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Brazil’s Decarbonized Energy Sectors

G20 Spotlight on Brazil

Brazil has a clean electricity mix but is fossil fuel dependent in the energy sector. The electricity sector in Brazil is the largest in South America. Its capacity at the end of 2020 was 175 GW (growing from 11 GW in 1970 with an average yearly growth of 5.8% per year). Brazil has the largest capacity for water storage in the world, hydroelectricity meets over 70% of its electricity demand. The national grid is powered 80% from renewable sources (hydroelectricity, biofuels, wind power, etc.). [1]

Transport has become one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions from fuel use in Brazil. Data from the Climate Observatory show that the sector accounted for 47% of total energy emissions in 2019, with cargo transport accounting for 40% of this total. [2]

In Brazil, very interestingly, all political parties have continued the same renewable energy policy: cross party coalitions from PMDB [3] to PT [4] to PMDB again, and then to Bolsonaro. [5] Brazil’s National Climate Change Policy, enacted in December 2009, aims to promote the development of a Brazilian market for emissions reductions, as well as other goals. [6] At the end of 2020, Brazil announced the indicative goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2060. [7]

RenovaBio, the National Policy for Biofuels, was approved in 2017, establishing mandatory goals for the purchase of biofuels by fuel distributors. To achieve the targets, distributors must purchase specified volumes of certificates (CBIO), which represent emissions reductions related to the substitution of fossil fuels by biofuels. Trading of CBIOs began in June 2020. [8]


  3. Partido Movimento Democrático Brasileiro (Brazilian Democratic Movement)
  4. Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers’ Party)
  5. Kathy Hochstetler, Professor of International Development at LSE, statement from her latest book launch: “Political Economies of Energy Transition, Wind and Solar Power in Brazil and South Africa” 2021
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