Brazil smart grid playbook: kicking it to the goal
Editorâ€™s note: This is the fourth in our series of Smart Grid News â€œplaybooksâ€ 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:
SMART GRID PROJECTS
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 metersâ€™ advanced technology through Trilliantâ€™s wireless communication network to the utility's meter data management center â€“ 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 >>
A LEADER IN RENEWABLES
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 ENGLISH-LANGUAGE RESOURCES
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