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Energy: firm and variable sources (Brazil)

Energy: firm and variable sources

Each energy source has its own characteristic. Two extremes: those that can be dispatched practically 100% of the time at nominal capacity like thermal plants, to those that offer about 20% like solar ones.

Of course, each source has its advantages, disadvantages, and associated costs considering its life cycle.

We are already in Brazil at a maturity stage where each consumer can and should choose the source or portfolio of sources that best fits his or her profile of interests or conveniences.

The times are for "market driven decisions" and not "a dictated solution" especially since in Brazil subsidies are borne by customers who are obliged to pay tariffs without actually being consulted.

Rafael Herzberg's picture

Thank Rafael for the Post!

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Nov 4, 2019 2:58 am GMT

"We are already in Brazil at a maturity stage where each consumer can and should choose the source or portfolio of sources that best fits his or her profile of interests or conveniences."

Rafael, what evidence do you have it's possible for Brazilian consumers to "choose the source or portfolio of sources that best fits his or her profile of interests or conveniences"?

When the light coming from the lamps in our homes looks exactly the same whether it's generated by coal, the wind, gas, or the sun, it's impossible for customers to verify the sources of energy provided by our 100%-renewable electricity plan are what were promised. The value of the product we're buying is 100% dependent on the accuracy of the plan's label - that's all.

Now, a consumer of grid electricity in Brazil, the U.S., or anywhere else, has no choice of utility: they are tethered by transmission wires to the business or municipality which delivers their electricity, and there is no financial incentive to deliver what the customer has ordered if there are cheaper options available. Even if it comes to light their utility is buying gas-fired electricity instead of wind or solar, there are no market-driven solutions - the customer cannot switch to a more-trustworthy provider.

Thus, without choice in electricity, any notion there are "market-driven solutions" in electricity is a mirage. When the choice of their electricity mix is not the customers' own, the key to providing real value - reliable, environmentally-responsible electricity - is responsible regulation, not false promises of "market driven solutions". 

Rafael Herzberg's picture
Rafael Herzberg on Nov 4, 2019 4:15 pm GMT

Hi BOB! Thanks for your comments!

The focus of my post was to share my views about what end users should do appart from tradition options associated with the public grid. There is a substantial list of energy related opportunities that do not depend on the regulations and that might produce substantial result$. Distributed generation (behind the meter), energy efficiciency retrofits, including potentially other "fuels" such as natural gas, etc.

An example. At my own home I do have electric heat boiler as well as a gas one for water heating - and I actually arbitrate costs depending on regulated rates charged by the local utility company vis-à-vis the available cost of gas.

And my experience (after 3 decades) shows that it has been a wise decision to have electricity and gas available at home - I am able to always keep energy costs at the minimum. 

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