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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