Interview: Ricardo Gorini and Jeferson Soares, of EPE
Empresa de Pesquisa Energética (EPE) is directly involved in the support studies for the Energy Efficiency Action Plan, coordinated by the Ministry of Mines and Energy. Its objective is to prepare the energy efficiency actions that the Brazilian government intends to implement in order to achieve or even surpass the goals established for the energy sector. iCS is an EPE partner in a series of events and workshops to assist in the preparation of the Action Plan, and the International Workshop “The Role of Energy Efficiency in the Brazilian Low Carbon Economy”, held in September 2016, was the first in this series of meetings.
Please find below an exclusive interview with Ricardo Gorini, Director of Economic, Energy and Environmental Studies, and Jeferson Soares, Superintend of Economic and Energy Studies, both of EPE.
What are the plans and main activities of EPE in 2017?
In addition to our traditional products, such as the Ten-Year Energy Plan (PDE), the National Energy Balance (BEN), the Market Monitoring (electricity reviews, energy and fuel status bulletins etc.), to name a few, in 2017 EPE is involved in support studies for the Energy Efficiency Action Plan, coordinated by the MME (Ministry of Mines and Energy). We are also actively involved in the discussion for the implementation of the Brazilian commitments in the fight against climate change, coordinating actions in the energy sector, within the framework of the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change.
In the institutional arena, EPE is involved in the “Gás para Crescer”, “RenovaBio” and “Combustível Brasil” initiatives, launched by the MME, with the objective of raising investments and developing markets such as natural gas, biofuels and refining/supply of byproducts, respectively.
How does the EPE see the relationship between the climate issue and the generation of electricity in Brazil?
The contribution of the Brazilian electricity sector to climate change in relative terms is rather small, and this is due to the high degree of renewability of our electricity matrix, due to the participation of hydroelectric, wind and biomass generation and, in a more recent movement, the penetration of solar photovoltaic sources.
According to the country’s future plans, by reducing the contribution of land use to greenhouse gas emissions, the relative contribution of the electricity generation sector tends to increase. Still, looking forward, this sector in Brazil is still expected to have a low global relevance in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, which is great for Brazil. In spite of this aspect, Brazil has undertaken the commitment to take certain actions in the energy sector, especially in the electricity sector, in order to increase the participation of other renewable sources (wind, biomass and solar), in addition to enabling the expansion of hydroelectric plants in the long term, which play an important role in enabling the penetration of higher percentages of intermittent sources of electricity generation.
And there is also the issue of fuels. In this case, it is also relevant to highlight the high presence of renewables in our matrix, represented by ethanol. Medium and long-term actions aim at, at least, maintaining the share of renewables in the energy matrix. And for that the role of energy efficiency is vital.
EPE has held three events with the iCS (the first being the International Energy Efficiency Workshop, which was the largest one), and the next one will be held soon. How important are these events to you and how do you see iCS’s contribution to EPE’s work?
These events are part of the strategy to elaborate studies to support the Brazilian Energy Efficiency Action Plan, as part of the implementation of the Brazilian commitment to combat climate change. In addition to the role of collecting information and discussing proposals to accelerate the achievement of energy efficiency in Brazil, these events also aim to establish actions to open a channel for dialogue with agents and society on the topic of energy efficiency. In this sense, the contribution of the iCS has been fundamental in providing the EPE with technical and logistical support for such events, which are expected to continue throughout 2017.
EPE is involved in the Energy Efficiency Action Plan at the request of the Ministry of Mines and Energy. What are your expectations for the plan, its importance in the national scenario and the forecast for its conclusion?
EPE is involved in the development of support studies for the Energy Efficiency Plan of the MME. The expectation of the plan is to provide society with an instrument that addresses the actions intended by the Brazilian government to implement efficiency actions to allow reaching or even exceeding the goals that Brazil has established for its energy sector in terms of energy efficiency. In this regard, the challenge is enormous and the importance is also great, since the plan is expected to present structural activities in this field, including possible actions, expected gains for society, associated financing and instruments for their implementation.
The ongoing studies will continue to take place during 2017.
How can the power sector contribute to the achievement of the Brazilian NDC goals?
In the governmental field, actions are being developed to make the commitments made during COP 21 feasible. This involves, for example, the Energy Efficiency Action Plan, the Distributed Generation Incentive Program (VRES-GD), actions to make hydroelectric use viable, among others. But additional actions must be undertaken and the Brazilian government is committed to meeting those goals. On the other hand, the private sector can contribute enormously by participating in this debate, collaborating with suggestions for the implementation of actions and creating financing instruments for energy efficiency and distributed generation, for example. The fulfillment of the Brazilian NDC goals involves the entire society and relies on it as a whole.
The iCS operates in three priority portfolios, one of them being power. How does EPE see the role of an organization such as iCS, which is predominantly a grantmaker, in Brazil?
Institutions such as the iCS have an important role to play as they contribute to the discussion of topics of interest to society in general and also to the implementation of these topics. The participatory process is fundamental and enriches the studies of power planning and its implementation. Institutions such as the iCS facilitate relationships with different stakeholders and experts, enhancing the quality and effectiveness of discussions and decisions.