Most of it is hydropower. But most good hydropower sites are already tapped, so we shouldn't expect this source growth to keep pace in the future. So, to keep these numbers good, it's necessary to crank up the deployment of solar panels and wind turbines a lot.
Also solve the deforestation problem for good, otherwise Brazil will shoot its own feet by causing deforestation-induced droughts to decrease available hydropower.
Not to mention some of it's hydropower is dirtier than coal in terms of methane & co2 produced.
Brazil is sitting in a pretty optimal position, though. Solar & wind is currently by far the cheapest energy source, if you can deal with the intermittency. And with so much hydropower, Brazil can slow down hydro power when the sun is shining and speed it up when it isn't.
You usually need to maintain flow in your rivers so you can't shut dams down completely and use hydro as pure storage, but the ratio of storage:generation on a dam can be adjusted.
This is no doubt a milestone we should celebrate. At the same time, the Brazilian beef industry is the driving force behind slash-and-burn expansion of agricultural land into the rainforest, so Brazil is still a massive contributor to climate change.
> the Brazilian beef industry is the driving force behind slash-and-burn expansion of agricultural land into the rainforest
I'd put it on par with landgrabbers (grileiros, as they are called in Brazil). A lot of devastation happens in public lands, that are stolen using fake documents and the help of corrupt property registries (the term grileiro comes from grilo, cricket in portuguese, as it's said a common practice by landgrabbers was to store forged property titles in boxes full of crickets, so the generated dirt and chewing by the insects would give the forgeries the appearance of authentic, ancient documents). Any traditional populations are harassed and threatened until expelled. Then the bulldozers, chainsaws and cattle are deployed against the forest, to create facts on the ground to reinforce fake property claims. Cattle ranching helps the bottom line of the criminals, but the largest gains are from taking public lands and further selling them as if it were private property. Brazil should end its obsolete "cartório" property registry system and migrate is record keeping to public institutions, fully geolocated, to end this registry tampering.
Actual article: https://www.riotimesonline.com/brazil-hits-92-renewable-ener...
The power went out every now and then while I was in Brazil last year. Costa Rica was quite a bit while I was living there.
I’m not sure I can agree to be excited about an arbitrary milestone without equivalence to expectations.
> The power went out every now and then while I was in Brazil last year.
Brazil went into a privatization craze from late 90s onwards, and most formerly state owned utilities became private concessions. The new owners cut maintenance and upgrade budgets to the bone, and over the years many sections of the grid became seriously degraded.
Which have 0 relations with power generation. There's no lack of energy in Brazil.
More likely you went to a state with bad infrastructure (or it was during a storm, pretty possible).
While it's good for the power grid to be mostly renewable energy and it may be a great milestone, let's not forget that without conversion of vehicles to renewable energy Brazil is still running its total energy requirements mostly on fossil fuels.
I don't know the numbers but I don't doubt diesel for trucks makes up a lot and perhaps most of the energy consumption in the country.
Thankfully, the federal government seems to be taking notice and railways are a priority for the new PAC  (_Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento_, or program for growth acceleration).
It's not much but it's a start.
That is untrue. 27% of gas is ethanol, and virtually all cars run on both gas and ethanol. Trucks use diesel, sure, but the amount of cars running on ethanol is not negligible. So while you would still need to renew the automotive fleet to electric vehicles to tap into that, Brazil is already using renewable fuel sources for cars.
Not to mention that converting all cars to electricity will put more pressure on the electric distribution infrastructure which in itself will require more investments and will cause environmental impact invariably.
Brazil is truly "samba"-rific, hitting a high note with 92.4% of its electricity by renewables. It seems they're not just good at producing great music and football talent. Obrigado, Brazil, for showing us how it's done!
Isn't this just cycling carbon in ecosystem? Same as planting tree on 100 year scale is pointless... I would imagine that hydro is ~neutral on 100 year scale, while coal is not, since we introduce carbon into ecosystem. What am I missing?
Produces methane, not CO2 because the plants decompose in an oxygen free environment. Because of the cycling of water throughout the year, during the dry seasons plants grow along the shoreline (which varies considerably because of the use of hydro), and then are covered up during the rainy season. This can be hundreds of kms every year.
It is not dirtier. In the first week of operation it is dirtier, but then at some point it crosses a threshold and becomes permanently less dirty. As that article you link to attests.
