Executive Director, Americas, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
August 04, 2022
A delegation of key Brazilian government and private sector stakeholders is headed to Washington, D.C. for the launch of the U.S.-Brazil Clean Energy Industry Dialogue (CEID) on August 18 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The new dialogue already exhibits a stamp of resilience: It was abruptly canceled in May due to a ministerial transition in Brazil but quickly rescheduled with the participation of U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm and the new Brazilian Minister of Mines and Energy Adolfo Sachsida. The successful rescheduling on the eve of general elections in Brazil is an indication that collaboration on clean energy supersedes the delicate political momentum and is a top priority for both countries.
Energy talks reenergized
Brazil and the U.S. have been collaborating on energy for the past four years within the scope of the U.S-Brazil Energy Forum (USBEF), which focuses on carbon and methane management, civil nuclear power, renewables, and energy efficiency. Amid today’s high global energy prices, supply chain instability, government policy, and the war in Ukraine, reenergizing bilateral discussions under this new dialogue is an urgent task – especially as COP27 is just two months away. Inspired by the success of the U.S.-Brazil Defense Industry Dialogue, the CEID embraces the formal participation of an important partner in advancing the energy transition – the U.S. and Brazilian private sectors.
Industry input will guide the first meeting, which will be hosted by the Brazil-U.S. Business Council and the Global Energy Institute – both parts of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and strategic partners in this initiative. U.S. and Brazilian industry experts are set to discuss priorities that include energy storage and grid modernization, offshore wind power, sustainable fuels, clean hydrogen, and carbon management. Brazil has much to contribute to the conversation as the country’s energy and electrical balance is composed of 47% and 85% renewables, respectively, while the U.S. offers its strengths in clean energy research, technology development, and deployment.
What’s on the table
Offshore wind energy is a common priority for these two continental countries, and there is fertile ground for a productive dialogue on this topic. Wind (albeit onshore) already plays an important role as a source of energy in diversifying Brazil’s energy grid, ranking second (13.4%) behind only hydropower (56.7%). Meanwhile, the U.S. contribution will come from the U.S. administration’s vision of wind as a key pillar of the U.S. clean energy agenda and its work towards the deployment of 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030.
Collaboration on sustainable fuels is also important for the dialogue. Brazil is known for having vehicles running on ethanol derived from sugarcane since the 1970s. On the other hand, U.S. industry, inspired by the U.S. administration’s ambitious goal to rapidly increase the production of sustainable aviation fuels by 2030, has a lot of knowledge to offer to Brazil and the Latin America region.
Clean hydrogen and carbon management are the newcomers: it is likely the first time the U.S. adds these topics to a formal industry-government dialogue. Clean hydrogen is also a novel priority issue for Brazil – the country has just published its 10-year Energy Plan with a new chapter on hydrogen, and it has also issued a national plan on hydrogen as part of a roadmap toward meeting the country’s commitments under the United Nations High-Level Dialogue on Energy.
Carbon management issues will revolve around monitoring, sequestration, storage, and mitigation, all of which are part of both countries’ conscious efforts to promote innovations to achieve their carbon neutrality commitments under the Paris Agreement.
The U.S. and Brazil are the largest energy producers and markets in their respective regions, which gives them a critical leadership role in advancing climate goals and ensuring energy security in the Western Hemisphere. This new dialogue is overdue as the U.S. and Brazil tackle the challenges of an era of energy transition. For it to succeed, it is essential that the private sector be a key contributor.
About the authors
Renata Brandão Vasconcellos
Renata Brandão Vasconcellos is Renata Vasconcellos is the Executive Director, Americas at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She leads the US-Cuba Business Council and is also responsible for most of the policy agendas of the Brazil-US Business Council.