Special Feature
March 21, 2011
Thomas R. Hardy | (703) 875-4357

Advances Strategic Energy Dialogue Announced During President's Visit to Brazil

Advances Strategic Energy Dialogue Announced During President's Visit to BrazilAdvances Strategic Energy Dialogue Announced During President's Visit to Brazil

ARLINGTON, VA – At the conclusion of President Obama's visit to Brazil, Presidents Rousseff and Obama agreed to launch a Strategic Energy Dialogue. This Dialogue and resulting partnerships between the two largest democracies and economies in the Americas will create jobs in both countries, make energy supplies more secure, and help address the challenge of climate change.

To further these objectives, USTDA is hosting a delegation of Brazilian officials in the United States to meet with U.S. solar energy companies later this month. The delegation will visit solar farms, U.S. solar companies, industry associations, and U.S. government agencies.

To further the goals of the Strategic Energy Dialogue, USTDA also announced its support for a feasibility study grant to the Brazilian electricity utility Cemig Distribuição to develop a smart grid pilot implementation strategy. The USTDA grant directly supports President Obama's Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, and provides an avenue for bilateral commercial cooperation on clean energy between Brazil and the United States. USTDA's support of these programs also recognizes the strategic importance Brazil plays under the U.S. National Export Initiative.

The USTDA grant will be used to develop an innovative smart grid pilot strategy for two affiliates of the Cemig Group: Minas Gerais-based Cemig Distribuição, which operates South America's largest electricity network and Rio de Janeiro-based Light Serviços de Eletricidade, Brazil's third largest electricity distributor.

The deployment of smart grid technologies will increase energy efficiency, expand the ability to add renewable energy in a distributed generation fashion, enhance resource management and provide environmental benefits to Cemig's customer base of 28 million people. At the same time, the project will generate opportunities for U.S. companies that specialize in smart grid technologies to demonstrate their capabilities in this sector.

This $710,000 grant was conferred during a signing ceremony held on March 15 at Cemig Distribuição's headquarters in Belo Horizonte, Brazil between USTDA Country Manager Gabrielle Mandel and Djalma Bastos de Morais President of Cemig Distribuição S.A.

"U.S. companies are leaders in smart grid technology. Consequently, this project presents a significant potential win-win for both countries," said USTDA Director Leocadia I. Zak.

"This grant also supports the Administration's goals of increasing cooperation with Brazil in the area of clean energy technology. As further evidence of the high priority that has been placed on this sector, the Brazilian government recently approved a $204 million stimulus plan for the deployment of smart grid technologies."

The opportunity to conduct the USTDA-funded technical assistance will be competed on the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website. A link to the FBO announcement will be posted to USTDA's website at www.ustda.gov. Interested U.S. firms should submit proposals according to the instructions in the FBO announcement. Cemig and Light will select the U.S. contractor that will complete the technical assistance.

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The U.S. Trade and Development Agency helps companies create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies. USTDA links U.S. businesses to export opportunities by funding project planning activities, pilot projects, and reverse trade missions while creating sustainable infrastructure and economic growth in partner countries.

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