Brazil’s spending on polluting energy will increase inequality levels

The energy crisis has made blackouts a real possibility, but spending on thermoelectric plants to avoid outages will increase inequality

energy plant inequality
The Sebastianópolis do Sul thermal plant (São Paulo state) produces energy with sugarcane biomass. Photo: Pierre Duarte/Folhapress

Amid one of its largest water crises in almost 100 years, Brazil is once again on the brink of blackouts as chief hydroelectric reservoirs reach dangerously low levels. With an election year looming, the Jair Bolsonaro government responded to the crisis — belatedly, some experts say — by prioritizing the expansion of Brazil’s thermoelectric power network.

Thermoelectric generation costs and pollutes more than making electricity from renewable sources, and the energy shift is likely to push more and more Brazilians under the poverty line in the coming months.

The most recent and severe case of power outages in Brazil...

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