ANALYSIS: Why Brazil still looks at renewables with caution



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Why doesn’t Brazil trust renewables? The answer came from a leading federal government energy planner talking to Recharge after speaking at a renewables conference in the northeast.

The official rebuffed criticisms of Brazil’s lack of clear targets for renewable energy; the country, he said, needs stable baseline supply, which “intermittent sources” such as wind cannot guarantee.

As it draws up its latest version of its ten-year energy plan, Brazil still looks at technologies such as wind and solar with caution. So in 2024, baseline supply – about 80% of total installed capacity – will come from hydropower (60%) and oil- and gas-fired power plants (20%). Other sources, such as wind, solar, biomass, small hydro and nuclear, will share the remaining 20%.

To leading renewables specialists, this is a mistake, not only because it is polluting, weakening Brazil’s position as a climate change fighter, but also because it is expensive. In the past year, with dry reservoirs, drought-hit Brazilians have spent billions of extra dollars to keep 2,000 thermoelectric plants switched on to guarantee supply.

Wind, the experts point out, is much more predictable than rainfall.

“There is no wind crisis [like there exists water crisis],” says Everaldo Feitosa, a professor at the Federal University of Pernambuco who is chief executive of developer and consulting firm Eólica Tecnologia, one of Brazil’s wind pioneers.