Wind farm in Osório, in the South of Brazil

Core area “Climate and energy, just transition” Generating electricity from wind and sun

Brazil's climate and geography have endowed it with enormous energy resources and huge potential for the development of renewable energy. In 2020, about 48 per cent of the country's entire final energy consumption was covered by renewable energy sources.

In the electricity sector, the share of renewables is actually almost 85 per cent. Germany is assisting Brazil in making its energy supply more efficient and in increasing the share of renewable energy in the electricity mix even as overall energy demand continues to grow.

The bulk of Brazilian energy is currently being supplied by large-scale hydroelectric power plants. However, in the past there have been repeated electricity outages during dry periods and at times of increased energy demand, and massive price increases as a result of switching to expensive fossil fuels that harm the climate. Building new large-scale hydroelectric power plants is problematic due to the negative consequences for the environment and the local population, and the option of expanding large-scale hydroelectric power is also reaching its natural limits. Wind power and solar energy have shown themselves to be environmentally friendly and also inexpensive alternatives, and are becoming increasingly important.

As part of Brazilian-German cooperation, the Energy Ministry and other authorities and agencies responsible for energy supply are being advised on transforming the energy system. Activities that have been carried out include the development of a tariff scheme that allows decentralised energy generating facilities to be linked up to the grid in an uncomplicated process. In order to improve grid stability and energy security, the use of energy storage technologies is also being promoted.

Initial and ongoing training

In order to improve the exchange of expert knowledge, cooperation between public and private sector players in the energy sector is being strengthened. In addition, GIZ is working with vocational training facilities and with universities in order to develop and expand initial and ongoing training programmes in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Furthermore, support is being prepared for a guarantee fund to be set up at the Brazilian development bank. The intention is that it will be used to promote investments by small and medium-sized enterprises aimed at increasing their energy efficiency. This will make a contribution towards achieving climate goals on the one hand and ensuring economic stability and protecting jobs on the other.

“Green” hydrogen

• Image symbolising hydrogen (H2): circles in different sizes, each surrounding the chemical molecular formula of hydrogen, H2

Since the middle of 2021, the energy programme has been strengthened by the addition of a project on what is called green hydrogen. Under this additional project, the Brazilian partners are being advised on how they can improve the legal and institutional environment in the energy sector. Studies and conferences are enabling increased exchange of expertise and experience.

Furthermore, Brazilian universities are being supported via the establishment of laboratories and scholarship programmes, and through exchange with German research institutions. The practical application of green hydrogen is being promoted through pilot projects.

Sustainable cities for climate action and inclusive development

The share of Brazil's population living in urban areas has been steadily growing over the last few years and is currently 87 per cent. There is huge potential in the cities for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and for sustainable infrastructure development.

Sustainable social housing, urban mobility, and water supply and sanitation are the central focus of activities here. For instance, the BMZ is supporting the Brazilian government and the private sector in making use of potential for saving electricity in the context of urban development. With an architecture competition, for example, new prototypes for social housing have been developed that have better energy efficiency and thus help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Tram stop in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilien
Tram stop in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilien

In order to improve living conditions in cities and make a contribution to climate change mitigation, Germany is also supporting the development of local public transport in Brazil. Measures supported by the BMZ have included funding provided via KfW for the light railway system in Rio de Janeiro and for the underground system in Salvador de Bahia. Cooperation in the area of sustainable urban development is to be expanded in the future.

As at: 19/01/2023