Unfazed by entrenched environmental opposition, a threat of war by local indigenous groups, and celebrity lobbying by a handful of Hollywood stars, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is putting the pedal to the metal on a controversial hydroelectric project slated for the country’s Amazon jungle region. Read the rest of this entry ?
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For all their differences, Brazil and its Southern Cone neighbors share a common challenge as they struggle to balance rising energy demand against resource constraints and environmental concerns. Wind and other renewable-energy sources may well be part of the solution, but so far investment in green technologies has been cautious at best.
In size, composition, and structure, the countries’ electricity sectors vary tremendously. Brazil, the largest country in the region, boasts what is by far the most extensive power grid, with installed capacity of roughly 100,000 megawatts (MW)–more than twice the electricity available in nearby Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Chile combined. The “sleeping giant” derives much of that electricity (approximately 80%) from large-scale hydroelectric dams but also generates a modest amount of power (roughly 2,000 MW) from a pair of nuclear plants.