What Brazil is doing
The Energy matrix
Brazil's energy matrix uses the most renewable energy sources in the industrialized world, with 45.3% of its energy being generated by water, biomass, ethanol, wind and solar sources. Hydroelectric power plants generate over 75% of the electricity used in Brazil. It is worth remembering that the world energy matrix is composed of 13% renewable sources in the case of industrialized countries, falling to 6% among developing nations.
The National Energy Plan - 2030
The Brazilian energy model has great potential for expansion, creating a number of opportunities for long-term investment. Brazil's Ministry of Mines and Energy has estimated that between 2008 and 2017 public and private investment of around R$ 352 billion will be put into the expansion of the country’s national energy output.
Public funds will come mainly from the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), a federal initiative launched in 2007 to promote the accelerated economic expansion in Brazil.
Around R$ 83 billion is planned for hydroelectric projects. Today, only a third of Brazil's hydroelectric potential is being used. Large plants to be installed in the Amazon region represent a new hydroelectric frontier for Brazil and will impact not only the size of the generation system, but also the profile of energy distribution across the country, opening up new possibilities for regional and national development.
Another R$ 23 billion will be invested in expanding production and supply of biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel. Several countries are interested in learning about and adopting biofuels - and Brazil has the capacity to supply products, services and knowledge.
The strength of Brazilian ethanol
Brazil produced 27 billion liters of ethanol in 2008, up 17.9% on the year before. Official estimates are that this number will grow to 37 billion liters by 2015.
There follow some of the initiatives being taken in Brazil's energy sector:
Alternative Energy Source Incentive Program (PROINFA)
Created in 2002 by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, this program aims to develop alternative and renewable sources of electrical energy production, taking into account features and regional and local potential and investing in reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
In its first phase, the goal was to deploy 3,300 MW of installed capacity through the use of wind power, biomass, and small hydroelectric plants, divided into equal shares for the three sources.
Brazil currently has 36 wind farms spread across the country, from north to south. Together they add up to a total output of 602,284 kW of clean energy. This is tiny, considering the potential 300 Giga Watts that could be generated in the coming decades.
By the end of 2010 PROINFA should be completed, generating 1.5 GW of wind power throughout Brazil, following investment of R$ 4.6 billion in the expansion of this power source.
In total the program foresees the deployment of 144 plants, totaling 3,299.40 MW of installed capacity, 1,191.24 MW coming from 63 SHPs, 1,422.92 MW from 54 wind farms, and 685.24 MW from 27 power plants fueled with biomass. According to the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the energy has a guaranteed market for 20 years from Brazil's electrical energy distributor, Eletrobras.
National Energy Conservation Program (PROCEL)
PROCEL was created in 1985, under the slogan "Energy is money, don't waste it," the main goals being to reduce the wastage of electricity in Brazil and to pursue energy efficiency in the electricity sector, to achieve the following essential targets: technological development; energy security; economic efficiency, new parameters in citizenship, and reduced environmental impact.
According to recent studies, the amount of carbon avoided by PROCEL Programs will be significant over the years. Energy efficiency will, by 2010, have helped avoid the emission of about 230 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere - equivalent to almost 29% of total greenhouse gas emissions by the Brazilian electricity sector.
It is worth noting that between the inception of the program and 2005, 2,158 GWh of energy were saved, probably due to the promotion of more efficient lighting (with the replacement of street lights, commercial and residential lighting), increases efficiency in home appliances (refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners) and more efficient motors (through tagging and the awarding PROCEL Seal).
National Program for the Rational Use of Oil and Natural Gas
The objective of the National Program for the Rational Use of Oil and Natural Gas is to encourage the efficient use of these non-renewable energy sources in transportation, at home, in businesses, industry and agriculture.
Created in 1991, the initiative provides technical cooperation agreements and partnerships with government agencies, NGOs and representatives of entities related to the issue, and it also organizes and promotes projects. The rationalization of energy use is essential to the reduction of environmental impacts, reduced costs, increased productivity and sustainable development of the country.
The government's goal is to achieve a 25% efficiency gain in the use of petroleum and natural gas over the next 20 years, without affecting the level of activity in various sectors of Brazil's economy. The technical, administrative and financial resources for the program are provided by Petrobras.
