In 2013 special loan facilities for innovation schemes in Brazil's energy sector were over-subscribed more than 100%, leading to loans worth a total of 7.9 billion reais (US$2.229 billion) in support of 58 firms from the sector.

The loans corresponded to the Inova Energia program - launched by the national development bank BNDES, federal power watchdog Aneel and technology agency Finep - covering several areas of research and development in the sector.

Although only some of the loan winners were smart grid technology developers, it can be argued that the other areas of research covered - cogeneration, ultra-high tension transmission, solar, wind and hybrid vehicle - all have important bearing on the smart grid opportunity, since they add to the complexity of processes in the industry and increase the need for cutting edge management tools.

Power companies have a long history of incorporating communication networks into their grid infrastructure - fiber alongside their overhead transmission cables and, increasingly, powerline communication (PLC) systems that carry signals along the live cables themselves.

And for many years these utilities have been using supervisory control and data acquisition (Scada) platforms to manage that communication. However, generally this only goes as far as their sub-stations, and has not extended into the distribution grid or end-users' premises.

Tech firms involved in the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) movement frequently cite the utilities segment as one of the primary adopters, so in this report BNamericas provides a snapshot of the adoption process as it is today in Latin America.


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