Brazil smart grid playbook: kicking it to the goal


Editor’s note: This is the fourth in our series of Smart Grid News "playbooks” focused on smart grid development around the world. Previous playbooks are linked on page 2.


By Liz Enbysk

SGN Managing Editor


"Interesting times," is how Adriano Rehder, director of the annual Metering Latin America conference, describes today's energy market in Brazil. It may be a bit of an understatement.


According to Rehder, Brazil has 68 million meters that will have to be replaced with smart meters in the next 10 to 15 years. Moreover, he says utilities are investing heavily in distribution automation technologies and centralized metering to prevent energy stealth.


That assessment fits handily into one by Innovation Observatory, which predicts that by 2030, 10 countries will account for 80% of global smart grid investments. Brazil ranks sixth.


And companies around the world are definitely noticing the opportunities in Latin America's most populous country. One reason for that is Brazil's relatively quick recovery from the economic downturn that still plagues many parts of the world.  According to the CIA World Fact Book, the financial crisis hit Brazil in September 2008 and the country experienced two quarters of recession, but was one of the first emerging markets to start bouncing back. Strong growth and high interest rates make Brazil attractive to foreign investors even as political leaders there struggle to tame growing inflation.


A quick scan of some recent headlines illustrates how global energy players are focusing on Brazil:

·         Schneider Electric acquires Steck Group, a key Brazilian playerin final low voltage products

·         Midas Medici's CIMCORP wins $3 million data center contract from CEMIG, one of the largest electric utilities in Brazil

·         Demand for Vizimax’s smart grid products in Brazil has prompted the company to open a new office in Sao Paulo

·         GE technology to help MPX double its solar energy production in Brazil

·         Isolux Infrastructure wins a further 247 km of power lines in Brazil

·         Chinese manufacturer Sinovel delivers 23 wind turbines to Brazil

·         Alstom signs deals to supply Latin American hydropower plants



Brazil's government has mandated the installation of smart meters, in part to reduce the amount of energy theft, which is a significant problem there. But as Bob Gohn of Pike Research notes, the country is also under pressure to improve power reliability in advance of the World Cup it will host in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.


Below are snapshots of some of the smart grid initiatives under way in Brazil:


Smart grid R&D: GE Energy, Trilliant and AES Eletropaulo, the largest electricity distributor in Brazil, are collaborating on a smart grid R&D project in Sao Paulo, which is Brazil's largest city. The first of its kind project for AES Eletropaulo connects GE smart meters’ advanced technology through Trilliant’s wireless communication network to the utility's meter data management center - he goal being to improve system monitoring, identify problems before they occur and reduce the duration of power interruptions. Read more >>


Remote power management: Italian utility Enel, in partnership with Endesa's Brazilian unit Coelce, has launched a pilot project to install 100 remote meters in transformer stations along with concentrators for the data collected by the meters. According to Reuters, Brazil is the first country in Latin America to begin developing regulations for remote power management, which helps drive smart grid development. Read more >>


Smart meters: CPFL Energia, Brazil's largest privately owned energy company, is working with IBM to develop a smart grid strategy, which includes rolling out 25,000 smart meters by the end of 2012 and eventually deployment to 6.5 million residential customers. The utility and IBM are also collaborating on meter data management and communications initiatives. Read more >>



With a goal of 75 percent of electricity from renewables by 2030, Brazil is a leader among developing countries. Here are a few examples of what's going on in the renewables space:

·         Brazil’s renewable energy use is almost half consumption

·         Lessons of Brazil's renewables boom

·         Brazil wind power taking off

·         Report: Brazil wind farms may struggle to deliver power at lowest rates

·         Brazil's Ceara state begins fund to buy solar energy

·         United Solar powers first solar PV system on soccer stadium in South America




Rio Times - current events



ANEEL - Brazilian electricity regulatory agency

BBC Brazil country profile

PSI Brazil Energy Handbook

KEMA - Brazil smart grid

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India smart grid playbook: The race to the future

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