Energy systems of the future in Brazil

Project description

Title: Energy Systems of the Future
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Brazil 

Lead executing agency: Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME)
Overall term: 2016 to 2021

Installing photovoltaic modules at a SENAI training centre


Brazil’s demand for energy will continue to increase, although the rapid economic growth of the last few years has weakened significantly. Yet based on the economic and population growth forecast for the next 10 years alone, the energy planning authority (EPE) estimates an increase of over 3 per cent in annual electricity demand by 2026.  

Brazil’s energy supply has a high share of renewable energies: Well over half of the electricity generated comes from hydropower, and another 15 per cent comes from other renewable energy sources. However, the focus on hydropower poses some challenges. Fluctuations in water availability are increasing, a problem accentuated by climate change. In recent years there have been long periods without heavy rainfall, which has frequently resulted in low water reserves. These shortages are increasingly addressed by using environmentally unfriendly energy sources such as coal and gas, which in turn leads to rising energy prices.

For these reasons, high priority is given to the development of renewable energies and energy efficiency in Brazil. It is estimated that, by 2024, the installed wind energy capacity will have doubled, while the capacity for solar energy will have increased seven-fold.

The expansion will pose challenges for planning and regulation in the energy sector, as wind and solar energy depend on weather conditions and fluctuate accordingly. The highest potential for wind energy is in the north-east. But a significant amount of the electricity generated in this area must be transported to the south-east, where consumption is the highest.

In addition, this growth market requires a qualified workforce to plan and implement investment in renewable energies and energy efficiency, and to guarantee maintenance. However, the sector still lacks an adequate number of workers with the necessary skills.


The conditions for integrating renewable energies and energy efficiency into the Brazilian energy system are improved.

Energy-efficient lighting for cities and municipalities


To capitalise on Brazil’s huge potential for renewable energies and for savings through energy efficiency, institutions and policy-makers need access to sound information and data. GIZ provides advice to ministries, banks and public institutions on strategy development and support for developing management and cooperation structures, offers technical expertise on energy planning and regulation as well as advice on the development of business models. For example, the Brazilian energy sector is being analysed in a detailed study conducted together with the companies Lahmeyer International, Tractebel (Engie) and PSR to help improve conditions for the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources in the Brazilian energy mix.

GIZ also promotes cooperation between public and private actors in the energy sector, thereby facilitating the exchange of technologies and expertise. The resulting need for innovative technologies of the project partners indirectly also benefits the German economy.

The vocational training courses available in Brazil do not yet meet the growing market demand for specialists in renewable energy and energy efficiency. At the same time, market growth opens opportunities for new jobs in this area. GIZ therefore supports vocational training institutions and universities as they establish structures and training programmes for teachers and technical specialists for these new job profiles. This advice is based on international experiences, for example in the German vocational training system and with the energy transition in Germany.

A wind energy expert


Following consultations with GIZ, the Brazilian regulatory authority ANEEL has introduced net metering on a nationwide basis and revised it in 2016: Brazilians who have a photovoltaic system, small wind turbine or a biogas plant can produce energy and feed it into the grid. There is minimal red tape involved for the grid connection and the electricity fed into the grid is calculated using the appropriate consumption tariff. Net metering makes private investments, particularly in photovoltaic systems, an attractive option and therefore promotes a decentralised, environmentally friendly, safe and competitive energy supply.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) and the Organization of Brazilian Cooperatives (OCB) have launched a new cooperative business model for the decentralisation of energy production across the country together with GIZ and the German Cooperative and Raiffeisen Confederation (DGRV). Up to now, seven local energy cooperatives have been founded, which operate eight energy plants with an installed capacity of 8.5 MWp in four states.

During a pilot study, EPE and Brazil’s national grid operator (ONS) developed new mechanisms to integrate renewable energy in the electricity market. The study is modelled on the supply security of the Brazilian energy system with a rapidly growing share of intermittent renewable energies, and demonstrates courses of action on the technical level.

The Brazilian National Service for Industrial Training (SENAI) opened the first training centres for photovoltaic installers in the states of Sao Paulo, Ceará, Minas Gerais, Rio Grande do Norte and in the Federal District (Brasilia). By 2018, SENAI had trained 500 installers for work in the solar market using the national curriculum. A postgraduate course in industrial energy management has also been introduced in three states. SENAI Sao Paulo in cooperation with RWTH Aachen University provides an optional two-week training course in Germany for these postgraduate students.

The Ministry of Education (MEC) initiated the EnergIF programme to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency at over 600 campuses of the Federal Institutes of Education, Science and Technology in 2016. In 2018, MEC published a national curriculum for renewable energies and energy efficiency, on which the vocational training of the Federal Institutes is based.

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