Gabriel Cavados is a mechanical engineer, with an academic background in energy planning. His current PhD research is on how to create market mechanisms in order to contract flexibility in hydrothermal systems. He has worked for Wartsila since 2009 and is now part of the Growth & Development team in the Americas, based in Rio de Janeiro.
Please describe yourself and your work.
I am a Senior Manager of Energy Project Development in Brazil for Wärtsilä. I have ten years of experience in the energy market and joined Wärtsilä in 2009. In this role, I have been involved in the development of electricity generation projects, many that have been included in the Brazilian government’s New Energy Auctions organized by Empresa de Pesquisa Energética (EPE).
I have an academic background in mechanical engineering with a master’s degree in energy planning from Coppe Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). I am currently a PhD candidate in energy planning. Additionally, I am a member of the Brazilian Association of Independent Power Producers – Alpine, as part of my role with Wärtsilä.
What made you want to participate in the Path to 100%?
Renewables are the future. A chance to participate in an initiative to create a better society is a dream of any engineer. I am really happy to be given this opportunity to collaborate.
Describe your passion for renewable energy and how you have put it into practice in Brazil.
Brazil is one of the most renewable countries in the world. Today, my focus is to study how to integrate large shares of intermittent renewables in systems, such as in Brazil. I hope this will somehow help the country on its path.
Your PhD research explores how to create market mechanisms in order to contract flexibility in hydrothermal systems. Could you please explain more about your work and your goal with this research?
As of today, we can see that power markets have evolved to recognize how important it is to build a flexible power system, to make renewables integration more friendly. However, it is still a challenge to develop a market design that can price or correctly value different technologies that can provide the system with flexibility, each one with different costs and features. My research aims to propose a methodology that would enable that differentiation.
You said wind and solar offer the best opportunities for growth in the Brazilian renewable energy sector. Why is this the case? And what role could flexible solutions like energy storage and flexible power generation play?
Wind and solar are, today, the energy sources that provide the lowest cost per MWh produced in Brazil. It is natural, then, to expect them to be the drivers for the expansion of the Brazilian grid over the next decade. With more intermittent renewables in the system, more flexibility is required to cope with those challenges.
What do you consider to be the main barriers or challenges Brazil faces on its path to clean and affordable energy?
The rate of chance in the existing framework is too low. The energy transition towards wind and solar are really fast, and we need to change fast as well. Brazil will face some regulatory issues very soon and will need to change its existing market framework.
Finally, how can Brazil lead the way towards 100 percent renewable energy? And what progress do you foresee for the region in the coming years?
Brazil is already a renewable country, considering the electricity market. What we need to do to continue to be a leader is to reform the business environment, renew the existing regulations and adapt faster to all these changes.