The fight against climate change is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 13) proposed by the U.N., adhered to by Neoenergia. Aiming at ensuring that its Business are increasingly resilient to future and already experienced climate scenarios, the company entered into a partnership with COPPE/UFRJ in 2019, which included researchers and coordination from Centro Clima (Climate Center) and carried out a pioneering pilot project in Brazilian electric sector. The initiative designed and applied a climate risk assessment methodology to one of the company's assets, resulting in a climate risk adaptation guideline. The plant selected for the pilot project was Termopernambuco (Termope) and, subsequently, the methodology was customized and extended to Renewable, Transmission and Distribution Businesses.
"Based on our climate resilience strategy, which focuses on mapping and managing climate risk, the methodology developed for Termope has been internalized by our teams and is being replicated for the other Neoenergia businesses. This initiative combines a scientific basis with the Company's practical knowledge, contributing both to academic research and to the Brazilian electric sector", states Neoenergia's Innovation and Sustainability superintendent, Francisco Carvalho.
Over a year, between 2019 and 2020, Centro Clima researchers have studied future geo-referenced climate scenarios and historical trends for variables such as temperature, wind speed and rainfall generation, assessing their potential impacts on Thermope. Based on these diagnoses, adaptive planning, institutional and physical measures were identified to eliminate and minimize possible effects of climate change.
"We have gone through several training sessions for our executives and employees, reinforcing the importance of integrating the climate issue in their routine and in investment decision making. Our team is well trained to manage climate risk, based on the adaptation action plan developed under this important initiative," says Termope's officer, David Benavent del Prado.
The methodology developed for climate risk assessment is based on international standards for climate risk management. ISO 14090 (Adaptation to Climate Change) and ISO 31000 (Risk Management) principles and guidelines were applied. A second source is the conceptual framework for climate change risk assessment and management in the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Initially, the plant systems and equipment, as well as the relevant climatic stressors, related possible biophysical impacts and their consequences on electricity generation were identified. Assessments were based on the historical series of meteorological and oceanographic information and forecasts up to 2040 from the numerical model of atmospheric circulation Eta/HadGEM2-ES, of the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (the Brazilian Institute for Space Research - INPE), which mathematically represents the atmospheric physical and chemical processes and their interactions with other components of the global climate system, such as biosphere and hydrosphere.
Many activities were developed during the project, as well as the methodology development and its application, under an integrated university-company work. Among them was a challenge proposed to 12 Master's and PhD students of the Energy Research Program (PPE/COPPE/UFRJ), who were divided into three groups to develop solutions based on real situations for the thermo and hydro generation, as well as for the field of networks, in the themes of climate change and biodiversity. The development of the challenges was incorporated into the disciplinary content and assessment of EPP/COPPE/UFRJ students.
In addition, upon invitation from Neoenergia, Professor Emilio La Rovere, the Center's coordinator and a national and international scientific reference in Climate Change, represented Brazil in the fifth edition of Moving for Climate, an Iberdrola initiative in support of COP25, held in Madrid in December 2019.
The partnership also included training events for the company's employees, taught by UFRJ professors and Centro Clima researchers, aiming to promote the theme of climate resilience and adaptation. The contents were also made available to all Neoenergia employees in the Global E-learning Platform (GEP), our virtual organizational development training environment.