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Is a holistic vision for electric energy necessary?

image credit: Balance is the key!
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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  • Jul 23, 2020
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Is a holistic vision for electric energy necessary?

News from companies that have become 100% renewable is more and more frequent.

They inform the market that the volume of energy they consume, in MWh, is supported by 100% renewable contracts.

As renewable sources do not deliver energy 100% of the time, in reality these companies, which are connected to the public grid, automatically receive electric energy from other sources, for example thermal power plants.

So they can operate even when there is no sun or wind in the contracted plants.

At the limit, if everyone contracted 100% renewable energy, thermal plants should be dispatched to meet the demand, as shown by the reports produced by the Independent System Operator.

The proposal is to refine cost modeling to better reflect reality and enable a robust and competitive electrical system.

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jul 24, 2020

Rafael, I never understood why any country would want competition in providing an essential service like electricity. Or water, or security, or infrastructure. Compared to a well-regulated, state run monopoly, it breeds corruption, bad service, and high prices.

"News from companies that have become 100% renewable is more and more frequent."

Can you name some of those companies? To my knowledge, not a single company in the world is "100% renewable".

Brazilian government committed to nuclear, says energy minister

"Brazil's National Energy Plan 2050 (PNE 2050), to be made public by the end of the year, will consider new nuclear power plants for baseload generation. Brazil has a large installed hydro power capacity - in 2016, this accounted for 66% of its gross electricity production, according   to World Nuclear Association - but this will not be enough to assure baseload generation and security of supply in the face of growing electricity demand and a growing renewable energy capacity, he said."

Rafael Herzberg's picture
Rafael Herzberg on Jul 24, 2020

Hi Bob!

Here in Brazil a robust number of private companies, especially the multinational ones, are informing their stakeholders about reaching this 100% renewable reference. 

Actually deregulated energy users are able to choose. So when they lock power deals out of solar, wind or hydro power plants to cover their entire energy needs they "go public".

Since the Brazilian power matrix is roughly 75% out of renewable sources (water + wind + solar) it is not difficult to procure 100% renewable energy. And most importantly, it is chepaer than going for thermal power plants!

In the deregulated power markets we have about 8 000 industrial, commercial and institutional energy users who consume about 1/3 of the country's electric power. They are free to choose!

100% renewable is therefore a common situation here in Brazil. 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jul 24, 2020

"Since the Brazilian power matrix is roughly 75% out of renewable sources (water + wind + solar) it is not difficult to procure 100% renewable energy."

This is a common misconception. Because there is no way to direct electricity from clean sources to individual customers, everyone gets exactly the same power mix on a power grid. If there is any fossil fuel contribution at all, no customer can honestly claim they are using "100% renewable" electricity.
If Brazil truly does procure 75% of its power from renewable sources that's far better than most countries, but it's not scalable, and probably why Bolsonaro is looking to nuclear to provide reliable, carbon-free energy in the future.
France, depending on time of year, gets 80-85% of its electricity from carbon-free sources, and activists were pushing for a 100% renewable grid until they found wind and solar were actually increasing the country's carbon emissions. The reason was solar and wind were displacing 100% carbon-free nuclear energy, but need fossil fuel gas to back them up.

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