Next October 18 will be held the New Energy Generation Auction A-6/2019, which, according to information from the Energy Research Company (EPE), broke the record of projects registered for energy auctions (more than 1,500 projects).

Much of the capacity offered is related to natural gas thermoelectric projects, and Rio de Janeiro is the state of the Federation that concentrated the largest number of projects enabled, having offered about 5,348.3 MW.

Recognizing the potential of thermoelectric plants in Rio de Janeiro, the State Government recently signaled its interest in exempting ICMS on natural gas acquisition operations by new ventures in the state. The measure would also include, in principle, companies already established in the state.

In the past, State Decree No. 26,271 / 2000 granted deferral of ICMS on the acquisition of natural gas by the thermoelectric companies located in Rio de Janeiro and provided that the payment of the tax would occur in full with that due by the electricity distributor, upon the supply of energy. to the end consumer.

However, due to the economic crisis faced by the State of Rio de Janeiro and the approval of the State Fiscal Recovery Plan, the rule providing for deferral was revoked in December 2017, through Decree No. 46.207 / 2017.

Thus, since 2018, thermoelectric plants in the State of Rio de Janeiro have been burdened by the ICMS levy on the acquisition of natural gas, which has a significant impact on the price of electricity traded from this matrix. In addition to the direct impact of the collection, this incidence also generates an unrecoverable cost for the thermoelectric plants, consistent with the accumulation of ICMS credits that cannot be disposed of due to the particularities of electricity taxation (non-incidence on interstate exit operations, due to constitutional rule, and tax substitution in internal operations).

In this regard, it should be noted that the State of Rio de Janeiro has recently promoted changes in its domestic legislation dealing with the mechanisms for using accumulated ICMS credit balances. An eventual adjustment of State Decree No. 46,668 / 2019, to enable the use, transfer or use of the ICMS credit balance by thermoelectric plants, would certainly contribute to the policy of fostering the energy industry in the State of Rio de Janeiro.

The adoption and revision of the tax rules applicable to the sector is extremely timely, not only due to the upcoming A-6 New Energy Auction, but also due to Rio de Janeiro's natural vocation, which is the State with the largest reserves. natural gas, and that from the new regulatory framework of natural gas could attract large investments to the State.

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