Environmental Licensing

Copel is concerned about controlling the impacts of the construction and operation of its enterprises in order to mitigate the negative socio-environmental impacts and enhance the positive ones. To this end, it performs a robust management of its licensing, relying on a risk management methodology and monitoring of performance indicators.

The licensing process aims to obtain and maintain all the authorizations and licenses that allow the implantation and operation of the enterprises and facilities, ensuring compliance with the requirements of legislation, commitments and socio-environmental responsibilities The environmental, archaeological, and sociocultural licensing is carried out by a multidisciplinary team made up of professionals from the environmental area, who work in cooperation with the professionals from the areas involved, from the conception and implementation of the project, and during the entire operation of the undertaking.

Área protegida

Environmental Licensing at Copel

In compliance with the Brazilian environmental legislation and with the Company’s environmental management practices, enterprises with significant environmental impact go through an environmental licensing process, for which previous environmental studies are prepared, such as Environmental Impact Studies and their respective Environmental Impact Reports (EIA/Rima) or Simplified Environmental Reports (RAS), depending on the size. These studies include analyses of the physical, social, flora and fauna environments, and identify: whether the impacts are positive or negative; the spatialization (affected areas); the phase of occurrence in relation to the work; the incidence, whether direct or indirect; the temporality (immediate, medium or long term); durability (temporary or permanent) and reversibility.

Once the socio-environmental study pertinent to the type and size of the project has been prepared, a preliminary license (LP) is requested, which, after being analyzed by the competent environmental agency, is issued in order to certify the project’s feasibility from the socio-environmental point of view. At this stage, it is also necessary to consult the various agencies

involved in the environmental licensing process, such as the Institute of National Historical and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN), the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), the Chico Mendes Institute of Biodiversity (ICMBio), among others, depending on the impact of the project in areas under their jurisdiction. These consultations, strictly speaking, serve to subsidize the environmental agency, which issues the Preliminary License.

To mitigate, monitor, and compensate the identified environmental and social impacts, socio-environmental programs are prepared to be developed before, during, and after the construction work. The documents that present these socio-environmental programs are the Basic Environmental Plan (PBA) and the Detailed Report on the Environmental Programs (RDPA), documents that serve as a basis for requesting the Installation License (LI) from the competent environmental agency. This license allows for the effective implementation of the project, upon compliance with several conditions.

During the implementation of the undertaking, the social-environmental programs are executed according to the periodicity foreseen in the environmental studies, and the environmental management program is the one that gathers all the others, so as to ensure that good environmental practices are employed in the construction.

The performance of Copel’s teams, at this point, varies a lot, especially according to the size and complexity of the activities. This process, in general lines, is configured as the Environmental Owner’s Engineering actions, which aim to ensure that Copel’s undertakings are built in strict legal compliance and with respect for all the environments in which it is inserted.

When the construction is nearing completion, it is necessary to apply for the Operation License (LO) from the competent environmental agency, which becomes possible after the entrepreneur presents the reports on compliance with the environmental licensing conditions and the progress/closure reports of the environmental programs, carried out before and during the works.

The main legal norms that guide the work of enterprise implementation are:

  • Law 6.938/81, which provides for the National Environmental Policy;
  • Complementary Law 140/11, which sets standards for cooperation among the three spheres of administration (federal, state, and municipal) in the defense of the environment;
  • Ordinances and Normative Instructions issued by regulatory agencies on the subject

Generation Business Practices

Most of the energy produced by Copel comes from renewable sources (93.76 % of installed capacity), mainly hydroelectric sources, with approximately 5,400 MW installed, and wind power, with approximately 832 MW installed, out of a total of 6,616.30 MW

For the construction and operation of the power plants, the appropriate and necessary environmental measures are adopted for each venture, whether in the scope of the environmental licensing process or Copel’s environmental management assumptions, with a view to complying with the environmental legislation in effect and the conditions of the environmental licenses. For the implementation of most projects, there is a need for vegetation

suppression, both to enable the filling of water reservoirs for power generation and for the implementation of wind farms.

