Brazilian trade group urges hydroelectric project development

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The development Brazil’s hydroelectric power sector was a key topic of discussion during FIESP’s 14th International Meeting of Energy in Sao Paulo.

FIESP, or the Federation of Industry in Sao Paulo, is an organization that represents the industries within the Brazilian state.

Speaking at the meeting’s keynote earlier this week, FIESP energy director Carlos Cavalcanti said Brazil must increase its hydroelectric capacity for the sake of the country’s industry.

“The country is wasting the chance to produce cheaper electric energy in favor of energy that is more expensive and polluting,” Cavalcanti said.

Cavalcanti also criticized some of the environmental policies affecting Brazilian hydro development, particularly for projects dependent on reservoirs.

“FIESP defends reservoirs among the alternatives of expanding the supply of electricity, as hydroelectricity is the only source that combines safety, affordable price and low emission of greenhouse gasses,” Cavalcanti said.

Hydropower’s potential was echoed by Ministry of Mines and Energy Executive Secretary Marcio Zimmermann, who said concern for the country’s energy security must become a national priority.

“It is a discussion that cannot simply be manipulated by ideological aspects external to the interests of Brazilian society,” Zimmerman said.

According to Zimmerman, Brazil’s demand for energy will double within the next 15 years.

“It is not difficult to understand why the Brazilian power sector has received some of the most foreign investment in recent years,” he said.

Hydropower’s ancillary benefits are also crucial as countries like Brazil move toward improving undeveloped areas, World Water Council (WWC) President Benedito Braga said.

“The challenge is to use environmental capital in a less impactful way,” Braga said. “But there is a correlation between water infrastructure and economic growth.”

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