On the second day of DNV KEMA’s 5th Annual Utility of the Future Leadership Forum, two panels focused on leading and managing power utilities in two separate scenarios; the first being functioning in the slow or flat economy, and the second in a growth economy. As DNV KEMA has a strong presence in Brazil—a country that represents the second scenario—Brazilian CEOs Ricardo Perez Botelho, Energisa, and Marcos Aurelio Madureira da Silva, Eletrobas, were invited to lead a session on leading changes and sustainability initiatives in regions with economic and demand growth.
Mr. Botelho spoke about Brazilian grid size, comparing the current 106,000 kilometers of transmission lines with the European grid. He also mentioned that Brazil is forecasted to add an additional 34,000 kilometers in the next 10 years. I’d like to provide a little background on the Energisa Group. The company has assets in generation (small hydro, wind, thermal, and biomass power plants) and in distribution (including five companies with 2.4 million customers), and had an annual net revenue of $1.45 billion in 2011—with 94% coming from the distribution business. These numbers are a reflection of the annual customers growth average is 4.4% in the last six years. Additionally, the annual consumption growth average in the residential class represents 7.4% in the same period. It is the same reality for other distribution companies in Brazil that had 72.7 million customers supplied by 63 distribution companies in February 2012.
Other areas of the Energisa Group have also shown huge improvements. SAIDI, for example, decreased from 14.6 hours to 10.2 hours and no technical losses decreased from 5.3% to 2.8% in the Energisa Group. Mr. Botelho also empasized Energisa’s average consumption, comparing its 1,360 kWh to Brazil’s yearly consumption average of 2,100 kWh. This is a small consumption when compared with US and European customers, and these numbers add a huge challenge to implement Smart Grid in Brazil. To synthesize his presentation he stated that they don’t want to replicate the US, rather the idea is to develop a Smart Grid to reflect Brazilian characteristics and to attend to their main necessities: improving reliability, operational efficiency, and combat technical losses.
Mr. Madureira gave an overview of Eletrobas, indicating that it is the largest company in the Latin America energy sector, controlling 35.6% of Brazil’s installed generation capacity (41,621 MW), and 53.1% of the country’s installed transmission capacity (above 230 kV). Eletrobras’s 2011 net revenue was $16.4 billion, with EBITDA equal to $3.5 billion.
One of Eletrobas’ main projects involve interconnecting Manaus city (Amazon State capital) with the national transmission grid (the last region in the country that is isolated), to replace the energy supplying via a thermal power plant. Mr. Madureira is responsible for seven distribution companies with roughly six million customers, considering CELG was recently integrated by Eletrobas.
Eletrobas’ top priorities in the electric grid are:
- Demand growth: building a grid that is able to host enough capacity for the rising demand for electricity
- Reducing losses: due to electricity theft, which typically occurs through illegal connections to the grid
- Providing energy for remote regions: especially using solar PV panels with excellent results
- Renewable energy sources integration: high potential of solar and wind energy in the concession area.
One of Eletrobas’ main projects involve interconnecting Manaus city (Amazon State capital) with the national transmission grid (the last large region that is still isolated), and to keep the energy supplying via a thermal power plant. In addition, other projects include the Parintins Project, which will provide full advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) functionality for 16,000 customers, as well as other projects focused on distribution automation (DA), the replacement of diesel generation by PV panels in the residential and small commercial consumers, and telecom systems.
The panel held a great discussion, which highlighted the main challenges in Brazil, and how to build a business model to equilibrate the costs and the benefits for the specific country reality. CPFL Energia managers, Mr. Vinicius Teixeira and Sebastião Pinho, from strategic and innovation areas, were also in attendance.
The forum also displayed many other interesting panels, as well as a challenging and interesting microgrid game, which allowed attendees to evaluate their abilities to find the best solution in a campus with many technologies and premises related with microgrids.
By: Luiz Rogério Varasquim, principal consultant, DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability
*DNV KEMA’s 5th Annual Utility of the Future Leadership Forum—Pathway to excellence—took place in Washington DC. The event focused on insights from leaders, and showcased a strong participation of CEOs and directors from utilities around US and Brazil, and is quickly becoming a significant reference for energy utilities in United States