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Developing Countries and Global Climate Change – Electric power options in Brazil

This report analyses Brazil's options for meeting electricity demand through to 2015. The report provides a demand forecast and detailed assessment of available power supplies. The authors suggest that Brazil's energy policy may secure its exceptional role as an environmental leader among developing countries.

Because Brazil generates over 90 per cent of its electricity from hydrodams, its per capita carbon emissions are less than half the world average. Many of its new power plants, however, will probably use natural gas. Government and industry decision-makers are greatly concerned about meeting Brazil's future demand at least-cost — including to the environment. Current reforms in the power sector, designed mainly to cut costs, have catalysed privatisation, eliminate tariff equalisation across regions, and supply contracts between power generation and distribution utilities.

Three policy cases — advanced technologies, local environmental controls, and carbon elimination — illustrate that without alternative policies, Brazil will move towards natural gas fired power plants, causing greenhouse gas emissions to rise rapidly.