Neoenergia announced on Wednesday (9/12) the
inauguration of the Green Corridor, the largest electric road in Brazil, which will connect the capitals of Salvador (BA) to Natal (RN). In a
live broadcast held by Valor Econômico newspaper, the company's CEO, Mario
Ruiz-Tagle, defended the growth of electric mobility in Brazil, as a strategy for decarbonization.
"This is a trend that is here to stay," he said. The live broadcast
was mediated by Natália Tamura and included the participation of energy expert
David Zylbersztajn and economist Eduardo Ávila. Check out the main topics
What is the Green Electric Mobility Corridor, inaugurated by Neoenergia?
Mario Ruiz-Tagle: The
Green Corridor is an initiative aimed to facilitate electric mobility, create
culture to be able to facilitate and bring to the Northeast a very important
element, which is the electric vehicle. It is a means of mobility by which
people today are looking to contribute individually to this energy transition.
It is the largest electric corridor in Brazil, and will connect the capital of
Bahia, Salvador, to Natal, a distance of 1,100 kilometers along the coast of
the Northeast region. Initially, we will operate in six of the nine states in
the Northeast. We are working with 18 electric stations, called super chargers,
which allow you to charge two vehicles at the same time in 30 minutes. It is a
little more extensive than a normal stop that people makes to rest on a road.
Our goal is to test our own fleet. Since March 2020, the group has started to
work mainly with electric vehicles and electric trucks to serve our customers.
We will carry out the test during 2021 and from 2022 onwards, we will offer the
electric stations to the population and be able to create a model of economic
generation to foster electric mobility with electric vehicles.
What is Neoenergia's goal when investing in electric mobility?
Mario Ruiz-Tagle: The
Green Corridor is a action that aims to facilitate electric mobility. What is
our purpose with that? Contributing, within what the electric sector considers
to have a great factor, a product of its own network structure, so that the
combustion vehicles, currently using oil, to migrate to zero carbon emissions.
The first step was Brazil's ethanol program, the great biofuel program. Before
talking about zero emission, we should not forget that we went through
biofuels. We had a very short discussion over time, due to the speed of
technological advances, because others emerged that proved to be more efficient
and captured this niche that biofuels had. Today, this is essentially wind and
solar generation. In the beginning, in 2004, there was talks in Brazil of a
great biofuel program for burning ethanol in plants in the countryside. This
program was evidently overtaken by the technological advancement of wind power.
Wind power, 20 years ago, was a dream and nowadays it has a volume of energy
that is already sufficient in some moments to supply the entire Northeast, a
region that was naturally an energy importer and has become an energy exporter.
In addition, we have distributed generation, which is a major contribution to
the democratization of electric energy. This enables micro-networks and the
delivery of energy to people who are currently in need of this service. We have
developed at Neoenergia the largest Luz para Todos (Light for All) program in
Brazil, connecting people over the past few years. We have used this type of
technology and it has proven to be successful.
How can electric mobility grow in Brazil?
Mario Ruiz-Tagle: We
all have to bet, industries, business people, entrepreneurs and the population,
in addition to the government, with tax policy and regulation. This is a trend
that is here to stay. Brazil has a renewable mindset, a green thinking, a green
and yellow flag and we must use this in the world. It is a wealth that Brazil
How do you see the concept of the 3 “Ds” of energy: decarbonization,
decentralization and digitalization?
Mario Ruiz-Tagle: We
have already worked hard to develop this 3D concept. But we also want to
discuss two issues that are fundamental today. One is the concept of energy
efficiency. Clean energy is the cleanest we can generate, but the cleanest is
that we don't use and that we don't intervene in the environment. The population
and industries need to become aware of the importance of energy efficiency, of
the importance of ending energy waste. It is very important to reduce the cost
that energy will represent, a very important percentage of the energy that each
consumer pays today is the one that is lost, the one that remains in the
equipment connected at night, in the inefficient refrigerators. We have
advanced a lot on the concept of the letter "E". And now the letter
"F" (for financing). There are no longer any investors willing to
allocate resources to build infrastructure that generates impacts on the
Every day more consumers
are concerned about the source of the product they buy. Today, for example,
large suppliers make very subtle but important inquiries: will the product I am
selling to you be implemented in an area that has been deforested, is it a
biosphere reserve, does it have a particular aspect of preserving the
environment? Nobody wants and we want it less. We, promoters of the
construction of energy projects, do not want to be the authors or the visible
face of a phenomenon that goes against our own philosophy. Funding sources
today are increasingly restricted from the point of view of environmental
compliance. Companies must seek to act within this new model of energy
operation of the humanity in order to reduce climate change and get the world
to enter into objective commitments of reducing emissions. Within this context,
committed to reducing emissions, Iberdrola is committed to reducing CO2 emissions
per kWh by 20% in 2050. We have to start working ahead of time, this is a
cultural, regulatory change in people behavior, who will be able to gather
together all these initiatives, so that this energy transition is really
What is the energy source that supplies the stations in the Green Corridor,
does it come from the grid, from renewable energy? When will the Green Corridor
be commercially available to the public to use it?
Mário Ruiz-Tagle: This
is an important issue, there is no point in having a Green Corridor if the
energy we generate is not clean. The Corridor's energy comes from the grid,
from the National Interconnected System, energy that circulates through our
concession and distribution areas. The job is not just to incorporate an
increasing volume of energy from renewable sources into the network. In this
sense, we have developed in recent years the Oitis and Chafariz wind projects,
which are of the order of 1,000 Megawatt of installed power located in the
states of the Northeast, between Bahia and Paraíba to integrate energy to
supply these stations. The advantage is that the Brazilian energy matrix comes
from hydroelectric, wind, photovoltaic and renewable sources. This ensures us
that the electric stations are supplied, at least, with a good percentage of
this matrix, especially considering that a large part of the generation in the
Northeast states, today, is renewable energy.
As for making commercial
use, I would say more than commercial, but open to the public so that they are
able to use these electric stations. Our goal is to run tests during 2021.
There are several types of tests, with 100% electric cars, hybrid cars,
combustion cars, to show the population the advantage of migrating to the
electric car or at least being able to accelerate the hybrid cars, which are
those that run on energy and can also run on fuel. Our intention is that, from
2022, the Green Corridor system will be open so that the entire population
using the roads in the Northeast can use it. This is a project that is being
developed under a Research and Development program, supervised and sponsored by
Aneel and the purpose is to showcase that the electric mobility solution on the
roads in the Northeast is feasible, economically profitable and accessible to
An important point,
especially regarding the behavior that we aim to do with the entire operation
of this network, is to influence the behavior of the population so that they
can have an electric car and share it. This will undoubtedly serve for the
regulator to improve future regulation that will allow this network expansion.
Our project does not end in this Corridor, this is the main road that runs
through the Northeast region, but our goal is also to make corridors within our
concession areas, using the main state roads.