Monday, 1 July 2013

Brazilian indigenous people turn to wind power as dam alternative
13 May 2013

The indigenous people of Brazil's most northerly region have been conducting a wind power trial, in a bid to convince the government that it's a realistic alternative to the country's controversial hydroelectric dams.

Roraima is both the northernmost and least populated of Brazil's states, wedged between Venezuala and Guyana. Internationally, it's most well known for Mount Roraima, a 31km2 table mountain with 400m-tall sides that inspired both Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World and Pixar's Up. It's also the site of some of Brazil's highest-average wind speeds, coming down from the mountains and speeding across the grasslands and savannah in the east of the state at an average of between six and nine metres per second according to the Wind Energy Atlas of Brazil.

As reported by Climate News Network, the Makuxi people think this might give them a chance to put forward a different idea for the Brazilian government's Lights For All programme, which has been trying to bring electricity to off-the-grid households since 2003. The latest figures, from 2003 to 2011, record 14.3 million people living in 2.8 million households now enjoying the benefits of reliable grid power--so much that it's actually reversed the migration of people from rural areas to cities. Most of that grid electricity--82.7%--has come from hydroelectric dams.

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