Power and Logistics issues to consider for a Brazil Data Center

WSJ has an article on Brazil’s problem supporting growth and issues with the power grid.

Brazil Economy Flickers as Bottlenecks Drive Up Prices


SÃO PAULO, Brazil—When the lights returned after an hours long blackout in northeast Brazil early this month, the problems were just beginning for the Camaçari industrial park, one of the country's biggest.

Restarting a data center after a power outage can take hours.  Consider after this power outage two chemical plants were offline for two weeks.

Two huge chemical plants, which make ingredients for surrounding industries, were halted for nearly two weeks for repairs. Collectively, the shutdown cost the companies, which employ about 8,000 people, at least $150 million, says Manoel Carnaúba, a vice president at Braskem SA, operator of the two plants. "You can't just stop and restart those things," he says. "The plants have to run steady to run well."

The are a lot of companies looking at expanding data center capacity in Brazil, but here is another point on the supply logistics being twice as long as China.

Compared with China, it takes goods twice as long to move the same distance, according to Paulo Fleury, director of the Rio de Janeiro-based Logistics and Supply Chain Institute. Despite government plans to spend more than $500 billion in the coming years on programs that include new infrastructure, he says, "these are long-term projects that won't ease any of the bottlenecks hurting us now."

What is the condition of Brazil’s infrastructure?

A week after the northeast power outage, a power failure in São Paulo, the country's industrial and financial hub, affected 2.5 million people on a busy Tuesday afternoon. Since 2005, Brazilian consumers on average suffered more than 16 hours of failures annually—well beyond the regulatory target. Brazil greatly expanded its generating capacity after a series of nationwide blackouts early last decade, but upkeep and investment since has been poor, specialists say. And while the grid was designed to accommodate predictable demand growth from factories and otherindustry, the surge lately comes from millions of new air conditioners, refrigerators, and other consumer goods.

Says Rafael Schechtman, a director at the Brazilian Infrastructure Center, in Rio: "Brazil isn't wired for this type of growth."