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Energy Efficiency - Brazil and Emerging Countries

Publicado por focs em 17/06/2015 às 08h59

This second analysis, on how Brazil stands regarding economic growth and energy related parameters, compares data from other emerging countries: Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Poland.

Considering the period from 2003 to 2013, only the Mexican economy grew less than Brazil’s. Argentina and Chile have experienced the greatest growth rates, benefiting from the rise of commodities’ prices. Poland has also kept steady economic growth, initially as a result of entering the EU in 2004 and lately thanks to Germany’s economic recovery.


When it comes to energy, Argentina has been facing enormous challenges to face her economic growth. According to the IAE (Instituto Argentino de la Energia) the energy balance has been constantly negative for the last years.

Chile’s also facing various difficulties. According to the Technical Committee of the 2030 Energy Scenarios Platform, the gas crisis in Argentina in the early 2000’s and the drought in the early 2010’s has led the country to adopt an energy grid with “high economic impacts, negative environmental impacts and increasing social rejection.”

Poland, the only European country on this study, heavily relies on electricity produced by coal power plants (over 80%). Its main challenge on the energetic field consists on lowering its GHG emissions, as the Polish government receives constant pressure to adhere to EU climate and energy policies.

Mexico has recently approved a new energy reform in December 2013, in order to face high electricity rates, limitations on electricity production and scarce renewable energy sources.

Finally, Brazil has been facing difficulties on different fronts, which has brought disastrous consequences to the energy sector and the environment: high increase on energy consumption, intense government interference, long dry periods. One of the side effects is the increased participation of thermal plants to generate electricity and brutal adjustments on electricity bills.


Although the Brazilian economic growth was only the second lowest over the period 2003 to 2013, the growth rate of primary energy consumption was by far the highest. We used a lot more energy to produce considerably less.

As our demand for energy increased, our GHG emission also increased. When we compare Brazil and Poland, the discrepancy is absurd. Poland experienced a higher economic growth, lower pressures on energy consumption demand and almost no increase on GHG. Brazil, on the other hand, had a poorer economic performance, the highest growth rate on energy consumption and an incredible increase of GHG emission.


As a result of our lack of effective strategy for the energy sector, we have the worst results on energy efficiency. It’s important to remember that Brazil is the country with the highest share of renewable sources on electricity production and enormous potential to increase it further, with the use of solar and wind generation.


Energy intensity is measured by the quantity of energy required per unit output or activity, so that using less energy to produce a product reduces the intensity (US Dept. of Energy). In our case, we considered the relationship between primary energy consumption and GPD on national currency.

Brazil is the only country that has a positive growth rate of energy intensity over that period. We have consistently consumed more energy to produce less economic results.

There’s an urge to deploy energy efficiency measures and policies in order to revert this perilous scenario!



This is the second post of a series, taking a look on the relationship between economic growth, primary energy consumption and CO2 emissions, from 2003 to 2013. The intention is to demonstrate how Brazil stands compared to other countries, based on data from the International Monetary Fund and British Petroleum.


Publicado em 11/abr/2015


Categoria: Energia, Sociedade
Tags: consumo, eficiência, energia fóssil, energias renováveis

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