• 4 hours EIA Weekly Inventory Data Due Wednesday, Despite Govt. Shutdown
  • 8 hours Oklahoma Rig Explodes, Leaving Five Missing
  • 10 hours Lloyd’s Sees No Room For Coal In New Investment Strategy
  • 13 hours Gunmen Kidnap Nigerian Oil Workers In Oil-Rich Delta Area
  • 15 hours Libya’s NOC Restarts Oil Fields
  • 16 hours US Orion To Develop Gas Field In Iraq
  • 3 days U.S. On Track To Unseat Saudi Arabia As No.2 Oil Producer In the World
  • 3 days Senior Interior Dept. Official Says Florida Still On Trump’s Draft Drilling Plan
  • 3 days Schlumberger Optimistic In 2018 For Oilfield Services Businesses
  • 3 days Only 1/3 Of Oil Patch Jobs To Return To Canada After Downturn Ends
  • 4 days Statoil, YPF Finalize Joint Vaca Muerta Development Deal
  • 4 days TransCanada Boasts Long-Term Commitments For Keystone XL
  • 4 days Nigeria Files Suit Against JP Morgan Over Oil Field Sale
  • 4 days Chinese Oil Ships Found Violating UN Sanctions On North Korea
  • 4 days Oil Slick From Iranian Tanker Explosion Is Now The Size Of Paris
  • 4 days Nigeria Approves Petroleum Industry Bill After 17 Long Years
  • 4 days Venezuelan Output Drops To 28-Year Low In 2017
  • 4 days OPEC Revises Up Non-OPEC Production Estimates For 2018
  • 5 days Iraq Ready To Sign Deal With BP For Kirkuk Fields
  • 5 days Kinder Morgan Delays Trans Mountain Launch Again
  • 5 days Shell Inks Another Solar Deal
  • 5 days API Reports Seventh Large Crude Draw In Seven Weeks
  • 5 days Maduro’s Advisors Recommend Selling Petro At Steep 60% Discount
  • 5 days EIA: Shale Oil Output To Rise By 1.8 Million Bpd Through Q1 2019
  • 5 days IEA: Don’t Expect Much Oil From Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Before 2030
  • 6 days Minister Says Norway Must Prepare For Arctic Oil Race With Russia
  • 6 days Eight Years Late—UK Hinkley Point C To Be In Service By 2025
  • 6 days Sunk Iranian Oil Tanker Leave Behind Two Slicks
  • 6 days Saudi Arabia Shuns UBS, BofA As Aramco IPO Coordinators
  • 6 days WCS-WTI Spread Narrows As Exports-By-Rail Pick Up
  • 6 days Norway Grants Record 75 New Offshore Exploration Leases
  • 6 days China’s Growing Appetite For Renewables
  • 6 days Chevron To Resume Drilling In Kurdistan
  • 7 days India Boosts Oil, Gas Resource Estimate Ahead Of Bidding Round
  • 7 days India’s Reliance Boosts Export Refinery Capacity By 30%
  • 7 days Nigeria Among Worst Performers In Electricity Supply
  • 7 days ELN Attacks Another Colombian Pipeline As Ceasefire Ceases
  • 7 days Shell Buys 43.8% Stake In Silicon Ranch Solar
  • 7 days Saudis To Award Nuclear Power Contracts In December
  • 7 days Shell Approves Its First North Sea Oil Project In Six Years
Alt Text

The Mysterious Company Behind Kyrgyzstan's Hydro Disaster

Kyrgyzstan’s hydropower drama has reached…

Alt Text

Canada Aims To Solve U.S. Nuclear Woes

Canada is bidding to replace…

Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam, Bad Idea?

Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam, Bad Idea?

Of the four BRIC nations, so beloved of Wall St. as the world’s economic future, only one, the Russian Federation, is a major energy exporter.

India and China are scouring the globe for energy imports.

Brazil, which two years ago became a modest hydrocarbon exporter, still needs to feed the rising energy needs of its population.

To that end, in Pará state in the Amazonian basin, Brazilian workers are feverishly laboring at the $14.4 billion Belo Monte dam on the Xingu river to complete the world’s largest hydroelectric facility, which, will generate 11,233 megawatts. When completed, Belo Monte will become the world’s third-largest dam generating electricity, exceeded only by China’s Three Gorges (20 megawatts) and Itaipu (14 megawatts), on the Brazilian border with Paraguay.

Hooray, right?

Depends who you talk to.

