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UFSC launches the Center for Solar Energy Research and Training in Florianópolis

The activity was part of the activities of the Seminar Energia + Limpa (“Cleaner Energy”), organized by the Instituto Ideal

Expected to be operational as of July, the Center for Solar Energy Research and Training at the Federal University of Santa Catarina – Photovoltaic/UFSC, must meet one of the main demands to the dissemination of solar energy in Brazil: workforce qualification. Opened on June 1, in Florianópolis, as part of the activities of the 6th Seminar Energia + Limpa (“Cleaner Energy”), organized by the Instituto Ideal and UFSC, the Center is an unprecedented initiative in the state of Santa Catarina. It was built with the financial support of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI).

According to Professor Ricardo Rüther, from UFSC, who is ahead of the implementation of the Center, although there is a significant lack of trained professionals, solar energy is still the segment of renewable energy that creates more jobs worldwide. “In line with the constant search for solutions that make the tariff for solar energy more competitive, training is a condition for the advancement of renewable energies. No wonder that countries like India and the United States invest a great deal in this area, “says Rüther, who is also technical director of Instituto Ideal.
The Center started with a project in 2010, and it will integrate various photovoltaic technologies. Administration, classrooms, laboratories and workshops will be divided into two blocks. The building has a total capacity of 100KWp, and for full operation, the center will use only about 60% of the generated energy. “The rest will be distributed to UFSC’s main campus,” said the professor. About 25 students from the Photovoltaic UFSC Group, coordinated by Rüther, are already working on site, but in the future, four teachers and their teams will be able to use the Center as well.

Rüther also highlighted the project for a solar-powered bus, which is also supported by MCTI and should drive along the UFSC-Sapiens Parque route. “The vehicle will have room for meetings and Internet access.”

During the opening ceremony, the Secretary for Science and Technology for Social Inclusion (Secis) of MCTI, Eron Bezerra, stressed the importance of alternative energy and energy efficiency in the real context of sustainability and independence. “Sustainability is not the same as preservation. The days are numbered for countries that cannot guarantee their independence in the energy sector and do not look into developing renewable energy,” he said.

For the Secretary, teaching and research for development of technologies aligned to reality have great potential to ensure sustainability for the population. The role of the government, in this context, is to encourage research and develop projects. “For 2015, we have R$ 90 million available for funding, at a monthly 3.8% interest rate. We need to narrow the distance between government, research and teaching institutions and private companies so that these funds are well applied”.

According to the Pro-Dean of Research at UFSC, Jamil Assreuy, the Training Center signals the beginning of the construction of the science and technology park of the university in Sapiens Parque, located in the Innovation Route of Florianópolis.

The 6th Seminar Energia+ Limpa (“Cleaner Energy”) was supported by FIESC and the German Cooperation for Sustainable Development, through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and sponsored by the following institutions and companies: Brazilian Development Bank for Southern Brazil (BRDE), Araxá Energia Solar, Solar Energy do Brazil, Celesc, Box, Eletrobras Eletrosul and Tractebel. Furthermore, the event has the institutional support of Ambiente Energia, Electricity Trade Chamber (CCEE), Brazilian Wind Energy Association (ABEEólica), Brazilian Association of Energy Traders (Abraceel) and the Brazilian Council for Sustainable Construction (CBCS).

Seminar debate development of the renewable industry

Event sponsored by Instituto Ideal in Florianópolis, on June 2, stressed the importance of capacity building in the sector.

When presenting an economic panorama of the Brazilian energy matrix, during the 6th Seminar Energia + Limpa (“Cleaner energy”), professor of COPPE/UFRJ, Luiz Pinguelli Rosa, was assertive: there is a great deal to be developed in Brazil’s energy industry, especially in the renewable sector. For Pinguelli, rising production costs, import of derivatives and the financial problems faced by Petrobras and Eletrobras are some of the main factors that have led to a change of the current scenario. “The main sources of energy in our matrix are not sustainable, nor efficient. So, I believe in alternative sources such as wind energy, especially considering the seasonal factors of sources, and solar energy, which has great distribution potential”, he noted.

Challenges to professional training in the renewable sector was the subject of the Panel moderated by the professor at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Ricardo Rüther, which brought together the regional director of SENAI/SC, Jefferson de Oliveira Gomes, and the Dean of the Instituto Federal de Santa Catarina (IFSC), Maria Clara Kaschn Schneider. According to Schneider, it is crucial to develop teaching, research and extension activities aligned with the productive sector and the market’s actual demands. For the Dean, the productive chain of the renewable industry is still very new and, therefore, we must invest in mechanisms aimed at continuing education to train teachers at different levels and modes. “In Brazil, specific courses in that area are still very recent, but I believe they should be focused on interdisciplinarity, with a broader and interdisciplinary curriculum”.

For the regional director of SENAI, one of the challenges of training in the industry, is understanding the concept of sustainability. According to Gomes, this is a very complex definition, considering that it involves social, economic and environmental issues. “I believe that active methodologies, which predict the involvement of students as main agents responsible for learning, may be a way to do that. We must invest in a global education, while working locally. In other words, we must have a certain level of expertise, but rely primarily on a solid basic and more universal training “, he advocates.

