Why saving energy matters to the country and the planet

Renewable sources of energy for Brazil : sun, wind, water and biomass 

Hydroelectric power plants produce over 90% of the electrical energy consumed in Brazil.
They depend on river waters in adequate levels in their ponds to generate energy.
Lack of rainfall, investments and increased consumption resulted in electrical energy rationalization, known as black out, in the years 2001 and 2002.

The construction of new hydroelectric power plants means environmental impacts as large areas need to be flooded, altering the ecosystem.
Trying not to use too much energy during peak hours - between 6 and 9 PM - is necessary to avoid the need to build new energy plants and transmission lines only to serve the demand in that timeframe. New dams mean very elevated social and environmental costs due to flooding land tracts and destroying habitats of animals, plants and entire communities that, many times, are not compensated (resettlement or indemnities). Large hydroelectric power plants flooding immense forest areas emit large amounts of methane to the atmosphere.

A lot of energy is wasted to produce aluminum and paper. Recycling is a way to cooperate to reduce the need to build new dams.

In Brazil, the participation of petroleum in the energy matrix is 45%, followed by hydroelectric sources with 39%.
Petroleum is a non-renewable energy source, as other fossil fuels such as mineral coal and natural gas.
Other non-renewable energy is nuclear (or atomic). Besides expensive, it generates radioactive waste that need to be isolated with unacceptable risks for the environment and human health. There is the risk of accidents and the leakage may cause cancer and genetic mutations in living organisms. To know more about the subject, visit the Greenpeace website. www.greenpeace.org.br/nuclear/

There is only sustainable development with energy coming from new renewable sources.
Small hydroelectric plants can produce energy in a decentralized way with small environmental impact. Such an option can be implemented in several regions of the country making use of natural waterfalls.
The solar and wind energies can be turned into electrical energy.
Solar energy can be an alternative to avoid floods caused by hydroelectric power plants and the pollution caused by petroleum.
The wind energy (eolic) does not produce toxic gases and will never be used up such as petroleum (gasoline, diesel) and coal.
Northeastern Brazil is the region with the highest eolic potential. Such energy is an alternative to complement hydroelectricity, since the windiest period is exactly the one with lack of rainfalls.

Biomass is a clean energy source. It reduces environmental pollution as it uses organic garbage, agricultural remains, wood shaving or vegetal oil. Refuse cane, with its high energetic value, has been used to produce electricity.

The natural conditions of the country favor the investment in a sustainable electrical scenario using the energy of the sun, wind, biomass and water (small hydroelectric plants). Such renewable energies do not need to be imported.
The larger use of renewable energies brings many benefits such as :
- increased diversity of energy offer;
- more job generation in the energy sector and new opportunities in rural regions;
- avoiding the flood of large forest areas therefore preserving biodiversity;
- reduction of pollution and emission of greenhouse effect gases;
- savings for consumers;
- assurance of sustainable energy generation in the long run;
- reduces the risk of new blackouts.

Biofuels are alternatives that can generate a large amount of energy with lower environmental impact.
The best known, developed in Brazil, is the alcohol - or ethanol – produced from sugar cane. The harvest mechanization is fundamental to avoid the burning of the remaining straw and the emission of carbon dioxide in the environment.
In Brazil, there are a large number of oilseeds that can be used to produce bio-diesel such as the oil palm tree, castor oil plant, morichi palm and babassu palm, generating income for small rural producers. We have adequate soil and climate for cultivation. Bio-diesel is non-toxic and is an enormous business opportunity for the country.

Another alternative for clean energy is hydrogen, whose residue after burning is only water vapor.

Learn more : WWF-Brasil, MMEProinfa, Procel, Conpet, Inmetro, Eólica, Cemig, Biodiesel, Coletor solar .
In the Inmetro website, there is a table of consumption and energetic efficiency with many products and brands.

Tips to reduce the waste of electric power

www.natureba.com.br On-line Environmental Education for All