Increasingly pressured by electricity costs, companies, large power consumers and even municipalities are betting on more efficient systems, more modern equipment and even their own power generation to remain competitive.
Enel Brasil invested almost R$89 million in 2021 in several projects that are part of its power efficiency program with concrete results. Liasa, an intensive industry that produces metallic silicon, has launched a plan to upgrade its furnaces and foresees an increase in efficiency of up to 10%.
On the manufacturers’ side, companies such as WEG and Onpower are being demanded for increasingly efficient equipment. Data from the 2030 Energy Expansion Ten-Year Plan by the Energy Research Company (EPE) show that power efficiency gains will reduce approximately 6% of the industry’s electricity in 2030.
The water crisis, high tax burdens and subsidies set precedents for a power efficiency investment agenda. In 2021, Enel Brasil, through its four distributors, invested R$88.8 million in projects that are part of its power efficiency program, obtaining as main results the service of approximately 331,000 beneficiaries, saving 62,257.81 MWh throughout the year and reducing end demand by 6,629.33 kW.
“In 2021, we invested more than R$88.8 million in projects supported by the program, with initiatives that combine economic benefits and positive effects for society and the environment. One of the highlights is the Public Call for Projects, held every year and which aims to benefit society as a whole. The Public Call projects achieve this vision of bringing power gains and making the services already offered by the beneficiary institutions more efficient, be they public, private or philanthropic,” says the Enel Brasil’s head of Sustainability, Marcia Massotti.
The industrial sector is perhaps most interested in power efficiency targets. The segment consumes approximately one third of the final electricity to service its production processes. Liasa expects to have a gain in production with the repowering of the furnaces. The company is an electro-intensive industry that produces metallic silicon and began to modernize its equipment in January.
“At the moment we consume 100 average megawatts (avgMW). The idea is to increase production by reducing the amount of energy per ton of silicon metal. The repowering of the ovens is likely to bring an increase in efficiency between 5% and 10%”, says the company’s head of Energy, Ary Pinto Ribeiro Filho.
If in the past the great attraction for industries to settle in Brazil was the availability, quality and price of electricity, over time those advantages were diluted and today the industry has difficulties in being competitive. The president of the Association of Large Energy Consumers and Free Consumers (Abrace), Paulo Pedrosa, says that companies have an ESG agenda, global commitments to emissions, in addition to competitiveness in the market.
“There is a movement of great interest towards power efficiency, such as the contracting of subsided power and self-production to seek competitiveness and meet this global agenda of commitments. Companies are also preparing for a carbon market, which will be a reality”.
What Mr. Pedrosa says is present in the Brazilian reality. A survey carried out in 2020 by the Instituto Clima e Sociedade (iCS) initiative coordinator, Kamyla Borges, with the ten companies with the highest scores in the Corporate Sustainability Index (ISE B3) showed that power efficiency is considered to meet environmental goals.
“Although most claim to implement efficiency measures, few [companies] were those that set specific goals to reduce electricity consumption or power intensity,” says the researcher.
In this high demand, manufacturers are surfing the good times. WEG has demands for performance improvement services, operation automation and equipment preventive maintenance. At Onpower, the demand is for more efficient generator sets. In 2021, the company had the biggest growing curve in sales since 2013. According to sales manager Fernando Lemos, the year was the best in history, with a growth of 92% compared to the previous year.
“We see a greater demand for natural gas and biogas machines, which is another mix. What we noticed is the lack of conductors and semiconductors in the market, an important input in the production chain”.
With an eye on efficiency gains, several cities are betting on partnerships with concessionaires for public lighting services. More than 50 business groups were interested in the sector. There are currently 56 Brazilian municipalities with public lighting service concession contracts for the private sector, with estimated investments of around R$18.3 billion.
According to the Brazilian Association of Private Public Lighting Concessionaires (ABCIP), 12% of the Brazilian public lighting park is being updated by private companies under public-private partnerships (PPP) regime. More than 400 projects are underway in the country, including about 220 municipalities that intend to form consortia.
“The modernization of public illumination parks with LED luminaires has generated savings of up to 70% in electricity consumption,” says Pedro Iacovino, president of ABCIP. “When the park is equipped with telemanagement resources, savings can exceed 80%”.
Source: Valor International