BRASILIA — The Paris Climate Accord has brought the debate about climate change to the forefront. With U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent announcement to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, many countries have only resolved to fight climate change with a renewed vigor. The development of clean energy sources has had ubiquitous benefits across many countries, especially Brazil.
Even though Brazil is one of the top energy consumers in the world, more than 85 percent of the electricity generated in the country is renewable. Brazil is one of the leaders in biofuel technology and hydroelectric power, and is slowly developing its solar power market.
The advent of renewable energy in Brazil has greatly helped improve infrastructure, generate employment opportunities, galvanize energy security, reduce carbon emissions and attract financial investment. With respect to international trade, Brazil has reaped its absolute advantage over renewable energy. The absolute advantage refers to the ability of a country to specialize and produce goods at lower costs per unit. As a result, there are many export avenues and opportunities presented by the growth of renewable energy in Brazil.
Despite Brazil’s recent political instability and more languid economic growth, the country’s renewable energy sector still continues to contribute significantly to its GDP. A predicted 24 million individuals will be employed in clean energy by 2030, with most from China, U.S., Brazil, India and Germany.
The inception of Brazil’s burgeoning renewable energy sector can be traced back to the oil price shock of the 1970s. The country tried to find alternatives to powering vehicles by experimenting with ethanol derived from sugar cane. As a result, Brazil soon grew to dominate the Latin American renewable energy market and become one of the largest producers of ethanol in the world, second only to the United States. Investment in renewable energy in Brazil escalated in 2014.
The Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) has played a pivotal role in bolstering clean and renewable energy in Brazil. It is currently aiding the development of a large-scale solar power generation project. The Climate Fund Project is one the central aspects of BNDES initiatives in Brazil and secures funding for objectives like urban mobility, sustainable cities, renewable energies and other pioneering and innovative projects. Consequently, Canadian Solar and EDF Energies Nouvelles are working in collaboration with BNDES to strengthen solar energy.
It is essential to galvanize policy frameworks so that renewable energy in Brazil may continue to advance in the coming years and remain competitive internationally. Brazil’s Senate recently approved the allocation of more than $750 million to improve the efficiency of renewable energy in Brazil.
Recently, Atlantic Renewable Energies — a company that has gained recognition for developing electric solar rooftop systems — will soon invest in renewable energy in Brazil. The company promotes sustainable development by building wind farms where the Human Development Index (HDI) is lower. In the long run, this will help create employment opportunities for the local people. This move will also help elevate the position of the wind energy sector in Brazil.
Lately, Brazil has been working towards seeking more cooperation and collaboration with other countries in its renewable energy market, especially with China expanding its renewable energy sector and the inception of its Belt and Road Initiative.
Moreover, Brazil is also seeking cooperation with Pakistan and maximizing the potential of its clean energy sources. The establishment of the Pakistan-Brazil Business Council (PBBS) helps Pakistan be better equipped to cater to its energy demands.
Overall, the exponential growth of renewable energy in Brazil will bolster the economy further and help secure a sustainable future for the country. It will spur more economic empowerment and create ripples of social progress that will uplift millions of individuals.
– Shivani Ekkanath