Managing sustainable energy sources has become a popular topic nowadays. Energy supply and consumption is one of the factors defining the economic power of the country. In Brazil, there was an attempt to switch power supply to alternative sources of energy. Company called Itaipu Binacional launched a large-scale project, which involved governments of two countries, thousands of people, and natural water resources. However, the project was not successful until it addressed the environmental issues. The paper provides case study example about the ways how the project was changed to successfully and became implemented by the change of viewpoint on critical issues. The paper tests the hypothesis that all energy projects need to take environmental issues into consideration.
Gaining Familiarity – Recognizing the Symptoms
The key to understanding the case of Itaipu Binacional lies in the fact that the government should protect the natural resources and at the same time use them as effectively as possible. What is important, the hydroelectric power, which is the main source of electricity in Brazil, does not harm the people. When the company was opened and the first steps to build the Dam were made, too many people were suffering from flood. Moreover, the flood at the same time affected the natural resources. Therefore, the two Ministries were engaged in the process: Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Environment. In order to solve the problem both Ministries cooperated on finding a solution to the problem of Itaipu Binacional as it became a problem of international importance (as neighbor countries like Paraguay and Uruguay were engaged). According to the information gathered by both of the Ministries, thermoelectric energy is much more flexible in terms of all the licensing procedures even though the international treaties like Kyoto Protocol enable les bureaucratic procedures for alternative power usage and supply. Therefore, the task for both Ministries and executors of the project engaged in the process became even more complicated than it was expected.
The goal of Itaipu Binacional was to use all possible resources to ensure protection of the environment and, at the same time, they aimed at continuation of the project without any interfering from the side of other large state-owned power plants, including those who used thermoenergy. In fact, large competition is a huge threat for all the projects like Itaipu Binacional, and the state should provide enough protection for these types of projects. The solution to the case would be impossible to do find without the help of the government (i.e. Ministries). Moreover, the protection of environmental practices, which Itaipu Binacional was aiming to develop (“Guidilines for Sustainability”), requires more resources, which can only be obtained with the help and support of the Brazilian government.
Conducting the Analysis
The analysis made proved that the hydroelectric power needed to be developed in Brazil due to rich natural resources: there are many rivers and water resources, which enable the usage of this type of energy compared to other energy sources. Moreover, in general Brazil uses more alternative energy than other countries: almost half of energy supply of Brazil is derived from the non-thermoelectric sources. At the same time, there are many companies in Brazil that disagree about the usefulness of the project. Some of the companies support the development of the hydroelectric power in Brazil, while the others (mainly the competitors) are actively against it. The analysis concluded that hydroelectric power needed to be developed not only because of the environmental benefits, but also in order to promote the logical undersstanding of resources treatment.
Making the Diagnosis
The analysis showed that the alternative sources of energy are more favorable than the other sources for Brazil. Moreover, hydroelectric power engages more labor resources from the remote regions providing people with the opportunity to earn money and feed their families. The analysis proves that the efficiency of hydroelectric power in the long-term and the economic effectiveness are summarized in terms of three pillars: social, economic and environmental development.
Doing the Action Planning
The action plan, which was set in the case of Itaipu Binacional, incorporated the change in the critical issues: mission and vision of the company. Instead of the assessment of the natural resources and maximizing volumes of power supply in the country, the company had to change the scope and vision of the situation. The assessment of the whole business model called for a different action plan. The cooperation of the government (i.e. the Ministries that are mentioned above) resulted in the change of the rules and regulations for hydroelectric power management and different resources planning.
The change of vision and scope resulted in the change of agricultural life of the people, who lived in the area. Natural resources were managed differently, which ensured the protection of the environment and increased the quality of life in the rural areas. However, Itaipy Binacional still faces challenges due to changes in nature, which require quick and careful actions. Still, the hypothesis was proven, as energy project changed due to the switch towards environmentally friendly practices and the code of conduct. Changing the viewpoint helped Itaipu Binacional reconsider the vision; such a change turned the project into success.
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