Brazil’s matrix of power generation is predominantly based on renewable energy sources, which account for approximately 85% of electricity generation. There are more than a thousand hydroelectric power plants all over its territory, producing together 65% of the country’s energy - unlike to what happens in the rest of the industrialized countries, where renewable sources integrates, on average, only 13% of the energy matrix. This percentage drops to 6% among developing nations.
However, Brazil is strongly depending on hydro power generation. A further expansion of hydroelectricity is restricted by the geographical and environmental challenges within the Amazon region – with most of the untapped potential in Brazil nowadays.
In second place in the Brazilian energy matrix are thermal power plants. They have gained importance for complementing the hydroelectric matrix, especially from the late 90’s on. Thermoelectric energy generation represents 25% of the overall generation in the country. Additionally, 6% of the national electricity is imported from Latin America, especially the Paraguayan share of the Itaipu Hydroelectric Power Plant.
Wind energy is growing in the Brazilian energy matrix: by 2018, according to forecasts by the Brazilian Wind Energy Association (ABEEólica), the share of wind energy will increase from the current 3% to 8%, reaching in a few more years, equivalent energy generation to that produced by the Itaipu hydroelectric power plant – one of the biggest worldwide. In 2014 Brazil was the world’s fourth largest wind power market.
The need for diversification of the Brazilian electrical system, in addition to the fact that sunlight is a free and renewable source, smoothens the way of solar power into the Brazilian electric matrix. The large territorial dimensions and the high rates of solar irradiation show that the country has significant solar power potential.
Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plants reach high efficiency when installed in areas with low presence of clouds, high levels of solar radiation and flat terrain. Brazil is a country with rich potential, offering excellent weather conditions for the deployment of CSP plants. According to satellite data, part of the regions Midwest, Southeast and virtually the entire Northeast are appropriate for this technology.
The high productivity of Brazilian industry and the energy sector also favors the implementation of CSP in Brazil. Many of the necessary components and facilities for the plants are the same as in conventional thermal power plants. Therefore, a CSP plants creates additional demand for an already existing national industry.