Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The country now gets more than 40 percent of its power supply from renewable sources.

Despite the economic difficulties Brazil is facing due to a political crisis, forecasts for the energy sector are optimistic. According to the Brazilian Electrical Energy Agency, investments in this segment for the next four years are expected to amount to about $13 billion.

Brazil has been investing in the latest technologies and innovations for solar, photovoltaic, wind and biomass energy development. Consumption of ethanol and renewable energy has increased considerably. Apart from having the technology, Brazil has another important resource to leverage the use of renewable energy: agribusiness, together with livestock, is a huge supplier of biomass for the generation of various forms of energy. According to the Brazilian Agribusiness Association, “we are seeing a revolution taking place in agribusiness with a new green economy.”

According to a Ministry of Mining and Energy study, the renewable energy sector within the Brazilian energy matrix grew from 39.4 percent in 2014 to 41.2 percent in 2015. Among energy sources, ethanol and sugarcane (bagasse) accounted for 41.1 percent, followed by hydroelectric power energy with 27.5 percent, wood and charcoal energy with 19.9 percent, biodiesel with 2.5 percent and wind energy with 1.5 percent. The large proportion of hydroelectric power and the significant use of biomass in the Brazilian energy matrix contributed to this increase, indicating lower carbon dioxide emission—less than the world's and developed countries' average emission.

Brazil is one of the countries with the biggest potential for solar energy in the world, with some of the highest levels of solar radiation in the planet, making the country fertile ground for investment, support and incentives for the development of solar energy. With these vast resources, together with advances in technologies and partnerships with Germany and Italy (which are the world’s first and second leading producers of solar energy technology), Brazil shows enormous potential for development in this segment.

Brazil is among the biggest producers of wind energy in the world, and installed wind capacity is forecast to reach 24,000 MW in 2024. Of this total, 21,000 MW will be generated in the north of Brazil. Wind energy has been the second most competitive source of energy since 2004, and is becoming the second-largest source in the energy matrix (after hydroelectric), having grown approximately 1,300 percent in recent years due to advances in technology, which diminished risks and reduced costs.

Biomass has been very low-cost; however, most of its processes are not efficient, and therefore the segment offers opportunities for both expansion and technology/process enhancement.

Brazil is a highly relevant country for any companies doing business in renewable energy.