Renewable energy and energy efficiency (ProFREE)

Project description

Title: Renewable energy and energy efficiency (ProFREE)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) 

Country: Brazil 

Lead executing agency: Empresa de Pesquisa Energética (EPE) 
Overall term: 2012 to 2015

Brazil. World Cup football stadium in Mineirão in Belo Horizonte, featuring a solar roof. © CEMIG


Population and economic growth as well as greater prosperity and associated consumption patterns all play a role in driving the steady increase in Brazil’s demand for energy. By 2025, the country will have to nearly double its power supply capacity to meet demand. As these changes occur, the aim is to minimise the increase in greenhouse gas emissions by using more wind and solar energy, promoting energy efficiency and replacing conventional technologies with innovative solutions to prevent climate change.

In absolute terms, wind and solar energy capacities are still not well-developed and contribute less than 4 per cent to the country’s total electricity production.

Brazil’s workforce lacks qualifications along the entire value chain to advance the development of wind and solar energy. The vocational training institutions have not yet been able to provide high-quality courses to quickly train the number of personnel needed.

In the past, Brazilian policy relied solely on a centralised energy supply, primarily provided by hydropower. Low electricity prices have also meant that there is little incentive to invest in reducing electricity consumption.

With support from sustainable development actors working on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), a promising trend towards the decentralised use of wind and solar power is emerging. Brazil is in danger of resorting to the use of fossil and nuclear energy sources as a result of pressure from the current energy shortage and the realisation that the hydropower plants have become its Achilles’ heel and can no longer guarantee a stable supply. The only way to prevent this ‘relapse’ is to demonstrate the effectiveness of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency as part of an intelligent and integrated approach. German cooperation in the field of sustainable development will continue to make an important contribution through the provision of expertise, strategies and technologies.


Renewable energy sources and energy efficiency play a central role in Brazil’s energy supply.


Germany’s cooperation with Brazil in the field of sustainable development is helping the Brazilian partners to explore new ways of tapping into the potential of wind and solar power and to promote energy efficiency, particularly in industry and buildings. GIZ provides advice on strategy development, support for developing management and cooperation structures, and technical expertise to ministries, authorities, banks and public institutions. The German economy is also benefiting from GIZ’s involvement as Brazil’s need for innovative technologies increases.

The consulting firm GOPA supports the implementation of the project.

Energy efficiency
Key partners: The energy planning authority EPE, the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency ANEEL, the national support and development bank CAIXA, the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME)

To capitalise on Brazil’s enormous potential for energy savings, institutions and policy-makers need access to detailed information and data. GIZ provides advisory services to the energy planning authority EPE on developing appropriate methods; data is also collected and analysed to determine the potential savings in various industries. The regulatory agency ANEEL is receiving support as it redesigns the national energy efficiency programme. GIZ is also cooperating with the development bank CAIXA in the field of energy efficiency in buildings and industry.

Renewable energy
Key partners: The energy planning authority EPE, the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency ANEEL, Instituto Ideal, Grupo Neoenergia, COELBA, Light

GIZ is working closely with the Brazilian energy authorities to create and maintain a political environment that favours the use of renewable energies. The requirements and evaluation criteria for government energy auctions are being gradually transformed from price competitions to quality competitions. The aim is to improve the security of supply by focusing on quality. This invalidates the argument that renewable energy sources are supposedly at a disadvantage compared to cheaper energy sources.

GIZ is also promoting cooperation between German and Brazilian energy companies, thereby facilitating the exchange of technologies and expertise.

Key partners: Serviço Nacional de Aprendizagem Industrial (SENAI)

The Brazilian vocational training system only offers selective training for professions in the wind, solar and energy efficiency sectors. GIZ supports vocational training institutions as they establish structures and training programmes for teachers and technical specialists for these new job profiles. Together with GIZ, the training institutions develop job and requirements profiles which are then used as a basis for new training courses. GIZ provides seminars, organises specialist tours to Europe and supports education and training institutions as they set up centres for innovation and training.


Energy efficiency
Energy efficiency is now an integral part of Brazilian policy. In 2011, the government adopted a national energy efficiency plan. In cooperation with GIZ, ANEEL drafted a new set of regulations for the efficiency programme in 2013, using results from studies conducted by the planning authority EPE. In these regulations, ANEEL specifies the criteria for state electricity providers to follow when investing their statutory share (approximately EUR 125 million per year) in energy efficiency projects.

Renewable energy
Following consultations with GIZ, the Brazilian regulatory authority ANEEL has introduced net metering on a nationwide basis: every Brazilian consumer who has a photovoltaic installation, small wind turbine or bioelectricity generator can produce energy and feed it into the grid. There is minimal red tape 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 installations, an attractive option and therefore promotes a decentralised, environmentally friendly, safe and competitive energy supply.

2012 saw Latin America’s first solar stadium, Pituaçu Solar, begin operations. The stadium, which is located in Salvador da Bahia, uses net metering. The advice provided by GIZ has already paid off in a number of ways: Brazil has invested EUR 2.3 million, receiving widespread approval from the media, the population and policy-makers. Several football World Cup stadiums followed suit: Mineirão Solar in Belo Horizonte, Maracanã Solar in Rio de Janeiro and Arena Recife.

Brazil. Thanks to new legislation on net-metering, private households are now in a position to install their own photovoltaic installations and to feed electricity into the grid. © GIZ

Thanks to a range of government initiatives, wind energy is also steadily growing in importance. Since the end of 2009, wind energy has been an integral part of the Brazilian Government’s national auctions. Wind power can now be generated more cheaply than all other energy sources. Solar projects were approved for the first time at the auctions in 2014. German companies have also successfully participated in these auctions.

In cooperation with our partner SENAI, new educational programmes and services have been developed in the fields of wind energy, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy and energy efficiency in industry and buildings.

  • Through training courses and information-gathering missions to Germany, experts in wind and solar energy as well as energy efficiency have been brought up to date with the latest technology and can share this knowledge with others in Brazil.
  • A new course concept, improved infrastructure, training of teaching staff and the use of didactic material have made it possible to train future service technicians in the assembly, installation, operation, maintenance and repair of large wind turbines. SENAI and universities in the north-east of the country provide training for service technicians and energy managers. These activities are being supported by development workers from GIZ and German companies such as Siemens and TÜV Rheinland.