Spotlight Brazil: Smart Grid Technologies in Brazil

Smart Grid Tech is a modernised electric grid that uses analogue or digital information and communication technology to ensure that efficiency and reliability of the production and distribution of electricity can be improved by acting on the information received.

Author Ajay Pal Singh Chabba -, 05.29.14

Smart Grid Tech is a modernised electric grid that uses analogue or digital information and communication technology to ensure that efficiency and reliability of the production and distribution of electricity can be improved by acting on the information received.

Brazil has been fighting an energy crisis and recent droughts have increased the energy security concerns for the country, which is all set to host the world’s most hyped sports event, the World Cup 2014.

Severe droughts and water levels dropping to dangerously low levels in key reservoirs of Brazil have thrown its largely hydro-thermal electricity network into great distress thanks to a soaring electricity demand. In order to meet growth in an economic boom and have alternate options, Brazil has expanded the grid in recent years, with fossil fuels and nuclear power now accounting for 20 percent of supply but has simultaneously also started to focus and emphasise on a renewable energy push.

Brazil has been marked as a pioneer in smart grid technology in developing world. However, after the government push and energy transition, in February over six million Brazilians were left in the dark after the key north-south interconnection system failed, calling for the need to replace the electric grid with the smart grids as the current power grid mustcover a vast territory and faces endemic power theft challenges.

Brazil has been projected as the next big market for smart metres thanks to a government mandate which has asked for the the installation of about 62 million digital, networked electric metres by end of the decade to curb the power theft.

Brazil currently has various ongoing projects with the European and U.S. metre technology companies like ItronLandis+Gyr, Elster,Sensus, Silver Spring Networks Siemens/eMeter and General Electric. Cisco last year announced the opening of a Center of Innovation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where Cisco and its partners are helping the energy industry to modernise the electric grid generation, distribution and consumption with highly secure, reliable and scalable communication solutions. 

AES Eletropaulo, the biggest power distribution company in Latin America last year in April announced a smart grid project where around 32 million USD will be pumped in by 2015 to provide 60,000 clients in Barueri, Brazil with smart metres for real-time and remote monitoring of energy distribution and consumption, followed by Brazil’s federal governments 1.4 billion USD plan, Inova Energia, aimed at fostering innovation in the electric sector.

By shifting the current grids to smart grids, the commercial losses, which are today attributed at four percent of total energy distribution, can be expected to drop by 30 percent due to improved control over the production and distribution of the electricity.

With all eyes turned towards Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we’re going beyond the stadium and putting the spotlight on local people, organisations and movements that incorporate and implement smart approaches to sustainability and social justice. Find other articles in the series here.

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