Brazil has abundant water resources and depends on them for hydroelectric power generation. In 2011, 81.9% of the electricity in the country was produced by hydropower. A significant change in the Brazilian hydrological cycle reduced this percentage to 64% in 2015. The scarcity of rain decreased the volumes in the reservoirs of the hydroelectric power plants located mainly in the Southeast, Center-West and Northeast regions. In this scenario, the National Operator System authorized the use in full load of thermoelectric plants powered by natural gas, biomass and coal. As a result, thermoelectric generation grew 329%, increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The intensification in the use of thermoelectric energy leads to a vicious energy–environment cycle, as it increases the CO2 emissions. Brazilian government is aware of the necessity of electricity generation, and future uncertainties generated by the instabilities of hydrological cycles may jeopardize the country’s energy security. The country has proposed programs to encourage energy generation by other renewable sources (wind and solar) and avoid the use of thermoelectric plants, which increase the generation costs and environmental impacts. This could compromise the goals of reducing carbon emissions signed by Brazil at Paris Conference (COP21).
Thermoelectric Power Plant for Compensation of Hydrological Cycle Change: Environmental Impacts in Brazil
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Luiz Fernando Rosa Mendes, Marcelo Silva Sthel; Thermoelectric Power Plant for Compensation of Hydrological Cycle Change: Environmental Impacts in Brazil. Case Studies in the Environment 31 December 2017; 1 (1): 1–7. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/cse.2017.000471
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