Norte Energia, the winning consortium of state-controlled firms and pension funds, has surmounted all legal challenges up to now. But not surprisingly, locals, including the Amerindian activist group Xingu Vivo (“Living Xingu”), have garnered some global heavyweight support, including U.S. filmmaker James Cameron, who has compared the Belo Monte dam-builders to the ecological villains in his blockbuster movie “Avatar.”

But wait a minute.

Related article: Russian Concerns over Central Asia Threaten Kyrgyzstan Hydroelectric Plant

Brazil was one of the first countries in the world to get into renewable energy, in the form of ethanol in the wake of the 1973 Arab oil embargo, and is now the world’s leading producer. Now, 46 percent of Brazil’s energy comes from renewable energy sources, and hydroelectric power plants currently produce over 85 percent of the nation’s electrical energy. In line with the current geopolitical buzz phrase “national energy security,” Brazil’s government has decided to press forward not only with Belo Monte but other new hydroelectric dams to guarantee the country’s energy security.

Well, now time for some bad PR. On 3 May 200 Amazon Indians occupied one of the three Belo Monte building sites, demanding that the Brazilian government hold prior consultations with indigenous peoples before building dams that affect their lands and livelihoods.

The legal disputes began in 1976, but last year, Brazil’s Supreme Court came down strongly in favor of the Belo Monte project, effectively leaving the opposition out of options.

The protest includes 100 Munduruku Indians from the Tapajos river, the only major river in the Amazon basin with no dams, but where the Brazilian government intends to construct a dozen more to meet Brazil's rapidly rising electricity demands.

And herein lies the crux of the issue. “The (Tsapajos is) only major river in the Amazon basin with no dams.”

The question arises, “qui bono?”

Not the Xingu, Munduruku, Juruna, Kayapo, Xipaya, Kuruaya, Asurini, Parakana and Ara Indian tribes which will be discomfited and displaced by Belo Monte and the other proposed hydroelectric projects.

Not only Brazilians, who will see unique cultures overwhelmed by the electrical needs of their more advanced consumer brethren, but in the end, people worldwide who still view human culture as more diverse than those aspiring to an apartment with electric power and a car in the garage.

Related article: Iran Abandons Chinese Help, to Build World’s Highest Hydroelectric Plant Alone

Brazil’s hydroelectric output already dwarfs that of other countries, but for those interested in increasing the nation’s electrical power grid, two-thirds of its hydro potential is untapped.
The bad news is that most of it lies in currently pristine rivers in the Amazon basin and of Brazilia’s 48 planned dams, 30 are in the Amazonian rainforest.

What do the protestors want?

According to a letter sent to the Brazilian government, the protestors said that Belo Monte's development has been progressing without consent or input from indigenous groups. "We want dialogue, but you are not letting us speak. This is why we are occupying your dam building site. You need to stop everything and simply listen to us. What we want is simple. You need to uphold the law and promote enacting legislation on free, prior and informed consent for indigenous peoples. Until that happens, you need to stop all construction, studies and police operations in the Xingu, Tapajos and Teles Pires rivers. And then you need to consult us."

Given the potential impact of the project, hardly sounds like an extreme request.

By. John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com

Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • SA Kiteman on May 15 2013 said:
    The energy source with BY FAR the smallest physical AND carbon foot-prints is the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Recycler. It is the leanest, cleanest, greenest proven reliable source bar none.
  • Tamsyn Ayre on February 25 2014 said:
    Would you say there are ANY benefits to the building of Belo Monte? Obviously the cleaner energy and increased water supply go without saying, but is there any way the people can benefit from this?
  • Minwoo Kim on July 03 2015 said:
    Floating solar power systems are wonderful ideas for Brazil. And it’s very important to maintain effectively same direction and position on the water for floating solar plants. Because directional change of solar panels reduces electricity production. So floating solar plants also need the directional control mooring systems for their parked positions. Azimuth and position change of floating solar plants caused by wind, waves and external forces. Restoring Force Strengthened Mooring System for floating solar plants has been created in South Korea. This Mooring System generates Restoring Force immediately when floating solar plants are being rotated or moved on the water.

    In addition, you have to reduce vibration to install floating solar plants. Because, it can make micro-cracks to floating solar panels and the durability problem of floating solar plants. The risk of power loss in PV modules due to micro cracks is increasing.

    Vibrations caused by wind, waves and external forces. New Type Floating Body Stabilizer has been created in South Korea. The Floating Body Stabilizers generate drag force immediately when floating solar plants are being rolled, pitched and yawed on the water.

    Recently, Restoring Force Strengthened Mooring Systems and Floating Body Stabilizers have been used for floating solar plants in South Korea.

    You can see them in Ochang Dam natural reservoir, South Korea. I N I WORLD

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News