New Report Highlight Brazil’s Sustainable Energy Mix

New preliminary data from Brazil’s Energy Research Company (EPE), which is due to issue the National Energy Balance Report (BEN 2012), reveals that 88.8 percent of electricity supplied in Brazil in 2011 came from renewable sources, which represents an increase of 2.5 percentage on 2010 figures. The new numbers indicate a reduction in Brazil’s production of bioelectricity from sugarcane biomass due to a 9.8 percent decrease in harvest, as well as a 6.3 percent increase in hydroelectric production.

Despite the decrease in sugarcane biomass year over year, it remained at a high level of 44.1 percent of Brazil’s energy matrix, much above the world average of 13.3 percent, according to the IEA. Wind power saw the biggest increase, up 24.2 percent between 2010 and 2011, reaching approximately 2,700 gigawatt-hours (GWh) in 2011.

The domestic supply of energy in 2011 rose 1.3 percent over 2010, reaching 272.3 million tons of oil equivalent (TOE). At the same time, Gross Domestic Product expanded 2.7 percent, according to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). These figures indicate that Brazil spent less energy to produce the same amount of goods and services. The demand energy per capita stood at 1.41 TOE in 2011, increasing approximately 0.5 percent since 2011. Total energy consumption in Brazil, by both individuals and companies, increased by 2.6 percent over the previous year, with a corresponding domestic supply of 228.7 million TOE in 2011.

Unlike several developed countries, such as the US and Canada, it’s deforestation that produces most of Brazil’s emissions (up to 75 percent). For that reason, the recent change in the country’s Forest Code, which was criticized by the country’s environmentalists and the general public as a license to cut trees, has become a national debate. The construction of Belo Monte, a massive dam in the Amazon, has also been heavily criticized due to environmental as well as human rights issues, since 40,000 Indians will be displaced. These are likely to be two hotly debated issues during the Rio+20.

Image credit: Revista Brasilis