In 1879, the first commercial light bulbs developed by Thomas Edison were sold in the United States. Ten years later, Brazil's first hydropower plant was inaugurated, in the state of Minas Gerais. Since then, the South American country went on to become one of the leading hydropower producers worldwide. Nevertheless, in line with global trends, solar and wind power have been gaining traction in Brazil’s electricity sector.
The sector’s relative independence from fossil fuels stems from the resourceful use of Brazil’s abundant water resources. In fact, hydropower accounted for roughly two thirds of the national electricity generation in 2020. The Itaipu Dam, a binational investment located on the border between Brazil and Paraguay, is the second largest hydroelectric dam in the world based on generation capacity, only behind the Three Gorges Dam in China.
Diversification of the electricity matrix
Despite historically relying on hydropower plants to supply its energy demand, Brazil’s electricity matrix has been shifting in recent years. With its large hydropower potential already mostly exploited, in combination with growing concerns about the social and environmental impacts of dam construction, the country has started to focus investments in solar and wind power. Out of the more than 58 gigawatts of additions to the generation capacity already approved as of February 2022, less than one percent referred to large hydropower. Meanwhile, solar and wind plants combined accounted for 80 percent of additions. By 2026, these two sources are expected to make up roughly 19 percent of Brazil’s electricity capacity.
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In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 29 most important statistics relating to "Electricity in Brazil".