Latin American tropicalization and integration

Along with training, experts gathered at the Seminar, held at FIESC, have considered the development of the domestic industry in the renewable market as a key driver in this market. The panel, moderated by the president of the Energy Affairs Bureau of FIESC, Otmar Josef Müller, was also attended by the manager of the Department of Accreditation of Machines, Equipment and Systems of BNDES, Adriane Helena Rodrigues; the general coordinator of the Biotechnology, Energy and Information Technology and Communication Department of Innovation of MDIC, Luciano Cunha de Sousa; the Sales Director of the Weg Group, Harry Schmelzer Neto and the CEO of SCGás, Cósme Pôlese.

According to Rodrigues, the development of solar energy in Brazil should occur similarly to that of wind energy, forming a virtuous cycle of encouragement to the industry whereas consolidation of a supply chain must be a priority. For Sousa, the creation of a market in this sector occurs more slowly, because, unlike what occurs in other industries, the energy market is characterized by strong government control. “There must to be awareness about the importance of the energy industry in the industrial context as a whole, and it is certainly a long-term job,” he said. Schmelzer Grandson, on the other hand, defended a change of thinking about energy marketing, mostly in the form of auctions. He believes that the announcement of new auctions may lead to a boom in the production of renewables, which would mean a chance of growth for the local industry.

The development of the biogas chain was also highlighted in the debate. The CEO of SCGás stressed the importance of tropicalizing foreign models and technologies, and setting policies for support and encouragement of the biogas chain. “In Santa Catarina, the generation potential with biomethane is so big that, with the appropriate investment in distribution infrastructure, we could definitely stop importing gas in the state. We should soon launch a public notice for the purchase of biomethane”, he announced.
The event was organized in collaboration with UFSC and had the support of FIESC and the German Cooperation for Sustainable Development, through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and sponsored by the following institutions and companies: Brazilian Development Bank for Southern Brazil (BRDE), Araxá Energia Solar, Solar Energy do Brasil, Celesc, Caixa ,Eletrobras ,Eletrosul and Tractebel. Furthermore, it has the institutional support of Ambiente Energia, Electricity Trade Chamber (CCEE), Brazilian Wind Energy Association (ABEEólica), Brazilian Association of Energy Traders (Abraceel) and Brazilian Council for Sustainable Construction (CBCS).

Experts criticize vulnerability of Brazilian energy matrix

The Energia + Limpa (“Cleaner Energy”) Seminar, sponsored by the Instituto Ideal, has also discussed the challenges to the growth of renewable sources of energy.

Challenges to long-term energy planning in Brazil was one of the central themes addressed by the panelists of the opening panel of the 6th Energia + Limpa (“Cleaner Energy”) Seminar, which brought together leaders of Brazil’s energy industry in Florianópolis on Tuesday (6). In their point of view, a greater involvement of civil society is required in the government’s decisions about the future of the energy matrix, because the country will need to increase its energy generation capacity in the coming years while ensuring the resilience of the electrical grid.

The executive coordinator of the project Fundo Verde (“Green Fund”) and professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Suzana Kahn, stressed the importance of renewable sources of energy in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and also the need to decarbonize energy generation as a whole. Kahn warned of the risks of not diversifying the energy matrix, and highlighted that energy security requires structural measures. “You have to integrate and coordinate initiatives that are very isolated at present. We need to move on from the pilot phase so that we can develop a specific policy for the future, “he said.

With 80% of its energy matrix based on hydroelectric power until the year 2000, Brazil had to seek energy alternatives to the current water crisis. According to André Ferreira, representative of the NGO network Observatório do Clima (“Climate Observatory”), this has led to an increased offer, although still incipient, of alternative sources of energy. “The main source tends to remain the hydroelectric power plants, but with an increased focus on the Amazon region. For the advancement of renewable sources of energy, the challenge lies in defining a long-term plan and implement possible scenarios, in a constructive and instructive manner”, he says.

For the coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Center for Energy Planning, State University of Campinas, Gilberto Januzzi, a way to increase the share of alternative sources, and thereby increase the diversity of the matrix, is to develop new business models for the energy industry. Faced with many questions of the audience about the role of the government in encouraging the adoption of alternative sources such as photovoltaic distributed generation, the coordinator of the Climate Change and Energy of Program-WWF Brazil, André Nahur, stressed the need to develop a low carbon economy based on third sector initiatives. “Energy development is also a social issue, so you need to engage and empower society, so that we can join forces with the government and the private sector,” he said.

Organized by Instituto Ideal at the Federation of Industries of the State of Santa Catarina (FIESC), the event attracted more than 300 participants, including students, researchers, members of the private sector and energy industry enthusiasts. “The mission of sustainability has no boundaries and is a commitment to the whole society”, stressed the president of Instituto Ideal, Mauro Passos, at the opening ceremony, attended by the Vice-President of Regional Affairs of FIESC for the Southeast Region, Tito Alfredo Schmitt; the President of the Energy Affairs Bureau of FIESC, Otmar Josef Müller; the State Secretary for Sustainable Development of Santa Catarina (SDS), Carlos Chiodini; the state representative Dresch Dirceu (Labor Party); the CEO of Eletrosul, Marcio Zimmermann; and the director of KFW in Brazil, Carsten Sandhop.

The event was supported by FIESC and the German Cooperation for Sustainable Development, through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and sponsored by the following institutions and companies: Brazilian Development Bank for Southern Brazil (BRDE), Araxá Energia Solar, Solar Energy do Brazil, Celesc, Box, Eletrobras Eletrosul and Tractebel. Furthermore, the event has the institutional support of Ambiente Energia, Electricity Trade Chamber (CCEE), Brazilian Wind Energy Association (ABEEólica), Brazilian Association of Energy Traders (Abraceel) and the Brazilian Council for Sustainable Construction (CBCS).