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Energy crisis in Brazil: what's next?

image credit: Rafael Herzberg
Rafael Herzberg's picture
Consultant energy affairs Self employed

Rafael Herzberg- is an independent energy consultant, self-employed (since 2018) based in São Paulo, Brazil* Focus on C level, VPs and upper managers associated to energy related info, analysis...

  • Member since 2003
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  • Jun 5, 2021

Energy crisis in Brazil: what's next?

The low level of the reservoirs that feed the hydroelectric power plants that respond for more then 2/3 of the country's power matrix, configure a very delicate situation.

Even so, little is known from the Government and the Regulator, regarding measures that will be taken and when.

I recommend that companies and institutions prepare for this crisis ASAP. Alternatives require measures to get them ready in time.

There are technical, financial and management issues that need to be identified, explored and resolved.

Deciding in the heat of events is possible but typically ends up costing a lot more than planning well in advance.

If you want to plan, count on me!

Dr. Amal Khashab's picture
Dr. Amal Khashab on Jun 5, 2021

I am wondering for that call . There are already regulatory and authorities dealing with electricity in Brazil. I made a post two years ago based on through investigation guided by your advice. What has been happened?

Rafael Herzberg's picture
Rafael Herzberg on Jun 5, 2021

Brazilian authorities are not known for planning. Improvisation is the name of the game. Even so let me point out some major issues that were not properly addressed:

1. Hydro reservoirs

Their size is too small as compared to the variations (dry and wet seasons).When the dry season comes and the wet one was not really very heavy in rains then there is a problem

2. There is no DR programs actually in place

This means that there is a huge need for dispatching power plants just to meet the higher demands (peak). If DR was there this would be so different.

3. Wind and solar projects are striving but...

No attention has been given to the "duck curve" which reflects what happens at the end of the day. This has been requiring the dispatch of thermal power plants, which in Brazil are very expensive given the price of the fuels used (natural gas, etc.).

4. 50 Million electric instant 5 kW showers

A huge national load (the largest one and by far) is there, used typically during on-peak hours have not been addressed for decades. 

Our leaders in the energy arena are not really prepared and experienced to cope with the challenges. The end result is very well known: the ongoing Brazilian power costs is the highest among the BRICS because all this lack of a consistency policy ends up increasing the power costs.

It has been like this for decades. Nothing really new!

Dr. Amal Khashab's picture
Dr. Amal Khashab on Jun 5, 2021

Thank you very much for clarifications. I really learned a lot . 


Rafael Herzberg's picture
Thank Rafael for the Post!
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