Brazil's Environmentally Effective Use of Electricity Essay

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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
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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 concentrated in the Southeast regions. Most of the power is consumed within these regions as the region encompasses the first and second highest-populated cities Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, respectively, as well as Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. Yet, new hydroelectric power dams are being constructed in the Amazon Rainforest due to a lack of free land. With the hydropower generation facilities far away from areas with the highest demand, portions of the energy will be lost during the spread of it. Some rivers hold huge potential for hydroelectric power, but struggle due to far distances from major industrial and urban areas. A notable case is the Belo Monte Dam. In 2010, the Brazilian government agreed to construct the Belo Monte Dam along the Xingu River, located in the North region of Brazil. The 11,000 megawatt, 6km long dam, which become the third-largest hydroelectric plant upon completion, is constructed in the Amazon
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