Sustainable Industry

Energy Transition

Energy efficiency practices and renewable sources will have an increasingly relevant participation in industrial activities in Brazil and worldwide

Brazil’s energy sector stands out for the significant share of renewable sources in its energy mix, which is the case of just a few other countries in the world. This means that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of energy consumed in Brazil are small compared to other countries.

Brazil’s performance is unparalleled in the electricity front. The 2020 National Energy Balance provides the following breakdown of the Brazilian electricity mix: renewable sources accounted for 83% of the country’s electricity mix, with hydro generation corresponding to 64.9% of this total; wind, 8.6%; biomass, 8.4%, and solar, 1%.

Renewable energy sources account for 48.4% of Brazil’s energy mix. By way of comparison, renewable sources represent only 19.7% of the European Union’s energy mix, 11% of that of OECD countries, and 13.8% worldwide. ​​​​

Brazil, however, still has a long way to go before it reaches socioeconomic standards that are comparable to those of developed countries, in particular in relation to per capita energy consumption, which is expected to increase by 2030.

The challenge will be to keep up with the current share of renewable energies, mainly due to extreme weather events that should affect the water reservoirs used for hydro generation.

Although the Brazilian industrial sector accounts for approximately 21% of the country’s GDP, the 4th National Communication of Brazil to the United Nations Framework Convention shows that it is only responsible for 6.4% of Brazil’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (disaggregated from the energy mix).

In this regard, the low intensity of GHG emissions from energy use in the industrial sector deserves special notice. Brazil had an emission intensity of 139.93 tons of CO2 per million US$ of GDP, while France, Argentina and the USA reported 145.85, 246.12 and 374.88 tons, respectively.

And, within the BRICS countries, the Brazilian edge is even more pronounced, as the average emission intensity of the countries in this group is 476.39 tons, while for Russia and China it stands at 590.72 and 638.64 tons, respectively.

This and other comparisons are included in a CNI publication based on data from the World Resources Institute (WRI) 2010.

Under the Paris Agreement, Brazil proposed a 37% reduction in its GHG emissions by 2025 and an indicative contribution of 43%, in addition to additional actions related to renewable energy and energy efficiency. The following actions are also expected:

achieving an estimated share of 45% of renewable energies in the energy mix by 2030 through increased use of wind, biomass, solar and biofuels;

expanding the consumption of biofuels so that the share of sustainable bioenergy in the energy mix approaches 18% by 2030;

supporting new standards of clean technologies and bolstering actions related to energy efficiency and low carbon infrastructure in the industrial sector.

According to the Emissions Gap Report, among the G20 countries, only Brazil and two other countries are on track to meet their goals.

Thus, despite presenting numerous challenges, this scenario provides a lever of opportunities for new energy solutions with a view to enhancing industrial competitiveness and expanding the economy.

To this end, it is important that the public policies to be developed support a positive and structuring agenda by seeking to reconcile the principles of environmental integrity with the cost-effectiveness of the actions to be adopted. The objective is to ensure the sectors realize their potential, output and employment are boosted and efficiency is expanded.