Brazil hoping El Nino bolsters hydroelectric power reservoir levels

The impending El Nino weather patterns will help allay Brazil’s shortage of water for hydroelectric power production, government officials said this past week.

Facing prolonged drought conditions, some analysts have predicted the country’s hydropower plants could face a total shutdown by the end of the year due to water shortages should measures not be taken to decrease consumption.

The projection is concerning for Brazil, where hydro accounts for about 75% of the country’s total installed capacity, though Minister of Energy Edison Lobao said there is still an average of about 5.5 GW in reserve to meet excess consumer demand.

“Major hydroelectric dams have faced an unfavorable climate situation, but the grid has the means to ensure power supply to the country,” Lobao said in a statement.

El Nino is expected to help refill Brazil’s reservoirs by providing higher-than-average rainfall — particularly within the country’s southern regions.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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