Renewables gained ground in Brazil in 2019

Brazil’s energy demand amounted to 294 Mtoe (million tonnes of oil equivalent) in 2019, with 46.1% supplied by renewable sources, including hydropower, wind, solar and bioenergy. This is up from 45.5% in 2018, according to energy ministry data.

Brazil’s electric power matrix is heavily based on renewables, with hydropower accounting for about 64%, wind power 9%, biomass 9% and solar power almost 2%. The remainder is divided between coal, natural gas, oil and nuclear sources. Therefore, one of the main challenges now is to increase renewables use in other areas, such as transportation. In the coming years, the country is backing its RenovaBio biofuels program to cut carbon emissions in the transportation sector through greater use of ethanol, biodiesel and other new biofuels. 

BNamericas reported that the growth in renewables in 2019 was mostly due to the expansion of solar and wind generation, which increased 92% and 155% year-on-year, respectively. During the first two weeks of July, power generation from solar plants was up 30.9% year-on-year, while wind power generation grew 10.7% and hydropower increased 7.2%. Meanwhile, thermopower generation was down 34.2% compared with the same period of 2019, according to energy trading chamber CCEE.

It is anticipated that the country will see even greater growth in renewables in 2020, as reduced electricity demand amid the economic crisis leads to lower use of thermopower plants in lieu of higher hydro, solar and wind use.  

Another big challenge the country faces is to improve energy efficiency. Energy planning firm EPE said in is 2050 outlook report that the main targets to enhance efficiency in the coming years should be industries, buildings, cargo and passenger freight and power distribution. 

“Brazil has a high incidence of systematic energy inefficiency due to reasons such as the predominance of road transportation, limited urban infrastructure and high losses in the electricity system,” EPE said in a statement.

The expectation is that Brazil’s energy demand could grow by an average 2.2% per year, to reach 562 Mtoe by 2050.


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