São Paulo Solar Plant Will Supply Electricity to Public Grid
RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 26 (Tierramérica).- The University of São Paulo will construct a
photovoltaic power plant, in association with a
local electric company, which will be the third
solar power plant and the second to supply
electricity to the public grid in Brazil.
The plant will be powered by 2,500 solar panels to
be installed in the city and will have a
generating capacity of 500 kilowatts. The total
cost of the project is estimated at 6.4 million
dollars, and it will be overseen by the Ministry
of Energy of the state of São Paulo.
This is one of 18 projects approved in 2011 by the
National Electric Power Agency to lower the cost
of solar power generation to one third of the
current cost of almost 145 dollars per
“When the power generation source is connected to
the distribution grid, data will be gathered that
will help to evaluate its performance,” Rafael
Herrero Alonso, an engineer at the Integrated
Systems Laboratory and one of the project
directors, told Tierramérica.
Women Farmers Producing Better Grains
TEGUCIGALPA, Nov 26 (Tierramérica).- Women farmers in seven departments of Honduras are
working towards higher-quality, environmentally
friendly agricultural production to gain better
access to markets and fairer prices.
They are participating in an initiative promoted
by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Inter-
American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture
(IICA), aimed at strengthening food security and
environmental protection in the department of
Olancho, in northeast Honduras, El Paraíso, in the
south, Comayagua, in the center of the country,
Yoro, in the north, and Lempira, Intibucá and
Ocotepeque, in the west.
The main beneficiaries are women heads of
household who are now producing better quality
grains that they are able to sell at fair prices
on the national market, Miguel Barreto, WFP
representative in Honduras, told Tierramérica. The
goal is to break into the regional market and to
replicate the model in other IICA initiatives, he
Nuclear Technology for More Resistant Crops
HAVANA, Nov 26 (Tierramérica).- Agricultural researchers in Cuba are using radiation
in an attempt to develop banana, rice, avocado and
tomato strains that are more resistant to drought
and salinity, as part of a Latin American
“Many areas of the country have saline soils as a
result of seawater penetration, drought and the
widespread use of chemical fertilizers, among
other causes. There is a growing demand for crops
that will grow in difficult conditions like
these,” researcher Orlando Coto of the
governmental Institute for Tropical Fruit
Production Research told Tierramérica.
The initiative, which will be expanded in 2013,
will maintain the current studies, which use
induced mutation techniques, and incorporate work
on citrus fruit crops, he explained. “We are
currently irradiating avocado tree seeds and leaf
buds, but more time is needed in the case of fruit
trees,” he added.
The Cuban research is part of a wider project
being carried out under the Regional Cooperation
Agreement for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and
Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean,
with the participation of 10 countries.
Cracks in Ralco Hydro Dam Raise Concern
SANTIAGO, Nov 26 (Tierramérica).- The Aukin Wallmapu indigenous community in Alto
Bíobío, 500 kilometers south of Santiago, has
denounced the presence of cracks and leaks in the
Ralco hydroelectric dam.
Both the company and the government have denied
any potential hazards, and claimed that the
situation at the hydro plant is “absolutely and
But the denunciations have been backed by
environmental activist Patricio Segura, who filmed
the cracks and published the footage.
Segura told Tierramérica, “It is deplorable that
the community itself has to practically conduct
espionage work to get the authorities to react,
and that a major company like this does not
continuously supply information.” The cracks
appeared after the earthquake of Feb. 27, 2010.
Scientists Call for Preservation of Forest Remnant
CARACAS, Nov 26 (Tierramérica).- Researchers at Venezuela’s University of the Andes
are urging the government to adopt a management plan
for the 7,000 hectares of the Caparo Experimental
Station, the remnant of what was a forest covering
millions of hectares in the country’s western
lowlands less than a century ago.
“We are calling for this remnant to be declared a
National Park, and for a management plan to be
established for the forest reserve in which it is
located – decreed in 1961 with 175,000 hectares,
but decimated by logging companies until the year
2000,” the researcher in charge of the station,
Wilfredo Franco, told Tierramérica.
The forest’s deterioration is also due to “the
roughly 10,000 people who have occupied it to
carry out agricultural and livestock raising
activities,” he added.
There are still 16 forest communities remaining in
the station, with 191 tree species, 61 species of
mammals, 248 of birds, 30 of amphibians, seven of
snakes, numerous species of fish and insects, and
a still undetermined diversity of microbes. This
is what remains of what was once seven million
hectares of forests in southwestern Venezuela and
a roughly equal area in eastern Colombia. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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