Brazil and the IEA have established ever closer co-operation since 2006, including the signature of bilateral work programmes at the IEA Ministerial meetings in 2011 and 2013 that set out the main activities for the following two-year periods. Key joint achievements include the joint publication of the Global Hydropower Technology Roadmap and the Special Section on Brazil in the World Energy Outlook 2013.
WEO Special Section on Brazil (2013)
Brazil’s energy policy choices and achievements measure up well against some of the world’s most urgent energy challenges. A concerted policy effort has meant that access to electricity is now almost universal across the country. Almost 45% of primary energy demand is met by renewable energy, making Brazil’s energy sector one of the least carbon-intensive in the world. Total primary energy demand has doubled in Brazil since 1990, led by strong growth in electricity consumption and in demand for transport fuels on the back of robust economic growth and a burgeoning middle class.
Large hydropower plants account for around 80% of domestic electricity generation, giving the electricity system a great deal of operational flexibility. Continued expansion of hydropower is increasingly constrained by the remoteness and environmental sensitivity of a large part of the remaining resource, although 20 GW of hydropower capacity is under construction in the Amazon region. Reliance on other sources for power generation is growing, notably natural gas, wind and bioenergy. A system of contract auctions provides a mechanism to bring forward investment in new generation and transmission capacity, as well as to diversify the power mix.
Large offshore oil and gas discoveries have confirmed Brazil’s status as one of the world’s foremost oil and gas provinces. The "pre-salt" discoveries also prompted a change in upstream regulation, granting Petrobras – the national oil company – a strengthened role in areas deemed strategic. Production from the deepwater pre-salt fields in the Santos basin has started but not yet gained sufficient momentum to offset declining output from mature fields elsewhere. Brazil’s oil output has levelled out at just above 2 mb/d since 2010, and pre-salt growth will be essential to re-attain the objective of net self-sufficiency in oil and to pave the way for Brazil to become a major oil exporter.