Brazil Hydro Plants May Go Offline From Drought, Bolsonaro Warns
(Bloomberg) -- President Jair Bolsonaro is urging Brazilians to conserve energy to avert power outages at hydroelectric facilities, the latest sign of how an epic drought is threatening Latin America’s biggest economy.
“I’m calling on you who are at home now: I’m sure you can turn off a light source at your home. That would help conserve energy and water,” the president said on a Facebook live late Thursday. “Water levels are at 10% to 15% in most of those hydroelectric plants, we’re at the limit. Some will stop working if this water crisis continues.”
Extreme weather events are affecting hydroelectricity around the world this year. Dams are going dry in Brazil and in the western U.S. due to droughts. Meanwhile, flooding in the Himalayas damaged a dam in India, and nearly ruptured one in Germany.
Brazil relies on hydroelectricity for more than 60% of its power, and the drought has forced the country to increase output of more expensive and carbon-intensive electricity from natural gas and diesel, driving annual inflation to more than 9% and raising the prospect of additional interest-rate hikes by the central bank.
There are concerns that the country may need to start rationing electricity if the dry season intensifies and extends beyond November.
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