São Paulo, Brazil --- (METERING.COM) --- December 8, 2010 - The ClimaGrid project, which will seek to incorporate climatic information to smart grid operation, has been launched in Brazil by the country’s national space research institute (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, INPE) and the energy group EDP Brazil.

Brazil’s electricity sector is expected to face increasingly frequent severe weather events as a result of climate change. The three-year project is aimed at incorporating data on wind, rain, lightning and temperature into the electrical system in a simple and intuitive way.

Because of its broad scope, the project – which is believed to be one of the first of its kind globally – will cover several areas including sustainability, innovation, telecommunications, information technology and the distribution and transmission sectors.

According to a 2009 environmental power sector forum, the major challenge is to identify the impacts of climate change on the Brazilian electricity sector.

“The concern exists because severe storms accompanied by high levels of lightning, high winds and heavy rains are responsible for a significant number of failures in the electrical system,” commented Osmar Pinto Jr, coordinator of ClimaGrid and INPE’s Atmospheric Electricity Group (ELAT). “This is because 99 percent of the networks are aerial and thus are fully exposed to the weather conditions.”

Added to this, due to climate change, Brazil – which already has the highest incidence of lightning in the world, with nearly 60 million discharges per year – is expected to face an intensification of storms in the coming decades, as has already been experienced over the past few years in the southeast of the country in areas such as São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Vitória and Rio de Janeiro among others.

“When we talk about climate issues in relation to intelligence in the grid it is usually in connection with the ability to use various sources of renewable energy, but very little is said about the fact that the same intelligence also needs to face extreme weather events,” added Vitor Gardiman, ClimaGrid project manager and executive manager of technology development for EDP Bandeirante and Escelsa.