A research article by the researchers on the identification of the key limitations and potentials of sustainability in the productive chain for Small Hydro Power (SHP) in Brazil by Prof. Dr. Christian Luiz da Silva (UTFPR), Masters student of the PPGTE program Georgia Alana Andréas Nowakowski (UTFPR), and the Cuban researchers Alain Hernandez Santoyo (Universidad de Pinar del Rio, Cuba), VictorErnesto Perez Leon (Universidad de Pinar del Rio, Cuba), and Mayra Casas Vilardell (Universidad de Pinar del Rio, Cuba) was published in a Special issue (Edição Especial Nexo Água e Energia) of the Journal Desenvolvimento e Meio Ambiente.
Small hydro power plants are considered strategic in the expansion projects at the National Energy Plan in Brazil. However, it is not clear how this expansion can effectively occur, considering that only hydraulic potential is not sufficient enough to guarantee it. In this sense, the main objective of the present research is to identify the key limitations and potentials of sustainability in the productive chain for Small Hydro Power (SHP) in Brazil, to the context of environmental, social, economic and institutional dimensions. Regarding the research methodology, it can be classified as applied and exploratory. The data used is secondary and was used a qualitative analysis technique.
To identify limitations and potentials, a mapping of SHP production chain structure was done at national scale. Five stages that compound the production chain were studied: natural resources; generation; transmission; distribution; and marketing. According to these stages, five criteria were used (importance, probability, timeliness, scope and effect) to classify factors identified in each step.
Finally,it is established an aggregations criteria and a significance level for the potential and the limitations of each chain stage was defined. As a result, 20 limiting and 17 potential related to the productive chain of SHPs inBrazil were identified. In order to make the sector more competitive, efforts needed to reduce the negative environmental impacts arising from the power plants installation were found, such as the flooded areas and the resettled families, and the establishment of some legal and technical aspects related to the environment and energy trading. On the other hand, the hydraulic potential and consolidation of turbine manufacturers and generators ratify the SHP as strategic and potential for the country.
Keywords: renewable energy; small hydropower plants; productive chain; competitiveness determinant factors; sustainability.