Uh, no. Nowhere in that article do they mention coal. Not do they do not do a comparison of hydro plant and fossil fuel plant emissions per megawatt-hour generated.
"As a result of the methane released from its vast reservoir, proportional to its output, the Balbina Dam emits ten times more greenhouse gases than a coal plant."
If scientists can't agree on the impact of methane, they probably can't say whether it is worse than coal or not.
Given the projected savannization of much of the Amazon Rainforest, and the current drought being a preview of that, I don't think it's safe to assume the staying power of it's hydro. Damming of rivers also has drammatic impacts on riverine ecosystems which again coupled with the projected drier future gives me a lot of pause
ethanol produces more emissions than regular gas. the only thing ethanol is good for is as a farming subsidy.
Generally, that is true BUT...
In Brazil there is a huge manufacture of sugar with excess baggasse that is used to power sugar extraction/drying and provide heat for alcohol distillation. There is a related industry of extracting leftover sugars, fermenting them, and making alcohol in rural agricultural regions, where the infrastructure for gasoline and diesel didn't exist 20-30 years ago. As a result, there is a lot of infrastructure for distributing locally produced 95% alcohol for transport (and you need to have specific gravity measured at the pump!). Unlike fertilized corn/grain alcohol from the midwest, this is not subsidized and still less expensive that gasoline in many parts of rural Brazil.
Corn ethanol end to end does, but does sugarcane ethanol in the tropics?
Corn ethanol, sure. But in Brazil most ethanol comes from sugarcane, the has much larger yields than corn. There's some biodiesel too, but IIRC it is problematic, like corn ethanol.
Methane isn't great, but unlike CO2 is has a pretty short lifetime in the atmosphere (just 12 years). So the impact of the methane release from hydro is basically static rather than an ever increasing problem.
This is not true! Methane is not only 84x more warming than CO2, it is at a record high at <1900ppb and rising, the current level is higher than the RCP 4.5 warming scenario by the IPCC (which is in the middle level of a warming scenario), and there is evidence that the atmospheric lifespan might be increasing
It's continuously releasing methane, and methane degrades into.... CO2.
> So the impact of the methane release from hydro is basically static rather than an ever increasing problem.
You can also say the same thing about the coal plant.
That’s extremely misleading to the point of being false. The dam is creating zero carbon and Methane breaks down to CO2 which is then counted as part of its global warming impact on some timescale.
When you remove the dam the total global warming impact from all the methane produced over a ~100 year lifespan quickly goes to 0. That doesn’t happen from a coal power plant.
~100 years still too late. In 2050 we already risk catastrophic impacts if we keep business as usual.
This is going to depend very heavily on where the dam is placed. Balbina is particularly bad because it sunk a ton of organic material with a bunch of acreage taken up.
Almost a worst case for a dam really.
I don't know that the dams in Canada are any better in terms of sunk organic material Williston reservoir in BC and the Manicouagan Reservoir are nearly as big and they didn't clear either of them. The Smallwood Reservoir is 3 times the size of Balbina's.
Yes he is using as an example what is probably the most inefficient dam in the world.
The world also eats way way too much sugar and all that sugar production isn't necessary.
Oh cool! I didn't know that. Thank you
This is what my quick google turned up .
> A molecule of methane traps more heat than a molecule of CO2, but methane has a relatively short lifespan of 7 to 12 years in the atmosphere, while CO2 can persist for hundreds of years or more.
Doesn't mean it's correct though so I'd be happy to see different thinking on this.
That being said, IIRC, isn't one of the models for the increasing methane the melting permafrost ? So the levels are somewhat expected to be increasing pretty rapidly as a result of global warming in general.
https://climate.mit.edu/ask-mit/why-do-we-compare-methane-ca... "Over 20 years, the methane would trap about 80 times as much heat as the CO2. Over 100 years, that original ton of methane would trap about 28 times as much heat as the ton of CO2."
So converting a bunch of atmospheric CO2 to methane evey year is not good.
It began operating in February 1989 making it 35 years old and thus it’s currently adding in effect 1/8th the net methane as year one and that keeps dropping every year. As only ~13% of the methane it released 35 years ago is still around.
We can reduce atmospheric methane by a trivial amount if we removed it early, but it would currently be replaced by fossil fuels a net loss for the environment.
Well, shoot, that's awful.