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Energy: where are we going?

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...

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  • Sep 6, 2021

Energy: where are we going?

The energy crisis we are going through in Brazil, is being characterized by our official leaders as "episodic". In this line, when the rains return, everything will naturally return to normal.

On the other hand, great emphasis is being given to increasing the share of solar and wind energy in our energy matrix. I would like to point out a worrying aspect that would need consideration. These sources are intermittent in everyday life.

That is, investments in "conventional" generation, transmission and distribution cannot and should not be reduced because on days with low or no sunlight or wind, there is no energy production and the "system" needs to take over.

This means that investing in solar and wind does not reduce the investments that would be needed with or without them.

To exemplify. The utility needs to have the same infrastructure - with or without customers who have solar panels on their roofs. And so what happens in practice is that the concessionaire has a reduction in its customers' solar energy billings, but it needs to have the infrastructure as if it did not exist.This not to mention the "duck curve" challenges.

Real-life practical result. The additional cost of concessionaires is transferred by the regulatory agency to tariffs.

We are moving towards a systemic increase in costs and tariffs. Water crisis and solar/wind crisis.

Rick Engebretson's picture
Rick Engebretson on Sep 6, 2021

I only speak for myself, but it seems others are also interested in an article published in "" and now here;


The referenced science article addresses some of your questions. However, not presented is some personal speculation regarding "solar biofuel," direct solar storage. Heliostat concentrated solar is considered in some detail, with links to grant recipients providing greater detail. One can imagine feeding biomass to desired heliostat higher temperatures and producing fuel, biochar, and not incidentally water vapor. And removing the steam boiler generator.

Dr. Amal Khashab's picture
Dr. Amal Khashab on Sep 7, 2021

Hi Rafael

Of course, wind and solar must be considered complementary resources due to their intermittency. This mandates investment in the backbones of the electric power system: grid as well as conventional hydro, fossil, and nuclear sources. This investment will increase the resilience and reliability of the sold electricity. Therefore it must be reflected automatically in the tariffs. So, who are the beneficiaries? They are the Brazilian people due to achieved environmental protection targets of pollutants reductions.

Rafael Herzberg's picture
Thank Rafael for the Post!
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