Keywords: transition dynamics, bioethanol economy, Brazil, energy infrastructures: modelling, biofuels, information feedback, critical infrastructures, carbon dioxide, CO2 emissions, carbon emissions, energy security, climate change
Transition of energy infrastructures: modelling the Brazilian case
Triggered by the distress around climate change and security of supply, European countries struggle to diversify their energy portfolio while producing less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, favouring a transition to avoid a system collapse. However, this situation is not new. Thirty years ago, prompted by two consecutive oil crises, Brazil started its transition to a less oil-dependent economy, and has now reached a relatively stable bio-ethanol economy. This paper analyses the historical transition of Brazil using a multidisciplinary systemic approach, where we portray transition dynamics at the agent layer, interaction layer and system layer, and demonstrate the relevance of information feedback. The shift of Brazil to a bio-ethanol economy was an objective-oriented transition wherein the government was the initiator of the transition process. We conclude that, despite the historical and geographical differences and the risks of a direct institutional transplantation, European countries can benefit from the lessons learned from the Brazilian experience.