Posts Tagged ‘Brazil’

The Brazilian Smart Grid is Arriving in 2012

Saturday, April 16th, 2011 by Leticia Decker
Power Transmission Lines

Power Transmission Lines

The electric grid in Brazil is forecasted to beginning being modernized between 2012 and early 2013, according to IG, a Brazilian news website, with the set up of home smart meters. Aneel (the Brazilian Agency for the Electrical Energy) seeks to approve the regulation to make this change in the next few months. This is the first step in Brazil to implement a smart grid – the electric grid supporting energy micro-generation, its retail and several services related to high-quality information on electric use and supply.

With these new services the consumer can keep track daily and monthly of the energy bill. The Brazilian government hopes to save energy using home electricity management software. Aneel will change the price based on the time of the day, making the all system more efficient.

There are some pilot projects, like AES Eletropaulo’s (one of the Brazilian energy providers) that is running a trial with with 2000 houses.

Smart Meter

Smart Meterhouses in the Ipiranga neighborhood, São Paulo. There is a similar project in Parintins, and also one by Cemig (another provider) in Sete Lagoas city, located in the Minas Gerais state.

The next steps include introducing electrical micro-generation in the grid using solar and wind energy, putting new consuming elements such as electrical vehicles and smart appliances into the grid, and introducing a new electricity business model, allowing anyone to produce, to sell and to buy these resources when necessary. In Brazil, this model is called “net zero” home: it involves smart appliances, car charging and control centres, and the required communication and management systems supporting the new scenario. The government will give incentives to encourage consumers to buy smart devices and to save more electricity.

However, changing to the new grid isn’t cheap: it was estimated about 150 euros for each smart meter (the new device that will measure energy consumption). And this isn’t the entire cost: it is necessary to change a lot of power transmission elements and distribution lines in the grid infrastructure. It is hoped that this investiment wouldn’t be paid by the consumers, since other costs can be reduced, like maintenance and human support, offsetting the needed investment.

Brazil, Blackout and Smart Grid

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 by Leticia Decker
In dark and light blue, there are, respectively, the Brazilian states affected and partially affected by the blackout. In red, there is a substation Luiz Gonzaga.

In dark and light blue, there are, respectively, the Brazilian states affected and partially affected by the blackout. In red, there is the Luiz Gonzaga substation.

In the night between last Thursday and Friday a blackout took place over 8 states in the north-east of Brazil, according to  BBC and G1 (the news site of the biggest television station in Brazil). Edison Lobão, Brazilian Minister of Mines and Energy, said it was probably caused by a fault originated in the Luiz Gonzaga substation (located in the city of Jatobá, state of Pernambuco). Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff took some decisions to handle the situation. It was announced that Rousseff wants greater accuracy in maintaining the network by the energy agencies, and better supervision of the power grid by ANEEL – National Agency of Electrical Energy in Brazil. Some of these affected states include cities hosting the 2014 Football World Cup matches, but according to Edison Lobão there is no reason to be concerned, because the system is “good although it has some faults”, like every big system.

If energy in Brazil were managed through a smart grid, the impact of blackouts would be much less. One of the advantages of moving to a smart grid is to survive different kinds of localized network failures, such as those which happened in Brazil last week. With sensors and smart meters, it is possible to identify problems when they occur and take the right decision to solve or minimize their impact. Redirecting energy from/to alternative routes could be a solution to this problem and it can be possible in the new grid.

Blackouts are more common than most people imagine. In 2003 there was a memorable one in Italy, affecting all the country except the islands of Sardinia and Capri. It lasted for about 12 hours, also affecting part of Switzerland near Geneva for 3 hours. Also in 2003, the second biggest blackout in history left about 55 million people in darkness in the north-east of U.S. and south-east of Canada. But the record is the 1999 Brazilian Blackout, which is estimated to have affected between 75 to 97 million people.

Changing to a new network architecture requires a large investment. Nowadays, Brazil has about 63 million consumer units and just changing the measurement devices to smart meters represents a spending of 7.5 to 19 billion dollars. However, even though the smart metering isn’t enough to transform the network into a smart grid, it may be a first step since it should increase the consumer ability to better manage the electricity bill and her electrical devices from remote, thus helping in decreasing the load on the network.