Brazil's electricity consumption currently stands at about 372 watts per person, a little below the global average of 412 watts per person. Most of the electricity, about 320 watts per person, is from low-carbon sources with hydroelectric power being the most significant contributor at approximately 228 watts per person. The use of wind energy is also noticeable, supplying roughly 43 watts per person. In contrast, fossil energy only accounts for just over 39 watts per person, which is a share nearly divided between gas and coal. Biofuels, solar and nuclear energy each provide close to 30, 12 and 8 watts per person respectively. The low levels of electricity generation compared to the global average may have implications for Brazil's economic performance and quality of life, due to potential power shortages or limitations in powering advanced technologies. However, it is worth noting that Brazil imports over 3% of its electricity, slightly augmenting its domestic supply.
Brazil can look to the examples of countries like Denmark and Sweden, which generate 369 and 363 watts per person from wind energy, respectively, to extend its own wind energy capacity. Being a country with high potential for wind power, similar to Denmark and Sweden, this presents an opportunity to significantly increase the contribution of low-carbon power generation. As for nuclear power, Brazil can learn from countries like France, Finland, and South Korea, which generate 526, 517 and 371 watts per person respectively. Establishing more nuclear plants could help drive up Brazil's currently low nuclear power output.
Looking back on Brazil's history of low-carbon electricity generation, there have been several periods of significant growth, primarily in hydroelectric power. The growth was particularly robust during the late 1970s and early 1980s, with electricity production from hydro sources increasing by 13.8 TWh in 1979 and 16.6 TWh in 1984. Another period of steady growth occurred from 2002 to 2007, peaking with an increase of 25.2 TWh in 2007. However, there have also been notable setbacks. There was a severe drop in hydroelectric generation of 36.5 TWh in 2001, and again between 2013 and 2015, with decreases of 24.4, 17.6, and 13.7 TWh respectively, likely linked to variations in rainfall and water availability for hydro generation. Despite these fluctuations, Brazil's hydroelectric generation rebounded strongly in 2022 with an increase of 65.2 TWh. Apart from hydro, wind power saw a significant increase of 15 TWh in 2021, indicating a growing recognition of this low-carbon energy source.