Brazil's hydroelectric energy crisis eased after rains, ministry says

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GLASGOW, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Brazil's Mines and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque said on Wednesday that the water shortage driving a crisis for the country's hydroelectric dams, which many observers link to climate change, had improved after recent rains.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Albuquerque said there was still much work to be done to replenish the country's reservoirs and hydrological basins. He repeated past statements that energy rationing would not be necessary because of reduced output from hydro dams.

"The water scarcity still persists. Conditions are better now with the start of the rainy season. We have work to do still to recover our reservoirs," Albuquerque said.

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Albuquerque previously stated that he believes that the drought crisis is linked to climate change driving more extreme dryness worldwide, including in places like the U.S. West Coast. read more

The minister said that Brazil will further ramp up its renewable energy resources, which already account for 85% of the country's electricity, by launching new regulations next month allowing offshore wind farms to be built.

Offshore wind farms will be included in Brazil's energy auctions starting next year, he said. Brazil has potential to build up to 700 gigawatts in offshore wind capacity, according to the ministry.

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Reporting by Jake Spring; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Giles Elgood

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