23 de novembro de 2021

COP26 and the journey of energy transition


My generation followed, with great expectation, a good part of the 29 years that passed from the historic ECO92, in Rio de Janeiro, to the long-awaited COP26 in which I participated in person. Among the reflections I bring from this time frame, the main finding is that of moral evolution. Beyond the consensus that we need to move forward with effective measures to contain the increase in temperature on the planet, I realize that we are increasingly involved in a transformation that should lead us to a clean energy future.

Yes, you and I are already part of this irreversible and unpostponable movement. How long have we chosen light bulbs, appliances, electronics, and automobiles, considering energy efficiency as the main factor? Have you noticed how cell phone batteries are becoming more efficient? And what about your Bluetooth speaker of yours, which plays almost all day without the need to recharge? And your car battery, which has a much longer lifespan than 20 years ago?

These are typical examples of advances that we absorbed and changed our way of dealing with electrical energy. But the evolutionary leap that we need to take will have to resolve the two most sensitive aspects of this relationship: availability and price. And there is no more favorable scenario for us to understand this issue than the moment we are experiencing in Brazil, which is also part of the intense global discussions of energy shortages and high tariffs.

The energy transition was the main topic at COP26. What is at stake is not just preventing the average temperature on the planet from rising by not using fossil fuels in the production of electricity. Another goal of this process is to make clean technologies ensure energy availability at a balanced price. But what is Brazil’s position in this necessary and unpostponable transformation scenario?

During COP26, SPIC Brasil held two exhibitions at the Blue Zone, an environment in which negotiations took place involving delegates from 197 countries and organizations. In these opportunities, we detail how the company will continue to ensure the country has the necessary renewable energy supply through projects in operation or technologies under development.

In one of the panels, we presented a case study on the impact of the energy transition on the growth of the Brazilian economy. Did you know that the country’s Northeast region already produces more than 13,800 MW from wind turbines? It’s enough power to meet all the demand in that region. The two wind farms operated by SPIC Brasil in the state of Paraíba contribute to this scenario. While we are having this conversation, the Northeast has likely broken another record in the photovoltaic generation, which has already surpassed 2,600 MW.

These are significant achievements, but our capacity to innovate has already gone to the next chapter of the energy transition: hydrogen. Hydrogen is increasingly used as fuel for engines and generating energy, but its production is still predominantly made using non-renewable sources. We are already evolving in producing the so-called green hydrogen, that is, in obtaining this fuel from the electrolysis of water, a process that can become fully sustainable.

Green hydrogen will drastically reduce emissions from public and road transport, where using electric motors with technology similar to that of passenger vehicles is not viable. In this sense, we took an important step with a partnership involving an investment of 20 million BRL in research and development, with the Eletrobras Electric Energy Research Center and the State Power Institute, SPIC’s technology arm in China.

Countries like Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, and China are already tapping into ambitious green hydrogen projects. Our expansion plan for the next five years includes investments in green hydrogen, wind, solar, and smart energy. For now, I invite you to learn more and more about the innovations that are transforming the Brazilian electricity sector and follow the internal discussions in Brazil related to the regulation of these new technologies for energy generation.

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