Energy efficiency in Brazil

Energy Efficiency in Emerging Economies (E4) programme findings and work

Brazil’s energy system will be facing challenges in the years to come with a projected rise in GDP of 84%. However, by adopting the cost effective policies of the Efficient World Strategy, Brazil could keep emissions at today’s levels and save USD 9 billion in annual household expenditure on energy.

Improvements in energy efficiency since 2000 in Brazil saved 5% of additional energy use in 2017. Movement of economic activity from energy-intensive industry sectors to less-intensive manufacturing and service sectors, a structural change, reduced the impact of activity growth by 14%. This reduction would have reached 23% had Brazil not changed to less efficient modes of transport, increased appliance ownership, and increased building floor area.

Energy savings due to energy efficiency, Brazil, 2000-2017


Of the efficiency savings, 60% were achieved mostly in the industry and service sector. As a result, 4% additional coal and gas imports were prevented as were 15 MtCO2-eq in emissions. This is notable given that Brazil is one of the least carbon-intensive economies in the world due to its use of hydro for electricity and biofuels in transport.

Energy savings by sector in Brazil, EWS vs. NPS


Energy efficiency opportunities

From 2000 to 2017 energy demand rose by 53% in Brazil. However under the Efficient World Scenario, the increase could be limited to just 22% between today and 2040. This would save 2 EJ of additional energy compared to New Policies Scenario (NPS) and savings will mainly come from transport (49%) and industry (42%), followed by the buildings sector.

CO2 emissions in Brazil, EWS vs. NPS


The cost effective measures of the EWS would also contain CO2 emissions to current levels by 2040 even while GDP continues to rise.

Energy use covered by mandatory energy efficiency policies in Brazil


In 2017, 6% of final energy use was covered by mandatory energy efficiency policies. The introduction of building codes and appliance standards has increased the coverage in residential and non-residential buildings to 14% and 23% respectively. The minimal coverage in transport is due to the lack of mandatory fuel economy standards for cars and trucks.

The Efficient World Scenario opportunities could be unlocked in the transport sector through the improvement of fuel efficiency by 27% and an increase in the market share of EVs from 0% to 31%.

Fuel efficiency standards could also be a potential solution as average passenger vehicle efficiency in Brazil is still 24% lower than in the EU.

In the industry sector, savings are mainly in the pulp and paper, and iron and steel manufacturing sectors where energy intensity could improve by 40%. This could be achieved in the iron and steel sector with an increase in metal recycling and the use of electric arc furnaces. For example the recycling rate of scrap metal in Brazil is 20% compared with a rate of 58% in North America.

The E4 Programme is working with Brazil on supporting the development and review of the national energy efficiency action plan. This has included a national workshop on the role of energy efficiency in the further decarbonisation of Brazil's energy system and how it can support economic and social development, and a workshop on energy efficiency policies for Brazil to identify high-impact policies.

The E4 Programme has also conducted an energy efficiency training week for Latin American junior policymakers in Brazil, as well as conducting webinars in industry and buildings.