Renewable energy in Brazil

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Renewable energy accounted for 79% of the domestically produced electricity used in Brazil.[1] [2][3]

Brazil relies on hydroelectricity for 65% of its electricity [1] [2]. However, the authorities are pushing biomass and wind (currently 6%) [1] [2] as the primary alternatives. Wind energy has the greatest potential in Brazil during the dry season, so it is considered a hedge against low rainfall and the geographical spread of existing hydro resources. In January 2015, a drought in Brazil that cut water to the country's hydroelectric dams prompted severe energy shortages. This crisis, which ravaged the country's economy and led to electricity rationing, underscored Brazil's pressing need to diversify away from water power.

Brazil held its first wind-only energy auction in 2009, in a move to diversify its energy portfolio. Foreign companies scrambled to take part. The bidding lead to the construction of 2 gigawatts (GW) of wind production with an investment of about $6 billion over the following two years. Brazil's technical potential for wind energy is 143 GW due to the country's blustery 7,400 kilometres (4,600 mi) kilometres coastline where most projects are based. The Brazilian Wind Energy Association and the government have set a goal of achieving 20 GW of wind energy capacity by 2020 from the current 5 GW (2014).[4] The industry hopes the auction will help kick-start the wind-energy sector, which already accounts for 70% of the total in all of Latin America.[5]

According to Brazil's Energy Master-plan 2016-2026 (PDE2016-2026), Brazil is expected to install 18,5GW of additional wind power generation, 84% in the North-East and 14% in the South. [1]

Brazil started focusing on developing alternative sources of energy, mainly sugarcane ethanol, after the oil shocks in the 1970s. Brazil's large sugarcane farms helped the development. In 1985, 91% of cars produced that year ran on sugarcane ethanol. The success of flexible-fuel vehicles, introduced in 2003, together with the mandatory E25 blend throughout the country, have allowed ethanol fuel consumption in the country to achieve a 50% market share of the gasoline-powered fleet by February 2008.[6][7]

Electricity[edit]

Hydroelectricity[edit]

Hydroelectric power plants produce almost 80% of the electrical energy consumed in Brazil.[8] Brazil has the third highest potential for hydroelectricity, following Russia and China.[9]

Itaipu power plant[edit]

View of Itaipu hydroelectric power plant in the State of Paraná.
A small hydroelectric power plant in Wenceslau Braz, Minas Gerais.

The Itaipu Dam is the world's second largest hydroelectric power station by installed capacity. Built on the Paraná River dividing Brazil and Paraguay, the dam provides over 75% of Paraguay's electric power needs, and meets more than 20% of Brazil's total electricity demand. The river runs along the border of the two countries, and during the initial diplomatic talks for the dam construction both countries were suffering from droughts. The original goal was therefore to provide better management and utilization of water resources for the irrigation of crops. Argentina was also later incorporated in some of the governmental planning and agreements because it is directly affected, being downstream, by the regulation of the water on the river. If the dam were to completely open the water flow, areas as far south as Buenos Aires could potentially flood.

Construction of the dam started in 1975, and the first generator was opened in 1983. It is estimated that 10,000 locals were displaced by the construction of the dam, and around 40,000 people were hired to help with the construction of the project. Many environmental concerns were overlooked when constructing the dam, due to the trade-off considering the production of such a large amount of energy without carbon emissions, and no immediate harmful byproducts, such as with nuclear energy.

Wind power[edit]

Installed wind power. Source GWEC Global Wind Report 2015
Year Cumulative Capacity (in MW).
2005
29
2006
237
2007
247
2008
341
2009
606
2010
927
2011
1,431
2012
2,508
2013
3,466
2014
5,962
2015
8,715

Wind power in Brazil amounts to an installed capacity of more than 8 GW as of 2015. Wind strength in Brazil is more intense from June to December, coinciding with the months of lower rainfall intensity. This puts the wind as a potential complementary source of energy to hydroelectricity.[10]

Brazil's first wind energy turbine was installed in Fernando de Noronha Archipelago in 1992. Ten years later the government created the Program for Incentive of Alternative Electric Energy Sources (Proinfa) to encourage the use of other renewable sources, such as wind power, biomass, and small hydro. Since the inception of Proinfa, Brazil's wind energy production has grown from 22 MW in 2003 to 602 MW in 2009, and to over 8,700 MW by 2015.

Developing these wind power sources in Brazil is helping the country to meet its strategic objectives of enhancing energy security, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating jobs. The potential for this type of power generation in Brazil could reach up to 145,000 MW, according to the 2001 Brazilian Wind Power Potential Report by the Electric Energy Research Centre (Cepel).

While the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) was taking place in Copenhagen, Brazil's National Electric Energy Agency (ANEEL) held the country's first ever wind-only energy auction. On December 14, 2009, around 1,800 megawatts (MW) were contracted with energy from 71 wind power plants scheduled to be delivered beginning July 1, 2012.

As of August 2018, according to ONS, total installed capacity was 13.1 GW, with 10.8 GW in the Northeast Region and 2.0 GW in the South Region.[11]

Solar power[edit]

As of August 2018, according to ONS, total installed capacity of photovoltaic solar was 1.6 GW, with 0.9 GW in the Northeast Region and 0.6 GW in the Southeast Region.[12]

Brazil has one of the highest solar incidence in the world.[13]

Ethanol fuel[edit]

Brazil's ethanol program started in 1975, when soaring oil prices put a chokehold on the economy. Sugarcane was an obvious candidate, given Brazil's large amount of arable land and favourable climate.[14]

Most cars on the road today in Brazil can run on blends of up to 25% ethanol, and motor vehicle manufacturers already produce vehicles designed to run on much higher ethanol blends. Most car makers in Brazil sell flexible-fuel cars, trucks, and minivans that can use gasoline and ethanol blends ranging from pure gasoline up to 100% ethanol (E100). In 2009, 90% of cars produced that year ran on sugarcane ethanol.

