National Energy Grid
Full Size Map National Electricity Transmission Grid of Brazil(35 kb)
Brazil has installed electric capacity of 73.4 million kilowatts, 85% of which is hydropower (as of January 1, 2001). Of the 321.2 billion kilowatthours (bkwh) generated in Brazil in 2001, 83% was from hydropower (down from 91% in 1999). Brazil ranks consistently as one the world's top hydropower producers. Together with Paraguay, Brazil maintains the world's largest operational hydroelectric complex, the Itaipu facility on the Paraná River, with a capacity of 12,600 megawatts (MW). Brazil's remaining electricity generation capacity comes from coal and an increasing amount from natural gas. Brazil's small northern and larger southern electrical grids were joined in January 1999 into one grid that serves 98% of the country. Brazil's domestic supply is augmented by imports from neighboring Argentina.
Renewable energy likely will continue to play an important role in Brazil's electrification plans. High oil prices, electrical shortages and air pollution problems have led to the development of several projects designed for environmentally sustainable development in rural areas. Ethanol, biomass, hydroelectricity, wind and solar power generation are to be the main sources for rural electrification projects throughout the country.
Proinfa Alternative Electricity Sources
In April 2002, the Brazilian government passed Law 10.438 (or Proinfa). Proinfa is an energy program designed to stimulate
development of biomass cogeneration, wind, small hydro generators by guaranteeing power sale contracts to the first 3300 MW of projects which use these technologies. Under the program, Electrobrás will buy electricity produced from the different renewable resources under contracts up to 15 years. In July 2003, the Brazilian Ministry of Energy and Mines published preliminary prices for power to be purchased through the Proinfa program. The government did not indicate when these prices would be definite.