Brazil announces efforts to strengthen energy supply

Brazilian Mines and Energy Minister Eduardo Braga announced on Tuesday a series of measures to strengthen the supply of energy after 11 states suffered blackouts earlier in the week.

Braga said at a press conference that the blackouts experienced by the 11 states were due to a series of technical errors, as authorities had already reported, and he denied that there was a lack of electricity in Brazil and said that, therefore, there was no need to implement power rationing, as occurred in 2001 and 2002.

Among the measures announced to increase the supply of energy, the minister said that some thermoelectrical centers that have not been online – but the facilities at which were being maintained – will now be activated.

Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais are among the states that suffered blackouts on Monday, and the situation caused the shares of utility companies to plunge on the Sao Paulo stock exchange.

As the National Electric System Operating Company, or ONS, reported, restrictions on the transfer of electricity from the northern and northeastern regions to the country’s southeast, as well as an increase in demand at peak usage time, caused the power outages. The situation caused various power generating facilities, including the Angra 1 nuclear center, to cease functioning, thus reducing the available electricity output.

Faced with the situation, ONS said that it took controlled “measures” – along with power distributors in the south, south-southeast and east central regions – to reduce the supply of electricity to avoid a collapse of the power grid.

Additional energy imported from Argentina

On the same day that Braga said that the blackout did not occur due to a lack of power but due to a domino effect in the disconnection sequencing – ONS imported an additional energy charge from Argentina (an average of 165MW throughout the day) to meet the demand during peak time, registered at 2.48pm, when the transfer reached 998 MW. The Brazilian government considers that 1 MW provides an average household with electricity for one month.

This charge was destined specifically to the Southeast/Midwest regions. This type of operation had not been carried out between these countries since 2010.

Argentina’s energy entered Brazil through an interconnection at Garabi station, in the city of Garruchos, state of Rio Grande do Sul. On the same day, the Southeast/Midwest region, considered as one to the ONS, received power from all remaining regions across Brazil.

Brazil leads global investments in renewable energy

Boosting a global trend that saw a 16 percent rise in renewable energy investment to a total of USD 310 billion, Brazil appears to have won the mantle for the biggest rise in clean energy investment in BNEF’s annual survey. The South American giant saw an enormous 88 percent rise.

Other big contributors to the global rise in clean energy projects were China (32 percent), Canada (26 percent) and Japan (12 percent). On the other hand, Australia has seen a 88 percent fall in large-scale investments in renewables. Italy had a 60 percent fall after its government abandoned tariff support for solar.

Innovation Norway is responsible for promoting the Norwegian industry abroad. Our office in Rio de Janeiro manages Innovation House Rio, our business incubator office, and helps Norwegian companies in their efforts towards the Brazilian market.

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