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Brazil aims to pass offshore wind, green hydrogen laws by year-end, energy minister says – Reuters

Brazil's Mines and Energy Minister, Alexandre Silveira, attends a news conference in Brasilia, Brazil February 28, 2023.
Brazil’s Mines and Energy Minister, Alexandre Silveira, attends a news conference in Brasilia, Brazil February 28, 2023. (Adriano Machado/Reuters)

Catarina Demony, Reuters

EnergiesNet.com 06 28 2023

Brazil aims to pass a regulatory framework for offshore wind and green hydrogen by the end of this year, the country’s energy minister told Reuters on Tuesday, as Latin America’s largest nation seeks to unlock new sectors to power its energy transition.

Leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has staked his international reputation on overhauling Brazil’s environmental credentials, which took a beating under his far-right predecessor, former President Jair Bolsonaro. Lula and his advisers have embraced the transition to a green economy as a focus of their state-driven development policies.

As part of those efforts, Energy Minister Alexandre Silveira highlighted an upcoming auction for transmission lines to transport solar and onshore wind energy from the country’s northeast to power stations down south. With a floor of 16 billion reais, the auction could unlock 200 billion reais ($41.79 billion) in investments, he said.

Currently, Brazil has no legislation in place to regulate offshore wind and green hydrogen. In early January, Brazil’s government issued a decree that opened space for the development of offshore wind power generation in the country. Some companies, such as Shell and Equinor, have shown interest.

“We believe that by the end of the year we will have a safe regulatory framework for offshore plants to present to the world,” Silveira said, explaining his ministry also hoped to have regulation in place for green hydrogen projects over the same time frame.

“Green hydrogen is a real possibility for us to greatly expand our position in clean and renewable energy,” he said.

Lula’s hopes for a green economy come as state-owned oil company Petroleo Brasileiro faces challenges to replenish its oil reserves.

Environmental regulators recently dashed Petrobras’ hopes of exploring near the Amazon River where it had aimed to make its first major domestic oil discovery in over a decade.

Silveira said he still believed it was important for Petrobras to explore the Foz de Amazonas, where the world’s largest river meets the Atlantic Ocean, as long as the company follows environment rules.

In the wake of that regulatory setback, Reuters reported that Petrobras may look abroad for future growth. Asked for his opinion, Silveira said that although the company still has “a lot to do in Brazil … nothing stops it from also having a world vision when it comes to its international strategy”.

Silveira said the government would make a decision on whether to restart works on the Angra 3 nuclear plant this year. The works, estimated at 20 billion reais, represent a “big challenge,” Silveira said, as the government must reconcile the need for energy security with likely higher costs for consumers.

($1 = 4.7856 reais)

Reporting by Catarina Demony and Miguel Pereira in Lisbon, Editing by Gabriel Stargardter and David Evans

reuters.com 06 272023

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