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The Environment
Rio+20: Itaipu proves that Hydroelectricity is the best solution for Brazil
Tamanho da letra
04/06/2012

Discussions on the construction of the hydroelectric plant of Belo Monte, in Pará, have been going on for some time. In the meantime, production of Itaipu demonstrates that hydroelectricity is the best solution for Brazil to have large amounts of clean and renewable energy, capable of ensuring its development and improve the population quality of life. 


  
Itaipu produces more than 90 million megawatt-hours (MWh) per year. To generate an equivalent amount of energy would be necessary to use daily 536,000 barrels of oil, the fourth part of all that Brazil produces, or 47 million cubic meters of gas. Besides the cost, the burning of oil or gas volume cause large emissions of pollutants in the atmosphere.
   
In debate in the Temporary Subcommittee of the Senate accompanying the execution of the works of Belo Monte on May 25, Mauricio Tolmasquim, president of the Energy Research Company (EPE), under the Ministry of Mines and Energy, stated that without Belo Monte with a planned installed capacity of 11 megawatts, Brazil will need to build 19 thermal power plants with natural gas.   
   
These plants annually emit 19 million tons of carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse effect, responsible for causing drastic climate changes around the planet. 
  
Cleaner
   
The large participation of Itaipu on the Brazilian market contributes to almost half of the entire national energy matrix is clean, from renewable inputs, particularly hydroelectricity.  
  
Hydroelectric plants are among the sources of electricity generation that emit less Greenhouse Gas. Both a hydroelectric and power plant fuelled by biomass or wind power (winds) launch into the atmosphere just 10 tonnes of CO2 per gig watt-hours (GWh).
  
Yet a nuclear power plant emits 15 tons of CO2 per GWh, while the solar power plant reaches 40 tons. The volume of CO2 launched into the atmosphere is up to 400 tons in the case of gas thermoelectric plant, to 700 tonnes in the oil thermoelectric plant and 900 tonnes for coal thermoelectric plant that works with.  
   
Itaipu and coal
  
The case of Itaipu power plant, with its 14,000 megawatts of installed capacity, is exemplary. If more than 90 million megawatt-hours that were produced by Itaipu were generated by gas thermoelectric power plants, would be launched into the atmosphere about 38 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. If coal power plants generated the same amount of energy, CO2 emissions would reach 85 million tons per year. 
   
The large participation of Itaipu on the Brazilian market - the power plant responded in 2011 by 16.99% of all electricity consumed in the country, besides supplying 72.91% of consumption in Paraguay - contributes to almost half of all national energy matrix to be cleaned from renewable inputs, especially hydroelectricity.

The situation in Brazil is privileged, comparable only in the matter of hydroelectric in the energy matrix, with Norway. In the United States, the largest energy consumer in the world, only 7% of energy is renewable, 6% in Germany, 5% in Japan, and only 2% in Israel.  
  
Expansion is necessary  
  
In defence of Belo Monte, Mauricio Tolmasquim reminds that the expectation is that the Brazilian economy in the coming years grows at annual rates of 5%. With this, the National Interconnected System, which distributes electricity in the country, will have to increase 50% of installed capacity within ten years.  
  
Although there is also need to invest in alternative energy sources including wind, solar and biomass, hydroelectricity energy, by the Brazilian potential and the reliability in the generation, is considered by experts as the best solution for the country, avoiding to increasingly relying on thermal. The Brazilian hydroelectric potential is estimated at 260 gig watts, but only 28% of the total has been explored. 
  
HDI and electricity  
  
Without new sources of electricity, the country cannot achieve the Human Development Index (HDI) similar to developed countries, warns expert Marcos Almeida Prado Lefevre, who was superintendent of Operation of Itaipu for 15 years, and he is currently acting as an author of works published in national and international seminars.  
  
According to Lefevre, in all countries with high HDI, above 0, 9 (the index of Brazil is 0.718), the electricity consumption per capita is more than 5,000 kWh.  
  
Although Brazil is the sixth largest economy of the world, it is in 84th place in the HDI among 187 countries assessed, and has average electricity consumption per capita of less than 2,500 kWh, below the world average (2,730 kWh / capita).  
  
The neighbours Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela have higher consumption. The European average is 6,800 kWh and reaches 14,000 kWh per capita in the United States, which is already considered a waste of energy, mainly because the majority part comes from polluting sources.
  
Millennium Development Goals  
  
Anita Utseth, Deputy Minister of Petroleum and Energy of Norway between 2005 and 2007, states "advance the development of hydroelectricity can be a powerful tool for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, of United Nations, the poverty eradication and ensuring clean drinking water and enough food for all people. "  
  
Without Itaipu, pollution  
   
Regarding the concern about the environmental impact caused by construction of a hydroelectric plant, it is counteracted the benefit of generating clean, renewable energy, without damaging the atmosphere and contribute to the greenhouse effect and its consequences for the climate. 
   
Once again, the numbers collected by the technical area of Itaipu prove what represents the hydroelectric generation, compared to using other sources to produce the same as that obtained at Itaipu since the beginning of its operation.   
   
Between 1984 and April 2012, Itaipu generated a total of 1.971.677.160 MWh, enough to supply the world for a period of 38 days. All that energy, if it were produced by fossil fuels, would spend 11 million 189 thousand barrels / day for a year, which represents more than five times the Brazilian oil production in 2011. 
   
If gas was used to produce this amount of energy, it would take 788 million cubic meters per day for a year, equivalent to 20.5 times the gas consumption in Brazil in 2011.   
   
As production was hydroelectric, not coal, Itaipu has avoided the emission of 1.774 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, equivalent to 9.6 times all the emissions associated with land vehicles in Brazil in 2011.  
  
Likewise, to avoid the use of gas to generate as much electricity, Itaipu has avoided the emission of 788 million tons of CO2 equivalent per  year, equivalent to 9.2 times the emissions of all gasoline  and ethanol vehicles in Brazil in 2011.