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Brazil's Environmentally Effective Use Of Electricity

855 words - 4 pages

Brazil is the third largest consumer of electricity in the Western Hemisphere and the ninth largest in the world. In 2011, of the 531 trillion watt hours of electric power generated, hydropower accounted for 424 trillion watt hours, approximately a staggering 80%. Brazil undoubtedly has extremely high reliance on hydropower. However, due to the large size of hydroelectric dams, the construction of dams lowering biodiversity in the Amazon Rainforest, and the unstable climate of Brazil, the hydroelectric power across Brazil is environmentally ineffective.

Brazil, a newly-industrializing country, is desperate to catch up to the economic development of highly-industrialized countries, for example United States and Canada. The energy ministry has projected the Brazilian economy to expand by 63% between the 2013 and 2021. To become a modern world-class economy with higher efficiency, an abundant amount of energy must be supplied for assembly lines, refineries and office towers. While other countries such as China heavily rely on fossil fuels, for example coal to generate electricity to meet the high demands of the rapidly growing population, Brazil has chiefly relied on hydroelectric power. To cope the growing population’s energy demands, 34 colossal dams will be constructed between 2013 to 2021 in an effort to increase Brazil’s energy production by over 50%. Rivers are being diverted and roads are being paved to create space for these massive dams. Canals and channels are being constructed to allow passage of boats and ships to gather water. Blocks of concrete are laid across rivers which provide 20% of the world’s fresh water. The dams will take up over 6,470 square kilometers of forests and fields, approximately the size of six Hong Kongs. Additionally, as the rainforest is flooded to create space for the dams rot in the water, stumps of trees sticking out of the water release carbon dioxide, and the vegetation that decomposes releases methane, a gas whose greenhouse effect is 25x worst than that of carbon dioxide. This fully negates the purpose of hydroelectric power, which is to not emit greenhouse gases and other waste byproducts when converting the water into energy. Sao Paulo, the seventh largest city by population in the world with over eleven million residents, has been calculated to emit less greenhouse gases than Amazonian dam Tucurui. The enormous size of hydroelectric dams requires the laying of concrete blocks across Amazonian rivers which will lower the fresh water’s quality and emit greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane.

Most existent hydroelectric power dams located in Brazil are...

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