Brazil’s energy matrix has relied more on "clean" sources Photo: Anna J. Calaf

Brazil’s energy matrix has relied more on wind power. Photo: Anna J. Calaf

The history of the Brazilian Northeast is undeniably connected to the region’s adverse climatic conditions. For decades, one of Brazil’s poorest regions was haunted by droughts – it has the lowest rainfall in the country. Most of the region is covered by the caatinga, a desert-like biome.

Droughts form such an integral part of the region that the late writer Guimarães Rosa once wrote that Northeastern people are “arid, hard, and dry – just like their land.” Droughts were the primary reason for multiple southbound migrations in the 20th century. And now, those migrations are happening again.

Official data reveals that Brazil may be experiencing its worst drought cycle in over a century, as the region braces itself for its 7th consecutive year of insufficient rainfall. Almost 100 percent of the region has been affected by severe droughts, and half of Northeastern cities have declared states of emergency. The last time the region experienced six consecutive years of droughts was between 1979 and 1983 – but even back then, it rained more than it is now.

</p> <p>That is why those in the northeast have been witnessing the popularization of wind power plants, which has pushed Brazil into the eighth position worldwide in wind power generation, according to the <a href="http://gwec.net/global-figures/graphs/">Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC)</a>. Unilateral and strong winds have made the region perfect for this kind of renewable source.</p> <p>In 2015, Brazil committed to increasing the rate of renewable energy sources it uses from 28 to 33 percent by 2030. The goal includes sources like ethanol, biomass, wind and solar power – but excludes hydroelectric plants, which cause major social and environmental impacts due to the need to build large dams.</p> <p>That goal, while positive, is not very ambitious, according to <a href="http://www.ebc.com.br/noticias/2015/12/dependente-de-hidreletricas-brasil-quer-mais-energias-renovaveis">Greenpeace</a>. The international NGO points out that the growth of energy production from “clean” sources has rapidly grown in the country.</p> <p>In January, Brazil initiated the process to join the International Renewable Energy Agency, a political move aimed at placing Latin America’s biggest economy at the forefront of the world’s energy transitioning process.</p> <p>Here’s a <a href="https://infogram.com/brazils-energy-matrix-1h7j4do0kx192nr">breakdown</a> of Brazil’s energy matrix:</p> <p><script id="infogram_0_a4f2557c-382f-42c9-91fe-1ff119452736" title="Copy: Brazil&amp;amp;#39;s energy matrix" src="https://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed.js?SB0" type="text/javascript"></script></p> <div style="padding:8px 0;font-family:Arial!important;font-size:13px!important;line-height:15px!important;text-align:center;border-top:1px solid #dadada;margin:0 30px"><a href="https://infogram.com/a4f2557c-382f-42c9-91fe-1ff119452736" style="color:#989898!important;text-decoration:none!important;" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Copy: Brazil&#8217;s energy matrix</a><br /> <a href="https://infogram.com" style="color:#989898!important;text-decoration:none!important;" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer">Infogram</a></div> <p>

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MoneyApr 10, 2018

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