Last week, I spent some time visiting my wife’s family in Recife (northern Brazil). While there, I spent some time checking out where they are on the path to electrifying transportation and greening their electrical grid. Brazil has the 12th largest economy in the world, just behind South Korea and Russia and just above Australia and Spain. It hasn’t really been a leader in the transition to sustainable energy, but there are some recent developments that could give us hope that that will change. In the recent presidential election on October 30, the Brazilian “Bernie Sanders” Lula da Silva narrowly defeated the Brazilian “Trump” and current president Jair Bolsonaro. Lula is expected to be more aggressive at protecting the Amazon rainforest from deforestation, the biggest source of carbon in the country. Encouragingly, in Brazil, both candidates supported offshore wind, which has a lot of potential in northern Brazil! It will be great when we get that sort of bipartisan support for solar and wind in the US.
Pictures from Brazil with Some Commentary
BYD will be much more competitive in the future when it begins building cars in Brazil, avoiding the tariffs and shipping costs as well as possibly gaining local subsidies for bringing jobs to areas that Ford has recently abandoned.
I’ve been to Brazil 7 times since 1989, and the country has always proven to be innovative in its auto production. For a time, Brazil thought that ethanol from sugarcane was the answer. Then they had many high-use vehicles convert to propane to reduce running costs. Now, it looks like the combination of low-cost solar and wind (in combination with great hydroelectric resources) will allow them to dramatically lower the cost of electricity from about 20 cents a kWh to 10 cents/kWh or even lower over the next decade or so. Building electric cars in Brazil or importing them from countries they have free trade agreements with will greatly lower the cost of electric vehicles. This will help them to electrify their transportation.
I don’t have much insight into the rainforest situation, since that isn’t discussed much by the people I interacted with on this trip. I have an upcoming trip to the southern part of Brazil. If I discover more information, I’ll write another article on what I learn.
Disclosure: I am a shareholder in Tesla [TSLA], BYD [BYDDY], Nio [NIO], XPeng [XPEV], and Hertz [HTZ]. But I offer no investment advice of any sort here.
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Former Tesla Battery Expert Leading Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Era — Podcast:
I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...