National Biodiesel Production and Usage Program
Since 2004 Brazil has been running the National Biodiesel Production and Usage Program, which regulates the production and distribution of Brazilian biodiesel produced from oilseeds. The country is the third largest producer of this energy source in the world, behind Germany, the United States and France.
In five years, this program has taken major steps toward the consolidation of biodiesel in Brazil. Initially a gradually increase was planned, adding biofuel to traditional diesel until 2013, when the mixture would reach 5%. However, the Brazilian government decided to strengthen its initiatives in this area in three years and brought this requirement forward. So, B5, as the 5% addition of biodiesel to traditional diesel is called, became mandatory from January 2010 throughout Brazil. This measure should increase the production of biodiesel from around 176 million liters a year to 2.4 billion liters in 2010, strengthening Brazil's position as a world leader in renewable energy on a commercial scale.
Socially speaking, the expanded use of biodiesel will increase employment levels and income generation and have an impact on the social inclusion underway in Brazil by promoting family farming. Of the 2.4 billion liters of B5 that will be demanded, 80% will come from production units carrying the Social Fuel Seal. In economic terms, raw materials from Brazil have a higher value.
Brazil has 43 plants with the following regional distribution of capacity:
The North = 5%; The Northeast = 19%; The Center-West = 33%; The Southeast = 18%; and The South = 25%. This represents an installed capacity of 3.6 billion liters / year
Light for All Program
In November 2003 the federal government launched the challenge to end the country's electricity exclusion problem. The Light for All program originally aimed to bring electricity to more than 10 million rural people by the year 2008.
This was fully achieved due to investment of R$ 9.7 billion, of which R$ 6.5 billion came from the federal government, with the rest coming from state governments and distributors.
In practice, the program promoted a revolution in locations far from urban centers in Brazil, providing opportunities for human development which had previously been impossible, such as access to information, improved quality of life in homes, new businesses, and so on.
Because of its success and the increased demand that has emerged in recent years, the Light for All Program was extended to 2010, with the goal of providing about one million new installations.
77.1% of Brazil's electrical energy comes from hydroelectric power plants. There are 140 plants in operation, with the prospect of this source being made greater use of. Over the past 30 years, the country has avoided emitting 800 million tons of CO2 equivalent through the use of ethanol as a gasoline additive or substitute.
The forecast in the Ten Year Energy Plan is that Brazil will have 71 new plants by 2017, with a potential output of 29,000 MW, 15 being in the Amazon basin, 13 in the Tocantins-Araguaia basin, 18 on the river Parana and 8 on the river Uruguay. The 28 power plants planned in the Amazon region have a total installed capacity of 22,900 MW.
Brazil uses hydroelectric power from the late 19th century, but the 1960 and 1970 marked the stage for increased investment in the construction of large plants. Brazil now has the world's largest hydroelectric power plant. Opened in 1984 after a bilateral agreement with Paraguay, the Itaipu Dam now has an installed capacity of 14,000 MW, with 20 generating units. This is enough to supply about 80% of all the electricity consumed in Paraguay and 20% of the demand in Brazilian.
The Jirau and Santo Antonio plants - still under construction, on the river Madeira - for example, using bulb turbine technology, reduce the need to flood and, consequently, negative effects, such as the displacement of local populations, land expropriation and environmental impacts. To monitor impact, Brazil is also investing in improving assessment carried out by the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Natural Resources (IBAMA) before installation of any plant.
According to the National Wind Atlas, published in 2001, Brazil has the greatest wind energy production capacity in Latin America and the Caribbean, with an estimated potential of 143,000 MW - but there is more good news.
According to estimates that should be finished in 2011 in the second Wind Atlas, Brazil's potential could reach 300GW, surpassing what can be achieved by planned and existing hydroelectric plants. This is due to the fact that the new Atlas is taking into account the capture of wind from 100 meter towers, while currently the towers are 50 meters tall.
It is interesting to note that Brazil has a promising future in this area and can see the opportunities for investment in wind and the considerable expansion of this energy source. Brazil now has wind farms in operation producing 359 MW, but with investments of R$ 4.6 billion by 2010, through the Incentive Program for Alternative Sources of Energy (PROINFA), the country will produce 1.427 GW of wind power.
The initiatives in the area are already attracting domestic and foreign investment, which will be added to. It is expected that approximately 10,660 direct and indirect jobs will be created in the coming decades.