Brazil's smart grid market to grow

Utilities in Brazil are planning to use smart grid investments to aid in the reduction of electricity theft, improve reliability of the electric infrastructure and offer new pricing plans for customers and also pave the way for economic growth.

The BRIC country has a booming economy and is already facing constraints with the existing electrical infrastructure. Northeast Group says that its smart grid investments will be a critical point in the run-up to the 2014 football World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.

"A very significant problem in Brazil is the high rate of electricity theft. This is both a public safety issue and also unfairly requires paying customers to subsidize those stealing power. Smart meters are very effective tools in helping reduce electricity theft," Northeast Group reports.

Brazil is looking at smart metering or advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) as the link to the smart grid program. ANEEL, the Brazilian electricity regulator will lead the plan and will deploy 63 million AMI meters by 2021. Detailed regulations are expected within the next year and this will get the ball rolling for large-scale AMI implementation across Brazil. Home energy management is also a theme that will be tackled.

The study undertaken by Northeast Group looks at 14 segments of the smart grid market in Brazil. These include market values for AMI segments (meter hardware, communications, IT, professional services and installation costs); distribution automation segments (substation automation; fault detection, isolation and restoration (FDIR); volt/VAR optimization (VVO); and grid monitoring and control); wide area measurement (synchrophasors), and home energy management segments (home area networks, electric vehicle supply equipment and smart solar inverters) through 2022.

A smart grid vendor analysis in the report profiles those firms positioning themselves to win large smart grid contracts, including domestic Brazilian firms poised to partner with international smart grid vendors.