The Electrical Energy Research Center (Cepel), located in Rio de Janeiro, is the largest electrical energy research institution in South America. It was founded in 1974 by Eletrobras and its subsidiaries: Chesf, Eletronorte, Eletrosul and Furnas. The Center's mission is to develop and deploy sustainable technological solutions for the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity by means of Research, Development and Innovation activities (R & D + I) for the Brazilian electricity sector.
In order to support its research activities, Cepel created a complex of 34 laboratories that perform a wide variety of experiments, technological services and tests. Noteworthy are the laboratories of High-Voltage and High-Power - the largest of their kind in the Southern Hemisphere - and the Laboratory of Ultra-High Voltage, in its final stages of implementation having only one similar worldwide. In addition, the Center has two reference and demonstration units: CRESESB, to promote the use of solar and wind energy, and CATE, to promote the efficient use of electricity.
Cepel's research activities are organized in the following Areas of Expertise: Materials, Energy Efficiency and Complementary Generation; Transmission Lines and Equipment; Systems Operation and Automation; Electrical Networks; Distribution Technologies; Energy Optimization and Environment; and Laboratories and Experimental Research. A specific division is in charge of the laboratory infrastructure and experimental research, being divided in two departments. One of these departments is in charge of the labs located in the Fundão’s headquarter and the other one is responsible for the high-power and high-voltage labs, located 45 km away, in the Adrianópolis site.
In order to promote the universal access to electricity and the efficient use of energy for the country's sustainable development, Cepel cooperates with Eletrobras in some federal government initiatives such as: "Light for All" (Luz para Todos), the "National Electric Energy Conservation Program" (Procel), "Incentives for Alternative Sources of Electric Energy Program" (Proinfa) and "Efficient Public Lighting" (ReLuz). Cepel also participates in the elaboration of the National Energy and the Decennial Power Plans of Eletrobras.
Cepel supports Eletrobras and the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) on international initiatives focused on sustainable development of electricity, such as the "International Low-Carbon Energy Technology Platform" and the "Hydropower Technology Roadmap", both implemented by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Cepel also participates in the "Sustainable Development of Hydropower" initiative, maintained by the Clean Energy Ministerial forum, and in the UN’s high level group "Sustainable Energy for All".