Wind, Gas To Increase In Brazil’s Energy Mix In Next Decade

Wind power and natural gas are expected to contribute an increasing share towards Brazil’s energy needs up to 2023.
Published: Mon 22 Sep 2014

Brazil is set to diversify its energy mix in the coming decade with increases in the use of renewable energies and locally produced natural gas and the more widespread use of distributed generation, coupled with a drive for energy efficiency.

The country’s newly released draft 10-year energy plan for the decade from 2014 to 2023 projects an average 4.4% annual growth in electricity supply and 3.7% annual growth in total energy consumption over that period.

With an average annual 0.7% increase in population, electricity supply is projected to increase from 659.1TWh in 2014 to 933.8TWh in 2023. This corresponds to a change in per capita supply over the period from 3,237kWh to 4,311kWh.

Renewable energy capacity in Brazil

Over the coming decade, the proportions of non-renewable and renewable energies in the energy supply mix are projected to stay almost unchanged – the non-renewables dropping marginally from 17.1% in 2013 to 16.2% in 2023 with a corresponding increase in the renewables from 82.9% to 83.8% by 2023.

Of the current 103.4GW renewable generation capacity, hydropower contributes 79.9GW and other renewables (small hydro, wind and biomass) contribute 17.4GW (the balance is hydropower imported from Paraguay). By 2023, the hydro capacity is projected to reach 112.2GW while the capacity of other renewables rises to 47.2GW. This includes a factor 10 increase in wind power from 2.2GW in 2013 to 22.4GW in 2023 and the development of 3.5GW of solar power by 2023, while biomass will increase by 4GW over the decade to reach almost 14GW by 2023.

It also will mark a shift in the relative contributions of hydropower and other renewables to the generation mix from 69% and 14% respectively in 2013 to 60% and 24% in 2023.

More natural gas

Among the non-renewable energies the 21.4GW installed capacity is projected to rise to 31.7GW by 2023. Almost all of this will be due to an almost doubling in the use of natural gas, from 10.7GW in 2013 to 20GW in 2023.

These new generation developments are expected to require an investment of R$223 billion (US$95.4 billion).

The proposals also include an expected increase in the use of distributed generation, growing at about 5.4% per year to reach a total 664MWp and contribute about 12% of electricity consumption by 2023. Energy efficiency savings are also envisaged, particularly in the industrial and residential sectors, totalling over 6% by 2023.

Transmission developments

Coupled with the expansion of generation capacity and the need to integrate new renewable energy sources, the 10-year plan also proposes substantial investments in the country’s transmission system – approximately R$50 billion (US$21.4 billion) in transmission lines, particularly the 800kV and 500kV systems, and over R$28 billion (US$12 billion) in substations.

These investments will increase the transmission system from 112,660km in 2013 to 182,500km in 2023, while the transformer capacity will increase from 288,946MVA in 2013 to 451,904MVA in 2023.

The plan is an ambitious one and overall it will see Brazil switch from being a net importer to becoming a net exporter of energy. The diversification of supply is also timely, and for example, it should aid the country to weather potential periods of drought. [Engerati-Drought Hits Brazil’s Power Supply]

The plan is now open for public consultation until October 5.