Assessment and statistics of Brazilian hydroelectric power plants: Dam areas versus installed and firm power
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The Brazilian relief, predominantly composed by small mountains and plateaus, contributed to formation of rivers with high amount of falls. With exception to North-eastern Brazil, the climate of this country are rainy, which contributes to maintain water flows high. These elements are essential to a high hydroelectric potential, contributing to the choice of hydroelectric power plants as the main technology of electricity generation in Brazil. Though this is a renewable source, whose utilized resource is free, dams must to be established which generates a high environmental and social impact. The objective of this study is to evaluate the impact caused by these dams through the use of environmental indexes. These indexes are ratio formed by installed power with dam area of a hydro power plant, and ratio formed by firm power with this dam area. In this study, the greatest media values were found in South, Southeast, and Northeast regions respectively, and the smallest media values were found in North and Mid-West regions, respectively. The greatest encountered media indexes were also found in dams established in the 1950s. In the last six decades, the smallest indexes were registered by darns established in the 1980s. These indexes could be utilized as important instruments for environmental impact assessments, and could enable a dam to be established that depletes an ecosystem as less as possible.