Sun, wind and water: Brazil's ingredients for the best beaches--and alternative energy

Sustainable Energy

Sun, wind and water: Brazil's ingredients for the best beaches--and alternative energy

The iconic "Christ the Redeemer" statue overlooks the sun-soaked streets of Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Christopher Yost.

Brazil, the third largest consumer of electricity in the Western Hemisphere, is on the brink of energy independence.

How?

Two words: renewable energy.

A new energy plan announced this week by the city government of Sao Paulo sets an ambitious goal of producing 70 percent of it’s electricity from renewables by 2020. The diverse project, requiring $12 billion of private investment, focuses on biofuels, solar, wind, and hydropower, while increasing grid output from 4,800 megawatts to 13,000 megawatts.

The ramifications of energy independence could be profound--including eradicating energy poverty for the millions of Brazilians living without access to electricity in the countries numerous favelas.

Sao Paulo is not alone. The entire country of Brazil is following suit. Brazil is the second-largest producer of biofuels globally and over 80 percent of its electricity comes from hydropower.

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