6,300 megawatts (MW) would be needed in additional requirements. Unfortunately, the demand curve was underestimated and it rose vertiginously, which, combined with the delays in stipulated investments plus the El Niño phenomenon, which reduced hydroelectric potential, led to the national electricity crisis in 2009, a year that marked a milestone beginning a number of resolutions that the State imposed on different types of users, both public and private.
Resolutions governing the National Electric Sector
The different resolutions and laws subsequent to decree 6992 published in the Official Gazette 39,298 dated 11/03/2009 focused mainly on the necessary measures to reduce consumption. Here are the main guidelines:
- 20% reduction in consumption in public entities (decree 6692, 2009).
- Industrial Park of the nation, CVG, PDVSA and others had to present a consumption reduction program (decree 6692, 2009).
- Regulations in lighting, transportation, air conditioning, refrigeration, etc. (Res. #3, OG 39.298, 2009)
- Users with a demand greater than 2 MW had to prepare and apply a plan for the rational and efficient use of electrical energy for their facilities (Ley Orgánica Servicio y Sist. Eléctrico-LOSSE, 2010).
- Users with a demand greater than 200 kilovolt amperes (kVA) must have a power factor greater than 0.9 (Res. #75, OG 39,694, 2011).
- Users with consumption between 200 kVA and 1 megavolt ampere (MVA), and over 1 MVA, had to undertake actions to reduce their consumption by 10% compared to 2009 billing. Those exempt from this measure had to submit a savings plan to the MPPEE (Res. #76, OG 39.694, 2011).
- Users with demands greater than 100 kVA had to operate self-generation systems during the hours of greatest demand in the electrical system (Res. #77, OG 39,694, 2011).
- All users with demands greater than 2 MW, exempt from Resolution 76 and state companies must register on a portal created by CORPOELEC to define their Plan for the Rational and Efficient Use of Energy (Plan UREE) where the specific actions to be be carried out by the type of charge found in each NIC (Res. #14, OG 40.166, 2013).
In what has been shown above, it can be seen that the actions to be considered to reduce consumption, compared to 2009, went primarily hand in hand with direct investments in infrastructure, for example, capacitor banks, generation plants, and some behavioral measures such as turn off lights during daylight hours. With the arrival of the Official Gazette 40,166, what is stipulated in resolutions 76 and LOSSE is automated, requiring a level of detail in the information provided by the company that the proposed savings measures are not obvious, and, therefore, must be invested in advanced engineering studies (deep energy audits) that allow evaluating the feasibility of the investment and/or behavioral actions necessary to meet the goal expected in the plan.
Currently, the CORPOELEC portal can only register those companies that fall within the parameters of the standard; However, in the experience that has been gathered from the industrial sector, many users with lower consumption than those established in Resolution 14 have found themselves in the situation of developing energy saving plans with the same level of detail required by the portal. Therefore, it could be expected that in the medium term the universe of companies that must report their different plans online will expand.
In conclusion, unlike the global motivator for investment in energy efficiency, which is savings in billing, in Venezuela the impetus is given by state regulation and how to comply with it to be safe from fines. This, by its nature, must be approached very cautiously as the remaining options to reduce consumption are not obvious, and an in-depth audit is required to determine and account for the most important savings potentials. Likewise, it is essential that before implementing the solutions, their technical-economic feasibility be evaluated, either to guarantee their sustainability, or that this is not a bottomless pit of invested money to which no return is ever seen. Failure to determine feasibility can mean falling into large fines,
Published in: CONTACTOS Magazine of the Venezuelan-German Chamber of Commerce (CAVENAL), Edition IV, 2013, pp. 4-5