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Electricity access for human development in the Brazilian Amazon
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Energy Technology, Energy and Climate Studies, ECS.
2012 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Electricity access is widely recognized as a driver of development. The Brazilian government has incorporated this principle into its national rural electrification program, Luz Para Todos (LPT – Light for all), which has already benefited more than 14 million people in the country since its inception in 2003. But a different electrification model is required if remote areas in the Amazon region are to fully benefit from the program.

In general, LPT has been implemented through a grid-based technology. However, the program has been less successful in providing electricity access in the Amazon region. In this region, about 24% of the rural population has no access to electricity. Key challenges are related to the exhaustion of the grid-extension model in isolated areas.  Extending the grid in these areas is neither realistic because of the local topography and natural conditions, nor cost-effective because expensive investments would be required to benefit a small number of citizens with low income and consumption rates.

This study suggests an adapted LPT model for delivering electricity access in isolated areas of the Amazon region. In particular, the study offers a policy maker perspective and details the specific needs of isolated communities. It was developed in the form of a case study and included a variety of data sources, gathering techniques and analysis approaches, including an extensive literature review, the collection of in-situ evidence through direct observations and semi- structured interviews.

Conclusions draw attention to the need for more local and site-specific solutions. Three issues will be decisive in achieving universal, reliable and affordable access to electricity in the Amazon region. Firstly, harmonization with the regional context is essential as the Amazon is a vast and unique environment. Secondly, there is need for adapting the existing institutional structures to appreciate the conditions and specific needs of rural populations in the Amazon region. Thirdly, securing financial resource allocation and distribution will be decisive in a LPT model aimed at universal electrification in the Amazon.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
KTH , 2012. , xviii, 71 p.
, TRITA-ECS, 2012:01
Keyword [en]
Electricity access, human development, Amazon region
National Category
Energy Engineering
Research subject
SRA - Energy
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-95208ISBN: 978-91-7501-400-5OAI: diva2:527196
2012-06-05, Sal M263, Brinellvägen 68, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)

QC 20120531

Available from: 2012-05-31 Created: 2012-05-18 Last updated: 2013-04-18Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Rural electrification of the Brazilian Amazon - Achievements and lessons
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Rural electrification of the Brazilian Amazon - Achievements and lessons
2010 (English)In: Energy Policy, ISSN 0301-4215, Vol. 38, no 10, 6251-6260 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Brazilian government has the ambition to provide complete electricity coverage for all citizens as a means to promote development and reduce inequalities. Full coverage implies the provision of electricity to 15 million people in the country by the end of 2010 through the program Luz para Todos (LPT - light for all) launched in 2003. So far, 11 million people have benefited, 2 million of which live in the Amazon. In this paper, we analyze the linkages between development and rural electrification through the Human Development Index (HDI) and within the context of the Amazon. We examine the suitability of the HDI as a planning and monitoring tool for improving energy access and development. We show that the recognition of electricity access as a driver for development has led to concrete goals for electrification, actual action and welfare improvement. Our study serves to highlight the role of LPT in the development of the Amazon region, and the specific features and achievements of the Brazilian policy for universal electrification. We conclude that some challenges related to the electrification of isolated areas still lie ahead. We finalize with a discussion on the relevance of the Brazilian experience to other developing countries.

Development, Rural electrification, HDI
National Category
Civil Engineering
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-26663 (URN)10.1016/j.enpol.2010.06.013 (DOI)000282240100090 ()2-s2.0-77958456835 (ScopusID)
Swedish Energy Agency

QC 20150624

Available from: 2010-12-01 Created: 2010-11-26 Last updated: 2015-06-24Bibliographically approved
2. Delivering off-grid electricity systems in the Brazilian Amazon
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Delivering off-grid electricity systems in the Brazilian Amazon
2012 (English)In: Energy for Sustainable Development, ISSN 0973-0826, Vol. 16, no 2, 155-167 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Brazil, more than 14 million people have benefited from the rural electrification program Luz Para Todos (LPT – Light for all), mainly through grid-extension. A new off-grid model is now required if remote areas in the Amazon region are to fully benefit from the program. In this paper, we explore the institutional and financial schemes that support LPT and their suitability for delivering off-grid solutions in the Amazon region. Our conclusions draw attention to the need for more local and site specific solutions, and new regulatory frameworks to allow the participation of new actors. We argue that the uniqueness of the Amazon region justifies renewable technologies focused on local needs and potential, adaptation of the LPT institutional framework and rethinking of funding channels. An off-grid approach will enhance the inclusion of remote areas in universal access goals while adjustments will help guarantee the sustainability of the electrification program.

Universal electricity access, Isolated communities, off-grid solutions
National Category
Engineering and Technology
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-78013 (URN)10.1016/j.esd.2012.01.007 (DOI)000305671600003 ()2-s2.0-84862000518 (ScopusID)

QC 20150626

Available from: 2012-02-07 Created: 2012-02-07 Last updated: 2015-06-26Bibliographically approved

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