'Brazil Too Reliant on Hydropower' says US Department of Energy
While the country is basking in World Cup fever, Brazil may be overlooking a big impending power crisis, according to a report by the US Department of Energy.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said that while the southern and eastern parts of the country is seeing heavy rainfall (including the World Cup stadiums), the country is seeing the worst drought in last 40 years. “As Brazil hosts the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament over the next month, concerns have been raised as to whether electricity supply will be adequate to meet the increase in demand associated with the tournament. While the drought has persisted in northern Brazil, the south has been inundated with rainfall that has affected some World Cup matches, including those held in Natal”, said a report released by the department.
It further pointed out , “The country depends on hydroelectricity for more than 75 percent of its electric power supply. Much of Brazil's hydroelectric potential lies in the country's Amazon River basin in the north, while Brazil's population centers (and demand for electricity) are largely along the eastern coast, particularly in the southern portion. This reliance on one resource for most of the country's electricity generation, combined with the distant and disparate locations of its population centers, has presented electricity reliability challenges.”
Brazil has spent more than $5 billion to subsidize electric utilities replacing lost hydroelectric generation with fossil fuel-fired generation, including large amounts of liquefied natural gas, and has taken steps to provide backup generation for stadiums. Most sector commentators opine that in case it falls short of power, Brazil can limit supply to other areas to continue uninterrupted power supply for the World Cup locations.
Brazil’s hydropower consumption fell 7 percent last year, according to data published by the energy company BP on Monday.
However, Brazil is the home to the world’s second largest dam by generating capacity, and is on the way to construct the third largest dam on a tributary of Amazon. The former is shared with Paraguay on the Parana River, and with a capacity of 14,000 megawatts (MW), which puts it behind only China’s Three Gorges’ dam which has the capacity of 22,500 MW.
“The 14,000-megawatt Belo Monte dam along the Xingu River, expected to be completed in 2016, will become the second-largest dam in Brazil—and the third-largest dam in the world—at a projected cost of $13 billion,” the EIA said.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.