Inderscience Publishers

Transition of energy infrastructures: modelling the Brazilian case

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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.

Keywords: transition dynamics, bioethanol economy, Brazil, energy infrastructures: modelling, biofuels, information feedback, critical infrastructures, carbon dioxide, CO2 emissions, carbon emissions, energy security, climate change

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