For the effective expansion of low-carbon technologies, policies and regulations must be transparent – and send the right information and signals to keep markets fair and competitive.
Unintentional obstacles to market development must be removed. Risk must be reduced. Encouragement for renewables must be built in at multiple levels – from planning permission to tax regimes.
And a supportive regulatory environment will include aspects beyond renewables technology – such as encouraging energy efficiency.
BEP will focus on all these areas of policymaking and regulation, to consider refinements specific to each low-carbon technology.
An important reason for expanding low-carbon energy is to reach parts of society that have problems of access to current energy sources or can’t afford them.
Renewable energy can provide more decentralized – localized – energy where local communities have more capacity to operate and price their energy supply to reflect their own priorities.
Even in remote and poor areas, Brazil has close to full access to energy. But many parts of society stand to benefit from expansion of low-carbon technologies. And BEP plans to talk to them.
A wide range of stakeholders will be involved. Governments and associations, utilities and environmental groups, businesses, professional organisations and international experts.
In particular, women. There is a lot of potential to empower women when planning and control move to more decentralized levels that involve cooperation across communities.
Gender equality and inclusion will be a factor across all BEP initiatives and should serve as a model for future projects as well. The concept behind BEP is to form partnerships and share information on the efficient use of clean energy technologies so that women and vulnerable populations will be closely involved. BEP is designed to include these groups in all parts of the programme - on technical or management teams of pilot projects, as well as in consultations about improving the regulatory environment for clean technologies. Inclusion is a key selection criteria for pilots and the choice of partners, and inclusion indicators have been developed to monitor progress.
BEP will look at improvements to the regulatory environment and conduct pilot projects to test technical, financial and social viability for a range of innovative low-carbon technologies:
Huge volumes of agricultural waste in Brazil can be transformed into biogas for use in farm vehicles, creating a circular economy. Municipal solid waste is an important potential fuel but regulation and financing mechanisms need to be reformed, and there is still lack of awareness and access to technology.
Brazil has developed a strong market in biodiesel but there is much scope to extend into new regions and bring small farmers into the supply chain and increase inclusiveness.
A systemic approach will combine the expansion of solar energy with the technology and behaviour that promote the most adapted and efficient use of energy. Smart grids can lower consumption and allow for tariff reforms to make energy more affordable – for example through time-of-use tariffs. More can be done to promote efficiency through standards and labelling.
Offshore wind is the fast-growing source of renewable energy in Brazil, rising from negligible amounts to 9% of national power generation in a decade. The best potential for expansion is in the Northeast, one of the poorest regions of Brazil. More work on costing and adapting the regulatory environment is needed so that offshore wind energy can realize its full potential.
Natural gas, one of the cleaner non-renewable sources, can be used to support renewables by creating a bridge to the expansion of biofuels or by filling in when there are shortfalls in the intermittent supply of renewables such as solar or wind energy. This would be a new way of using natural gas in Brazil