Before and during the vegetation suppression, the rescue of flora species considered rare, endemic, or threatened with extinction is carried out. The specimens collected can be relocated to the Permanent Preservation Area (APP) of the project, if any, or to adjacent areas, or they can be used for studies, to form a germplasm bank, or for other activities that enable the conservation of the species.

The rescue of terrestrial fauna present in these locations is also carried out, and the suppression fronts are monitored by biologists and there are veterinary doctors available for possible accidents, acting as needed. The rescued specimens are released in predetermined areas approved by the competent environmental agency, since the entire procedure for rescuing and saving fauna and flora is also subject to Environmental Authorization by the environmental agency.

For the reservoirs, the Protection Strip is also implemented around the new hydroelectric power plants, which expands the area of native vegetation in the region where the project is located, and these recovered areas become Environmental Protection Areas, in accordance with the current legislation. These areas undergo periodic inspections, to identify the factors of interference and possible degradation.

Aquatic communities may suffer impacts when power plant reservoirs are formed, since there is an alteration in the composition and dynamics due to the change from lotic to lentic environments. Copel identifies the eventual changes in these communities throughout the stages of installation and operation, which allows it to set up testimony collections in scientific institutions; promote a survey of the species that exist in the basin; analyze the biology (reproduction, feeding, and activities) and dynamics of the fish community, including rare and/or threatened species; and outline conservation strategies. The fish are rescued and immediately released in the same water body, downstream from the enterprise.

The reservoirs are inspected throughout their entire area and along their banks, to identify possible socio-environmental occurrences, such as unauthorized constructions, silting or erosion points, PPAs without native vegetation, predatory fishing, among other situations. When non-conformities are observed, they are reported and forwarded for action to the responsible areas. Regarding the areas vulnerable to erosive processes, various preventive and corrective measures are taken whenever necessary.

For wind power plants, the main concerns are with the impact on flora and fauna, due to the implantation of the wind turbines, accesses and power transmission networks, besides the impacts on the neighboring communities. Aiming to mitigate the impacts, Copel maintains socio-environmental programs during the implementation and operation phases of the undertakings, and the progress is monitored by the environmental agency.

The conditions of the fauna community are monitored from before the beginning of the works until they start operating. If changes related to the project are perceived, actions are taken to solve or compensate for them. A positive and relevant impact of these activities is the

contribution to the scientific community through the generation of data. Moreover, during the implementation and operation of projects, Copel applies techniques to scare the fauna away and, whenever animals are sighted, the activities are interrupted for rescue. If necessary, these animals are treated until they can be released in safe areas.

Fish Transposition System of UHE Colíder

The Colíder Hydroelectric Power Plant, installed in the State of Mato Grosso, has a Fish Transposition System (STP) in the form of a Vertical Slot ladder – the largest of its kind in Brazil, about 693 meters long – the STP was designed to allow a wide variety of species of these animals to cross it, thus enabling the gene flow between populations downstream and upstream of the dam. To date, 84 fish species (50 of them migratory) have been recorded in the system through daily monitoring of the ladder display, in addition to periodic scientific collection and telemetry monitoring. This practice has made it possible to register fish going up and down the ladder. The flow of animals is significant: in periods of lower river flow, about 428 fish access the structure per day. In the flood season, the average is ten times higher: about 4,280 fish use the STP daily. The STP has shown great efficiency in attracting and passing these animals.


Transmission Business Practices

The Transmission Lines (which operate at 230 kV voltage or above) are enterprises of significant environmental impact, since they are linear works of large dimensions (they may reach a few hundred kilometers), with impacts distributed along this route.

These enterprises go through the environmental licensing process, when socio-environmental studies are prepared according to their size, such as Environmental Impact Reports (EIA/Rima) or Simplified Environmental Reports (RAS). For the mitigation and control of environmental impacts, specific environmental and social programs are developed.

