- Advertisement -

By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Due to the severe drought registered in parts of the Center-West and Southeastern regions of Brazil in the past few months, daylight saving time will not be as successful in reducing energy consumption levels as it did last year, say government officials. Savings estimates for this year’s daylight saving time is of R$278 million, well below the R$405 million saved last year during the same period.

Higher temperatures lead Brazilians to the beach and to consume more energy, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
Higher temperatures lead Brazilians to the beach and to consume more energy, photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Creative Commons.

The reason for the reduction in savings is due to the forecast of lower volumes of rainfall and increases in consumer consumption. Brazil’s Electric System National Operator (ONS) reduced on Friday (October 17th) its estimate of rainfall for the country’s Center-West and Southeastern regions, leaving the regions’ water reservoirs with little hope of a speedy recovery of capacity levels until the end of the year.

To add to the negative news, energy consumption in states like Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro increased in the last few weeks due to the atypical high temperatures seen in these states.

“In the Southeast and Center-West region expected (energy consumption) growth rates for the month of October is of 2.5 percent due to the increase in consumption of residential and retail customers,” stated the ONS in its weekly operations bulletin last week.

According to the government agency rainfall fall will be significantly below average in the Southeast and Center-West regions in the next few weeks. With the reduction in rainfall, average reservoir levels in these regions should fall even lower, from 22 percent to 19 percent by the end of October. According to the ONS the level of capacity of reservoirs in the Southeastern region has been falling since June of 2013.

In São Paulo state, for example, the severe drought has led to water rationing programs in many cities and Brazil’s largest city, São Paulo City is under the threat of running out of water by the middle of November if no considerable rainfall is seen by then, say analysts. The state of Rio de Janeiro is also facing water shortage problems, with reservoirs well below their average capacity levels.

Daylight saving time in ten Brazilian states and the capital, Brasilia, started on October 19th and will run until February 22nd, 2015.

- Advertisement -

3 COMMENTS

  1. We need the federal and state and local government to invest in solar power. This will alleviate some of the effects and make up for the increased consumption. Investment in energy storage systems could and should also be made. Brazil experiences far more than enough days of minimum levels of UV and IR exposure to make this more than feasible.

    Programs like we have in the States should be implemented also. Utilities should be required to allow homeowners to install solar and energy storage systems and sell excess power back to the utility at the same rate that they would be paying for it during the same period of the day. Low interest loans should be made available to private homeowners for this purpose. Incentives for new constructions to include solar power should also be legislated.

    For instance: All the apartment complexes and other types of buildings with roof designs that are ideal for solar panel placement. Install enough capacity for the building throughout the day to make it so that the building only requires power supplied from the outside wiring during the night and times of extreme overcast with heat and/or humidity.

    Commercial buildings could be even more enticing. Install enough capacity on the roof and, where possible, the building sides to power the building and supply enough energy for a couple other buildings, using a grid feed/reversible meter so the solar system can supply whatever surplus is generated to other buildings in the area. Split the cost equally between all the energy-purchasing tenants of the building, on the stipulation that they will no longer receive an electrical bill while they are tenants in buildings owned by the utility.

    I can look out my window here in Butantã and see enough buildings with roof designs that would easily support highly productive solar installations.

    Brazil is one of the top 5 or 6 countries in hydro power production. In normal conditions that’s a good thing. During times of elevated heat and extended drought it’s almost a Pyrrhic Victory.

LEAVE A REPLY