Environment

The underexplored risks of hydroelectric power

Brazil's energy matrix is overly reliant on hydroelectric power. While a comparatively clean energy source, it is not without its dangers — which Brazil is experiencing after its driest summer in 91 years

hydroelectric dam Itaipu dam. Photo: Bayazed/Shutterstock
Itaipu dam. Photo: Bayazed/Shutterstock

Almost two-thirds of the energy produced in Brazil comes from hydroelectric plants. They are among the cleanest sources available, capable of producing much more than solar or wind power stations.

But they are not harmless.

In areas of Brazil purposefully flooded to create vast hydroelectric reservoirs, nature is drastically transformed: the climate changes, fish species disappear, animals flee, and trees rot. Not to mention the social impacts — as the construction of these massive lakes often involves displacing thousands of families. In Brazil, around 33,000 people have been forced from their homes by hydroelectric plants, according to the Movement for People...

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