Copel’s transmission line projects are studied and prepared in order to reduce the need for vegetation suppression. When suppression is necessary, the rescue of flora species considered rare, endemic or threatened with extinction is carried out before and during implementation. The collected specimens may be relocated in Preservation Areas, when they exist, or in adjacent areas, or they may be used for studies, composition of a germoplasm bank, or other activities that enable the conservation of the species. To reduce damage to the fauna, Copel applies scaring techniques before cutting down the vegetation and, whenever animals are sighted, the activities are interrupted for rescue. If necessary, these animals are treated until they can be released in safe areas.

The conditions of the faunal community are monitored from before the start of construction until the start of operation. If changes related to the project are perceived, actions are taken to solve or compensate for them. A positive and relevant impact of these activities is the contribution to the scientific community through the generation of data.

During the operation, there is still the need for specific vegetation suppression to maintain the operational safety of the transmission lines, in order to ensure their operational safety and access to the towers. In this case, even if in a smaller quantity, the same guidelines for scaring away fauna and environmental care are applied.

For the evaluation of social and environmental impacts during operation, inspections are carried out by technicians from the environmental area, and inspection reports are generated, presenting environmental and social aspects, which are forwarded to the licensing agency. Possible non-conformities in this process are forwarded for action by the responsible areas.

Distribution Business Practices

When a new high-voltage electrical energy distribution undertaking needs to be implemented, environmental studies are carried out to evaluate the main aspects of fauna and flora that may be affected, in addition to possible damage to the physical and socio-economic environments.

In addition to the studies foreseen in the environmental licensing process, Copel prepares the Preliminary Environmental Analysis, to evaluate the social and environmental restrictions of different locational alternatives, aiming to subsidize the choice of land for the implementation of power substations (SEs). Also in the definition phase of the layout of high and medium voltage distribution lines (LDATs), priority is given to the allocation in areas without tree vegetation and without interference in legally protected areas. Low-interference construction techniques are used, such as raising the towers and launching the cables by drone, to preserve forest fragments that may be crossed. In medium voltage distribution networks, the use of a compact network reduces the need for tree pruning. Initiatives are also carried out for forest replacement and monitoring and control of erosive processes.

The environmental studies carried out by Copel include a diagnosis of the local fauna, using secondary data and data collected in the field by biologists. First of all, the fauna present at the site is evaluated, checking if there are any endemic species, species under threat of extinction, or specific interests. Possible degradation of the ecosystem is also assessed, considering the habitat used by the wildlife. Based on this information, environmental programs or measures are defined. In situations where the project involves cutting down native vegetation, the Fauna Fear and Rescue Program is included, which works on communication and awareness-raising with construction workers, so that they carry out their activities in a preventive way, avoiding accidents with fauna. In certain cases the Fauna Monitoring Program can also be included, so that the impacts can be well characterized.

Another measure is the implementation of beacons in stretches of LDATs in which there is a greater possibility of bird collisions with cables, such as, for example, in places where water bodies, floodplains, riparian forests, and artificial lakes are crossed.

A relevant initiative is the Program for Monitoring Birds and Bats, of LDAT 138 kV Marechal Cândido Rondon – Santa Helena, maintained in 2020 with the completion of four campaigns planned for bat monitoring, and the completion of the penultimate campaign of bird monitoring.

For projects that interfere in state conservation units, Copel, together with the environmental agency, defines compensatory measures, such as those to control invasive exotic species in state parks.

In the operation phase of the projects, two of the Company’s actions stand out:

  • Integrated Vegetation Management: as a substitute for mowing in passing lanes of distribution lines, which cause habitat fragmentation, soil erosion and favoring of invasive exotic species, the implementation of Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) is underway. IPM is a set of practices that aims to establish, in the long term, a plant community whose growth characteristics do not interfere with the operational performance of electrical facilities or that require minimal intervention, in addition to providing protection for the soil, shelter and food for fauna, among other benefits. In 2020, the Research and Development (R&D Aneel) project “Integrated vegetation management in opening of passage lanes in high and medium voltage distribution lines” was started, to understand how the use of IVM in the opening of passage lanes alters the recovery of vegetation and influences the amount of interventions and cost for opening and maintenance. The environmental impacts and externalities of this methodology will also be evaluated in comparison to the one currently used. The pilot project is being run on the high-voltage distribution lines that pass through the Saint-Hilaire/Lange National Park (LDAT 138 kV Posto Fiscal – Matinhos, Guaratuba – Matinhos, and Posto Fiscal – Guaratuba), on the Paraná coast, and has been notable for the reduction in the need for clearing and the environmental impacts caused by the activity. If approved, the measure may be replicated for other conservation units.
  • Urban Forestry Program: since 2007, Copel has supported the Municipalities in the planning of forestation of public roads, contributing to the environmental improvement of cities and reducing interruptions in power supply caused by the conflict between trees and the electrical system. Among the program’s actions, of note is the production of seedlings in the company’s own forestry nurseries which, besides benefiting the interested municipalities, enables compliance with environmental licensing requirements. Since the implementation of Urban Forests, more than 60,000 seedlings have already been planted. In 2020 alone, 7,777 seedlings were supplied to 26 municipalities. Copel is a member of the Interinstitutional Work Committee for the evaluation of Municipal Plans for Urban Forestation, coordinated by the Paraná State Prosecutor’s Office (MP-PR). In addition, it is carrying out a vegetation georeferencing project to manage the pruning of urban trees.

Highlights of Copel's Undertakings

HPP Colíder

The plant has 300 MW of installed power, being the first hydroelectric power plant built by Copel outside Paraná State. Its implementation was monitored by a multidisciplinary team from Copel, in addition to the support of several environmental consulting companies to carry out environmental programs. The plant has been in operation since 2019. Get to know the  UHE Colíder.

RIMA Colíder


Cutia Wind Complex

This wind complex has 86 wind turbines and 180 MW of installed power, and was implemented between 2015 and 2019. Its implementation was monitored by Copel’s environmental teams.

RAS Cutia

RAS Esperança

RAS Guajiru

RAS Jangada

RAS Maria Helena

RAS Paraíso dos Ventos

RAS Potiguar


Jandaíra Wind Complex

The wind complex is under construction and has 26 wind turbines distributed in 4 wind farms. The environmental management applied in the construction of these farms encompassed all the previous experience of Copel GeT with the management of four other wind complexes in Rio Grande do Norte, making this project a reference in environmental care, compliance with deadlines and relationship with the environmental agency.

RAS Jandaíra


Bela Vista Small Hydroelectric Power Plant

This plant was built between the years 2018 and 2021, with all its processes conducted through the premises of environmental licensing, with emphasis on the great efforts undertaken in the rescue of ichthyofauna and environmental monitoring. Learn more on the page PCH Bela Vista.

RIMA PCH Bela Vista


Blumenau-Curitiba East Transmission Line

With 144 km of extension, it had its construction licensed by Ibama and will be carried out between the years 2018 and 2021. Noteworthy is the care taken with the reduction of the

suppression of native vegetation and the conservation programs in the Vale do Rio da Luz, a rural complex, located in the municipality of Jaraguá do Sul/SC, which was registered in IPHAN’s Book of Archeological, Ethnographic, and Landscape Designs as a Brazilian Cultural Heritage, due to the preservation of the cultural heritage of German colonization, architecturally, by the buildings with the enxaimel construction technique, and landscaping of the location.

RIMA LT Blumenau – Curitiba


Curitiba Center-Uberaba Transmission Line

This transmission line had its differential in being entirely in an urban area, having, for the most part, the implementation of underground cables, improving landscape issues and the use of urban space in the city of Curitiba.

RAP LT Curitiba Centro – Uberaba


Salto Grande Power Plant

With 47 MW, this plant had its preliminary license obtained from the former Environmental Institute of Paraná (IAP), now Instituto Água e Terra (IAT), after the EIA-RIMA and public hearings. The optimization of the project’s environmental conditions has been discussed with the environmental agency since its conception, seeking a model with the lowest possible environmental impact for the undertaking. Get to know the Usina Salto Grande.

RIMA UHE Salto Grande