Brazil Tepid on Renewable Energy

 Brazil Tepid on Renewable 
  Energy

Greenpeace claims that
the recent agreements concluded last
month between Brazil and China for the construction of coal-fired
plants and the resumption of the Brazilian nuclear program are
contrary to the position adopted by the country in the past. This
position represents a step backwards for Brazil, says Greenpeace.
by: Nádia
Faggiani

Itaipu

Brazil stands to lose international financing and its leadership position
in the world, if the government defends the inclusion of hydroelectric plants
in its projects to generate renewable energy. This is the opinion of the NGO’s
that are participating in the World Renewable Energy Conference, which is
being held in Bonn, Germany.

According to the advisory
office of the Minister of Energy, Dilma Rousseff, this is the position defended
by the Brazilian government at the Conference, which ends June 4. Rousseff
will also speak on behalf of Latin America and the Caribbean.

For the coordinator of
the Greenpeace energy campaign, Sérgio Dialetachi, Brazil’s position
will give the entire world the impression that the country is not interested
in producing renewable energy or in receiving international support and financing.

Dialetachi said that this
position represents a step backwards from the Rio+10 Conference in Johannesburg,
South Africa, in 2002, when Brazil supported the proposal to raise the share
of renewable energy sources to 10 percent of the global energy matrix by the
year 2010.

At present, 4 percent
of the value of loans made by the World Bank (IBRD), for example, is earmarked
for new renewable sources, and, if this percentage is raised to 10 percent,
the investment can increase from US$ 80 million to US$ 200 million.

"Brazil is the champion
of renewable energy, and we do not need to make the same mistakes as those
committed in planting sugarcane; instead, we can use plants to extract energy
for fuels, the so-called biomass.

"Brazil also has
an eolic energy research center in Pernambuco, and professors from there teach
classes in Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany, the countries that are the
biggest users of wind energy in the world. Despite this, Brazil does not have
a national industry to generate energy from the sun or the wind," laments
the coordinator of the Greenpeace energy campaign.

Dialetachi claims that
the recent agreements concluded last month between Brazil and China for the
construction of coal-fired plants and the resumption of the Brazilian nuclear
program are contrary to the position adopted by the country in the past, when
it led important movements.

A consultant from the
NGO Vitae Civilis, Delcio Rodrigues, asserts that big hydroelectric projects,
in addition to not being sustainable, cause environmental and social impacts.

The NGO’s are proposing
that an international agreement be elaborated at the Bonn Conference for the
exclusive development of new renewable energy sources, with the minimum possible
environmental impact. These include solar and eolic energy, the utilization
of biomass residues, and small hydroelectric plants.

Altogether, representatives
of 90 countries are participating in the encounter. They will assume mutual
commitments and sign a joint declaration that should serve, politically, to
influence the decisions of the IBRD and other international banks.

Nuclear Plant Angra
III

The Minister of Science
and Technology, Eduardo Campos, said June 1, in Rio, that the federal government
should decide by the end of this year whether or not to build the Angra III
nuclear energy plant on the southern coast of the state, where Angra I and
II are already located.

Campos explained that
the decision should emerge before November, when studies ordered by the Ministry
of Mines and Energy, and carried out by a commission appointed specifically
for this purpose, will be concluded.

According to the Minister,
the continuation of Brazil’s Nuclear Program, which in its initial form envisioned
a total of seven nuclear energy plants, some of them in the Northeast region
of the country, also depends upon the decision over the construction of the
Angra plant.

"This issue of continuing
the nuclear program is being studied by the federal government, which ordered
studies for this purpose. This decision is linked to the need for alternative
energy sources, especially now with this matter of the rekindling of the petroleum
crisis."


Nádia Faggiani works for Agência Brasil (AB), the official
press agency of the Brazilian government. Comments are welcome at lia@radiobras.gov.br

Translated
from the Portuguese by David Silberstein.

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