EIA report summarizes Brazil’s energy sectors

By Sue Retka Schill | October 14, 2015

The Energy Information Agency recent released a report on Brazil’s energy sector, noting that the South American country is the 8th largest total energy consumer and 9th largest liquid fuels producer in the world. Renewable energy sources, including hydropower and biomass, accounted for slightly less than 40 percent of Brazil’s energy supply in 2014, a decrease of 0.5 percent from 2013.

In the section on biofuels, EIA says total biofuel production in 2014 was 16.7 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe), a 5.5 percent increase from 2013. The country’s 2014 ethanol production grew 4 percent in 2014 compared to 2013, setting a new record at 492,844 barrels per day. Exports in 2014 were down 52 percent from the previous year. Ethanol exports to the U.S. represented just over half of total Brazilian ethanol exports.

Ethanol imports, nearly all from the U.S., were down 243 percent from 2013. Though the country is a major ethanol producer, EIA noted there are several factors in its continuing imports: “Historically, droughts in Brazil have forced the country to import ethanol, mostly from the United States. Additionally, if sugarcane is not quickly processed into ethanol, the crop is prone to rot. The seasonality of sugarcane harvests leaves Brazil with a January-to-March off-season. In Brazil, ethanol production is also highly sensitive to commodity prices. For example, because sugarcane is used for ethanol production, high sugar prices may entice producers to switch to sugar production instead of ethanol production.”

In the electricity section, the report states that Brazil had an installed generating capacity of 134 MW in 2014, representing a 7.2 MW expansion from 2013, according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy. Hydroelectricity accounted for 89.2 MW of generating capacity, fossil fuel sources 25.5 MW, biomass 12.3 MW, and small amounts from wind, nuclear, and solar made up the remainder. Brazil also had 5.9 MW of contracted imports, bringing the total power supply to 139.8 MW, according to the report.

The EIA report on Brazil covers all energy sectors, also including overviews of the oil, natural gas and electricity sectors. View the entire report here.