Escolhas releases publication about the Brazilian electrical matrix

Aim of the study is to understand the impact of electricity generation sources on the economy and emissions

The Escolhas Institute has released the executive summary of a study, Impacts of Changes in the Brazilian Electrical Matrix, which seeks to understand the impact of different electricity generation scenarios on the economy, employment, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Brazil. The study shows that the option for an electric matrix focused on renewable sources brings net positive impacts to the economy in the medium and long term.

According to Sérgio Leitão, Director of Relations with the Society of the Escolhas Institute, the electricity sector is a major emitter of GHG throughout the world. He explains that, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), electricity and heat generation accounted for approximately 25% of global emissions in 2010. “In Brazil, this scenario accounted for 7% of emissions in 2014, but participation by sources that release carbon are increasing in the national electricity matrix”, explains Leitão. However, Brazil’s NDC (commitments to the Climate Convention), proposes a transition to an energy matrix with a greater share of renewable energy by 2030. “It is in this sense that the study, based on the Energy Scenarios Platform (PCE), organized by Avina, seeks to understand the impact of different scenarios”, adds Leitão.

Within the context of climate change it is, therefore, possible to point out the strong connection with the electricity sector. Two of the country’s recent major electrical crises (2001 and 2015) were consequences of a lack of rainfall combined with a lack of planning. While hydroelectric plants continue to present social and environmental challenges, nuclear accidents increase costs with their safety. “Because of this, technological advances will be needed in wind and solar generation so that these energies may gain even more competitiveness in the country, contributing to the fulfillment of Brazil’s NDC goals in the context of the COP-21”, says Leitão.

Other important issues, such as the current geopolitics, also bring new challenges and it is hoped that with incentives given by the government for the development of new clean technologies, it will be possible to determine the future of energy generation in the country. The study points out that between 2011 and 2014, Brazil’s domestic electricity supply grew by 11%, from 531 TWh to 591 TWh. A notable feature during that period was the reduction in the share of hydroelectricity, which decreased by 12.8% in the period (from 428 TWh to 373 TWh). This reduction can be attributed the prolonged period of drought in some regions of Brazil and the delay in the start-up of new hydroelectric plants.

Main impacts

According to data from the study, the transition to an electrical matrix with fewer emissions necessarily requires greater investment. In this manner, the impacts of energy efficiency scenarios drive the economy further. Concerning GDP and employment generation, the effects of the scenarios on the economy presented in the study are directly linked to the level of investment required to achieve them.

All the scenarios in 2030 and 2050 point to a higher growth in GDP and the level of employment. Moreover, as the level of investment increases, the impacts on the economy are greater. As far as emissions are concerned, all the scenario builders anticipate falls in GHG emissions in the long term.


The PCE scenarios were inserted by the Escolhas Institute into an input-output matrix for the Brazilian economy, with 2014 as the base year. This methodology allows the estimation of potential changes in production, employment and GHG emissions as a result of the investments required to generate the electricity matrices proposed by the scenario builders.

Each scenario builder presented two proposals with their corresponding estimated impacts, one for a Business as Usual (BAU) scenario and the other for a scenario that reflected an Energy Efficiency Factor (EEF). The projection horizon of the scenarios was 2050, based on 2014 values, and the results were released in 2015.

Four teams participated in the construction of the PCE, including: the Alberto Luiz Coimbra Institute for Graduate Studies and Research in Engineering at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Coppe/UFRJ), the Charitable Association of the Coal Industry of Santa Catarina (SATC), with Support of the Brazilian Coal Mineral Association (ABCM), Technological Institute of Aeronautics (ITA), and Greenpeace Brazil.

The publication can be found here.