A maior geradora de energia limpa e renovável do planeta

Energy
One-fourth of the population have no energy
Tamanho da letra
20/05/2008

One fourth of the world population (approximately 1.6 billion people) have no access to electricity, whereas another 2.4 billion people use energy at an insufficient level. Based on these figures, government officials and experts from several countries participated in the conference “Trends in the Global Energy Scenario”, on Monday morning, during the Global Renewable Energy Forum, in Foz do Iguaçu. The conference was facilitated by the Secretary of Energy Planning and Development of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Altino Ventura Filho.

 

According to him, Brazil will certainly be energetically self-sufficient until 2030, given the wealth and variety of energy sources. This is mostly due to renewable sources, which amount to 46% of the energy produced in Brazil. In his presentation, Altino Ventura Filho showed how much each different energy source has represented in Brazil’s energy agenda ever since the Proálcool, in the Seventies, until the current Biodiesel Program.

 

“The production of biodiesel does not impact food production," he said. “The increase in food production prices is caused by higher oil prices.” He said that Brazil’s biofuel expertise is available to other countries.

 

To Dimitri Piskounov, director of the Program Development and Technical Cooperation Division of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the food shortage has other causes, among them post-harvest waste. In underdeveloped countries, 50% of the food is lost due to a lack of transport and storage infrastructure.

 

Faced with the high number of people who do not benefit from electricity supply – 80% them living in rural areas in poor countries – Dimitri believes that renewable sources have the important role to provide energy to these people. “The priority is to provide energy for the productive sector and speed up poverty reduction,” he said.

 

The overview of different renewable energy sources in Latin America and the Caribbean was discussed by Carlos Arturo Flórez Piedrahita, Executive Secretary of the Latin American Energy Organization (Olade). According to him, the region has a huge energy potential which is yet to be tapped – out of the almost 600,000 MW of hydroelectric potential, for example, just 21% are actually converted into energy. Pushed by the manufacturing sector, energy demand will grow by 78% by 2018, says Piedrahita. Meanwhile, the oil share in the region’s energy grid will be reduced by 42%, as sources such as natural gas, biofuels and hydroelectricity become more important. “The increase in the hydroelectric share will depend on how nations will integrate,” he warned.

 

The hydroelectricity share plays a big role in the current and future overview, as says Thomas Stelzer, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. According to him, one-fifth of the world’s energy is produced by hydroelectricity plants spread over 140 countries. “Since the Nineties, smaller hydroelectricity plants have been built. The main objective is to minimize social and environmental impact.”

 

Anil Kene, President of the World Wind Energy Association, spoke of wind power. According to him, the world’s growing energy demand is turning wind power into an increasingly desirable source. He compared wind energy to nuclear and fossil power and highlighted that wind energy has much lower production costs.

 

Kane said that 61% of the world’s wind power is produced in Europe. But South America has a huge potential for this alternative source. “Brazil and Argentina have been blessed by nature. In a near future, these countries may be able to produce energy without a single oil drop," he said.

 

Specific problems, such as the case of small islands, were also discussed during the conference. The Chairman of the Alliance of Small Islands States (Aosis), Angus Friday, highlighted how much climate change has played a role in the creation of a new world energy grid. “Climate change is the asteroid that can destroy the world,” he emphasized. He recalled 2004, when Granada was hit by the hurricane Ivan – 19% of the houses, 80% of the agriculture and 70% of the boats were destroyed. “Can nations understand what such devastation means?” To him, biofuels play an important role to mitigate global warming impact.

 

The morning lectures came to a closure with Christine Lins, Secretary-General of the European Renewable Energy Council, who gave an overview of the situation in Europe. According to her, renewable energy must be based on competitiveness, supply security and sustainability.

 

“Europe believes that renewable sources are the sources of the future,” she said. Europe is committed for renewable energy sources to make up 20% of the total by 2020. According to Christine, that will demand an investment of €443 billion.