• January 2015
    M T W T F S S
    « Dec   Feb »
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    262728293031  
  • Pages

  • Marginalia

  • Accumulations

Brazilian Electricity Coverage | Praying For Brain

Three versions of the same headline, complete with contrafactual

Three versions of the same headline, with contrary-to-fact conditionals in common

Source: Brasil 24/7

Topic: Blackouts and electricity rationing in Brazil

Rule of thumb: If the headline contains a contrary-to-fact conditional — «may», «could» «might»– ask yourself why they want you to feed your head with unproven suppositions rather than the wealth of facts unto which the (stifling) day is sufficient.

The temporary cutbacks in electrical energy distribution by the National System Operator (ONS) yesterday, a result of peak consumption driven by stifling heat nationwide, it has rekindled a hope in the establishment press: the spectacle of Dilma, a former Minister of Mines and Energy, decreeing rationing similar to that declared by President Cardoso in 2000; a headline in O Globo foresees fresh rolling blackouts, while a specialist featured in interviews with Valor and the Estado de S. Paulo foresees the possibility of rationing.

The power outage yesterday affected ten Brazilian states and was triggered by an overload in the system, caused by excessive consumption as a result of record temperatures in the major cities. It has rekindled a hope of the opposition and its allies in the establishment media: That Dilma, former Minister of Mines and Energy, will implement rationing, as ex-president FHC (Cardoso) did in 2000. In the Estado de S. Paulo and Valor (a joint venture of the Folha and Globo groups), the star of the day was consultant Mario Veiga, who points to the “growing risk” of rationing in 2015.

Veiga was the guest of prominent — and in some circles deeply despised — Globo economic commentator Miriam Leitão.

Valor International, in fractured English, also exploits the theme of high anxiety in its note pra inglês ver:

With new blackouts expected, country fears power rationing

In O Globo, the top headline of the day speculates about fresh outages throughout the year, a situation the government has ruled out.

(It just so happens that energy regulator ANEEL published a report to the contrary today, though not in time for the morning edition, it seems).

According to Minister of Mines and Energy Eduardo Braga, there will be no energy shortages, but energy will be more expensive because the thermoelectric backup plants are being brought on line as hydroelectric generators run dry.

For the opposition, the possibility of rationing would be a symbolic victory over Dilma, given that one of her campaign promises in 2010 and 2014 was that she avoided blackouts like those of 2000, based on a planned expansion of the electrical sector, including new hydroelectric plants — Madeira, Belo Monte and Angra 3 — as well as renewable energy programs. For the time being, what Brazil has experienced is a brief blackout, but the cheering section for [water and energy] rationing among the press is unmistakable.

Remembering The Cardoso Blackout

A didactic treatment of the 2000 episode is presented by Brasil Escola.

It was FHC’s final year in office and presidential elections were scheduled for the following year. The energy crisis was principally due to a lack of  planning in the sector and the lack of investments in generation and distribution of energy. During his two mandates, FHC attempted to realize a series of measures to reduce the size of the government which included the privatization of various state-owned companies. Among these were the electricity distributors, an essential element in national economic planning, since industry and other business sectors depend on them. In addition to this, there was a continuous growth of energy usage due to population growth and increased production in the industrial sector.

Another factor that aggravated the situation was the fact that more than 90% of electricity in Brazil was produced by hydroelectric plants, which depend on rain to maintain their reservoirs at an adequate level for generation. In that year, however, rain  was scarce and the level of the reservoirs was low. Additionally, a shortage in transmission lines prevented the government from transferring power from generators with a surplus to areas where hydroelectrics lacked inputs.

The Wikipedia article on the 2000 apagão is useful for its timeline and description of incidents.

In early 2013, Edu Guimarães dedicated his column to anticipating the current situation with some precision, especially as it has to do with media strategy. Four major national newspaper groups headlining in lockstep and burying the lead and the counterpoint — the availability of the thermoelectric option, for example. [….]

Optimism at ANEEL

aneel

As to the media, it is interesting that the Big Four newspapers seem to have ignored the release today of the annual report by ANEEL, the national electricity regulator. ANEEL predicts significant growth in the capacity of the energy grid.

Installed capacity in Brazil in 2014 reached 133,000 MW from 202 hydroelectric plants, 1935 thermoelectric, 228 wind-powered plants, two nuclear plants, 487 Small Hydroelectric Centers and 311 solar power plants. The data is available in an ANEEEL oversight report which sets forth the modernization of Brazil’s generation park as of 31 December 2014. The hydroelectric sector predominates, responsible for 62.80% of the installed capacide, followed by thermoelectric, with 28.25%, and the Small Hydorelectric Centers, with 3.58%.  … In 2015, ANEEL estimates an installed capacity of between 140,900 MW and 141,200 MW.

With capacity on the rise, and, by the way, a lot of work on transmission in intervening years, is it really enough to drive a man to drink? The Wikipedian (2007):

Brazil’s transmission system is gaining growing importance since adequate transmission capacity is essential to manage the effects regional droughts, allowing to move power from areas where rainfall is plentiful. As a matter of fact, the rationing that occurred in Brazil during 2001-2002 (See The 2001-2002 crisis below), could have largely been averted if there had been adequate transmission capacity between the south (excess supply) and the southeast (severe deficit)

The Cardoso Blackout Redux

A didactic treatment of the 2000 episode is presented by Brasil Escola.

It was FHC’s final year in office and presidential elections were scheduled for the following year. The energy crisis was principally due to a lack of  planning in the sector and the lack of investments in generation and distribution of energy. During his two mandates, FHC attempted to realize a series of measures to reduce the size of the government which included the privatization of various state-owned companies. Among these were the electricity distributors, an essential element in national economic planning, since industry and other business sectors depend on them. In addition to this, there was a continuous growth of energy usage due to population growth and increased production in the industrial sector. Another factor that aggravated the situation was the fact that more than 90% of electricity in Brazil was produced by hydroelectric plants, which depend on rain to maintain their reservoirs at an adequate level for generation. In that year, however, rain  was scarce and the level of the reservoirs was low. Additionally, a shortage in transmission lines prevented the government from transferring generation from generators with a surplus to areas where hydroelectrics lacked inputs.

Optimism at ANEEL

aneel

As to the media, it is interesting that the Big Four newspapers seem to have ignored the release today of the annual report by ANEEL, the national electricity regulator. ANEEL predicts significant growth in the capacity of the energy grid.

Installed capacity in Brazil in 2014 reached 133,000 MW from 202 hydroelectric plants, 1935 thermoelectric, 228 wind-powered plants, two nuclear plants, 487 Small Hydroelectric Centers and 311 solar power plants. The data is available in an ANEEEL oversight report which sets forth the modernization of Brazil’s generation park as of 31 December 2014. The hydroelectric sector predominates, responsible for 62.80% of the installed capacide, followed by thermoelectric, with 28.25%, and the Small Hydorelectric Centers, with 3.58%.  … In 2015, ANEEL estimates an installed capacity of between 140,900 MW and 141,200 MW.

With capacity on the rise, and, by the way, a lot of progress in the transmission sector in intervening years, it is enough to drive a man to drink. His world, after all, is on the brink of eternal darkness.