Brazil is the second largest producer of ethanol in the world and is the largest exporter of the fuel. In 2008, Brazil produced 454,000 bbl/d of ethanol, up from 365,000 in 2007. All gasoline in Brazil contains ethanol, with blending levels varying from 20–25%. Over half of all cars in the country are of the flex-fuel variety, meaning that they can run on 100% ethanol or an ethanol-gasoline mixture. According to ANP, Brazil also produced about 20,000 bbl/d of biodiesel in 2008, and the agency has enacted a 3% blending requirement for domestic diesel sales.[full citation needed]

The importance of ethanol in Brazil's domestic transportation fuels market is expected to increase in the future. According to Petrobras, ethanol accounts for more than 50% of current light vehicle fuel demand, and the company expects this to increase to over 80% by 2020. Because ethanol production continues to grow faster than domestic demand, Brazil has sought to increase ethanol exports. According to industry sources, Brazil's ethanol exports reached 86,000 bbl/d in 2008, with 13,000 bbl/d going to the United States. Brazil is the largest ethanol exporter in the world, holding over 90% of the global export market.[15]

Biomass[edit]

Sugarcane plantation in Avaré (State of São Paulo). Cane remains are used to produce biomass energy.
Eucalyptus in the State of Espírito Santo. Remains of the tree are reused for biomass power generation.

Biomass is a clean energy source used in Brazil. It reduces environmental pollution as it uses organic garbage, agricultural remains, wood shaving or vegetable oil. Refuse cane, with its high energetic value, has been used to produce electricity.[16] More than 1 million people in the country work in the production of biomass, and this energy represents 27% of Brazil's energetic matrix.[17]

The recent interest in converting biomass to electricity comes not only from its potential as a low-cost, indigenous supply of power, but for its potential environmental and developmental benefits. For example, biomass may be a globally important mitigation option to reduce the rate of CO2 buildup by sequestering carbon and by displacing fossil fuels. Renewably grown biomass contributes only a very small amount of carbon to the atmosphere. Locally, plantations can lessen soil erosion, provide a means to restore degraded lands, offset emissions and local impacts from fossil-fired power generation, and, perhaps, reduce demands on existing forests. In addition to the direct power and environmental benefits, biomass energy systems offer numerous other benefits, especially for developing countries such as Brazil. Some of these benefits include the employment of underutilized labour and the production of co- and by-products, for example, fuelwood.

Nearly all of the experiences with biomass for power generation are based on the use of waste and residue fuels (primarily wood/wood wastes and agricultural residues). The production of electric power from plantation-grown wood is an emerging technology with considerable promise. However, actual commercial use of plantation-grown fuels for power generation is limited to a few isolated instances. Wood from plantations is not an inexpensive energy feedstock, and as long as worldwide prices of coal, oil and gas are relatively low, the establishment of plantations dedicated to supplying electric power or other higher forms of energy will occur only where financial subsidies or incentives exist or where other sources of energy are not available.

Where biomass plantations are supplying energy on a commercial basis in Brazil, the Philippines and Sweden, it can be shown that a combination of government policies or high conventional energy prices have stimulated the use of short-rotation plantations for energy. Brazil used tax incentives beginning in the mid-1960s to initiate a reforestation program to provide for industrial wood energy and wood product needs. As a consequence of the Brazilian Forestry Code with its favourable tax incentives, the planted forest area in Brazil increased from 470,000 hectares to 6.5 million hectares by 1993. With the discontinuation of the tax incentives in 1988, plantation establishment in Brazil has slowed, although the commercial feasibility of using eucalyptus for energy and other products has been clearly demonstrated.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Plano Decenal de Expansão de Energia 2026". EPE (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2018-09-25.
  2. ^ a b c "Invest in Brazil - Brazilian M&A Guide 2018". CAPITAL INVEST. 2018-09-24. Retrieved 2018-09-25.
  3. ^ Renewable energy in Brazil
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Wind power and hydroelectricity in Brazil
  6. ^ Agência Brasil (2008-07-15). "ANP: consumo de álcool combustível é 50% maior em 2007" (in Portuguese). Invertia. Archived from the original on 2008-12-26. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
  7. ^ 90% of cars produced in Brazil are Flexfuel
  8. ^ "Brazilian Dams". International Rivers. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  9. ^ http://thebrazilbusiness.com/article/hydro-electricity-in-brazil
  10. ^ Wind power in Brazil - G1 News
  11. ^ "Boletim Mensal de Geração Eólica Agosto/2018" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Operador Nacional do Sistema Elétrico - ONS. 2018-09-27. pp. 6, 16. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  12. ^ "Boletim Mensal de Geração Solar Fotovoltaica Agosto/2018" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Operador Nacional do Sistema Elétrico - ONS. 2018-09-27. p. 6,14. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  13. ^ Brazilian Atlas for Solar Energy Resource: SWERA Results
  14. ^ Ethanol in Brazil - USA Today
  15. ^ Ethanol fuel in Brazil
  16. ^ Biomass in Brazil
  17. ^ Facts of Brazil's Biomass
  18. ^ Bioenergy - Biomass in Brazil