Brazil launches billion-dollar energy plan

Rio de Janeiro, April 2 (IANS) Brazil’s Development Bank (BNDES) has announced the launch of a 3-billion-real ($1.5-billion) plan to develop the country’s energy sector.

Under the plan, the bank, energy regulation agency Aneel and research financing company Finep will offer financing lines with low interest rates to private companies investing in energy research, reported Xinhua.

According to BNDES president Luciano Coutinho, the private sector must undertake research and development.

“These resources are being offered so that the private sector will assume the leadership,” said Coutinho, adding that “in Brazil, in general, spending on science, technology and innovation is highly concentrated in universities and the public sector”.

The plan will focus on four areas – intelligent energy networks; alternative energy sources, such as solar and thermal power; energy transmission and distribution; and electric vehicles.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Marco Antonio Raupp said the plan is part of the government’s innovation program, which provides 32.5 billion reals (more than $16 billion) for promoting innovation in strategic areas.

BNDES is mulling similar programs in other areas, such as aerospace industry, defence, agribusiness, and information technology.

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