March 25, 2014
Jeb Blount – Reuters, 3/24/2014
Brazil is fighting against time to avoid crippling power blackouts and electricity rationing as a drought prevents the world’s most water-rich nation from recharging its hydroelectric dams.
A decade of growth has diversified the electricity system away from hydropower, but policymakers, industrial companies and investors in the world’s seventh-largest economymay find little cause to relax.
Rio de Janeiro-based energy consultancy PSR puts the odds of rationing at nearly 1 in 4.
October 31, 2013
Juan Forero – Washington Post, 10/30/2013
With its abundant dams and rivers that carry more fresh water than any other country, Brazil — big and bountiful — essentially runs on hydropower. But it turns out that the country can also count on a good strong breeze.
Wind is emerging as a prize for energy planners here who see the howling gusts that arrive from the east as a way to offset the fresh limits imposed on hydropower.
A string of wind-turbine parks is being erected in Brazil’s windiest stretches, in what planners see as the beginning of an extraordinary transformation. No one expects that wind will outpace dams as the main source of electricity here. But the goals remain audacious for a country that projects an annual increase in electricity consumption of up to 5 percent in coming years.
September 16, 2013
Brian Winter – Reuters, 09/15/2013
Brazil will probably scale down its plans for new nuclear plants due to safety concerns following the 2011 radiation leak in Japan and pick up some of the slack with a “revolution” in wind power, the head of the government’s energy planning agency said.
Mauricio Tolmasquim, chief of the Energy Research Company, told Reuters it was “unlikely” the government would stick to its plans to build four new nuclear plants by 2030 to meet rising demand for electricity.
He declined to specify how many might be built instead.
July 22, 2013
Nina Wegner – Christian Science Monitor, 07/20/2013
Brazil is busy polishing its image in anticipation of hosting the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics, spending billions on budgets for border control, crime eradication, and public projects.
But while the construction of soccer stadiums and the war on crime grab headlines, Brazil’s largest and most expensive infrastructure project is hidden deep in the Amazon on the “Big Bend” of the Xingu River. There, the Belo Monte dam – the third largest dam in the world – is rapidly being built. And how the dam is completed could play an important role in shaping the future of one of the world’s last frontiers – the Amazon Rainforest.
“The effects of this dam will be better than any other dam in Brazil,” says Vilmar Soares, a co-founder of FORT Xingu, an organization that supports development in the Xingu Region. “This is the first hydroelectric dam in Brazil that implements a plan of regional development for when the dam is completed.”
July 1, 2013
Simeon Tegel – Global Post, 07/01/2013
Officials here frequently claim that the huge hydroelectric dams that increasingly dot the Brazilian Amazon are a source of “clean energy.”
The dams often involve flooding vast areas of rain forest, leading to a major loss of biodiversity and the devastating displacement of indigenous communities from their ancestral lands.
That is justified, President Dilma Rousseff claims, because they help fight climate change.
December 6, 2012
Associated Press/The Washington Post, 12/04/2012
Deforestation in the Amazon destroyed an area almost as big as the United Kingdom between 2000 and 2010, environmental watchdog agencies said Tuesday.
The study prepared by the Amazon Information Network was released in Bolivia. It showed that close to 93,000 square miles (240,000 square kilometers) of Amazon rainforest were devastated in the 10-year period, the network said in a statement.
The main culprits are illegal logging, the construction of highways, mining, farming and ranching, the construction of hydroelectric dams and oil and gas drilling and exploration.
Sixty-three percent of the rainforest’s 2.4 million square miles (6.1 million square kilometers) are in Brazil, and 80.4 percent of the 2000-2010 deforestation occurred in that country, the study said. Peru was responsible for 6.2 percent of the deforestation, and Colombia came in third with 5 percent.
The pace of Amazon deforestation in Brazil and the other countries, with the exception of Colombia and French Guiana, has slowed, the study said.
January 10, 2012
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff signed the decree for the construction of five new hydroelectric dams in the Amazon basin and readies for a renewed attack from domestic and international environmentalists against the project.
The five will be built along the Tapajós River in the state of Para to which access will only be by helicopter, to preserve the Amazon rain forest and there will be no constructions in the surrounding area to the dams, announced Mines and Energy minister Edison Lobao.
“This new model of hydroelectric dams is almost like a science fiction film, it reminds us of Avatar” said Lobao in direct reference to film director James Cameron.