Recife, Brazil --- (METERING.COM) --- April 5, 2012 - Brazil’s Companhia Energética de Pernambuco (Celpe) is to pilot a smart grid on the island of Fernando de Noronha, the largest in an archipelago of islands with national park status off the country’s northeast coast.

The three-year research and development project with an investment of R$16.4 million (US$9 million) will bring together key technologies in the areas of metering, telecommunications, information technology and automation, according to a company statement. Expected benefits are the remote control of almost all processes, in addition to faster identification and correction of system faults.

Partners in the project include the University of Pernambuco (UPE), the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE), the national Center for Research and Development (CPqD), and the departments of science and technology and the environment and sustainability of the Pernambuco state government.

Simultaneously Celpe is investing an additional R$1.69 million (US$0.9 million) in developing a control system to manage multiple sources of alternative energy generation on the archipelago. The aim is to study the feasibility of maximizing the use of the renewable sources that can be deployed in Fernando de Noronha.

Under an agreement with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ), Celpe is to install a 400 kW peak solar photovoltaic system within a military base on Fernando de Noronha. The system with an expected output of 600 MWh per year – about 6 percent of the island’s demand – will be piloted for a year to identify possible gaps or areas for improvement.

These are not the first energy efficiency projects to be undertaken on Fernando de Noronha. In 2009, Celpe promoted the substitution of electric showers in tourist inns with a solar heating system. And last year, new energy efficient refrigerators were donated to low income customers living in the archipelago.