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Universal Electricity Access in Remote Areas: Building a pathway toward universalization in the Brazilian Amazon
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Energy Technology, Energy and Climate Studies, ECS.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Worldwide, policymakers face important challenges in relation to the provision of reliable electricity services in remote areas. Brazil is not an exception. The Brazilian rural electrification initiative Luz Para Todos – LPT (Light for All) has attracted attention internationally due to its ambitious targets and significant achievements in a relatively short period. The initiative has proved effective in its first phase, which has been developed through the extension of the grid. However, there are still important challenges in connection with the operationalization of LPT in remote areas.

The ultimate objective of this research is to propose a pathway to facilitate the achievement of universal electricity access in remote areas within the context of the Brazilian Amazon. The analysis was developed using a Mixed Methods Research (MMR) involving tools such as Causal Loops Diagrams (Consideo Modeller ®) and the energy modeling software for Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems (HOMER ®).

This thesis addresses three key questions. The first question is concerned with the strengths and weaknesses of the national rural electrification initiative. The second question investigates institutional, technology and funding structures that specifically support the Brazilian rural electrification initiative in remote areas. The third question involves the identification of leverage points within these structures.

The study concluded that the existing LPT scheme is not capable of achieving full electricity access in remote areas of the Brazilian Amazon. Important challenges remain when it comes to providing the service to inhabitants of these areas. There is a need to i) adapt the existing institutional structures; ii) harmonize technologies within the regional context and, iii) use government funds more effectively. In line with these challenges, identified leverage points indicate that i) rules guiding the relationship among new agents and communities; ii) implementation of small-scale power generation technologies based on local resources; and iii) optimized subsidies are essential to achieve universalization goals in remote areas.

The research proposes a new pathway to activate the identified leverage points within the institutional, technology, and funding structures of LPT. The pathway requires well-informed decision making for the implementation and operation of off-grid solutions that can help to cover the last mile. Within this context, results of the study are expected to provide insights for policymakers, technology providers, project developers, researchers, and communities in general as they seek to increase electricity access in remote areas.

Abstract [sv]

Beslutsfattare över hela världen står inför viktiga utmaningar för att tillhandahålla tillförlitliga elektricitets-tjänster i avlägsna områden. Brasilien är inget undantag. Det brasilianska initiativet för landsbygdselektrifiering Luz Para Todos – LPT (Ljus för alla) har fått internationell uppmärksamhet för dess ambitiösa mål och de resultat som uppnåtts på relativt kort tid.

Initiativet har visat sig effektivt under dess första fas, som utvecklades genom utvidgning av elnätet. Det kvarstår dock viktiga utmaningar för att LPT ska bli operativt i avlägsna områden.

Denna forsknings främsta syfte är att föreslå en väg framåt för att underlätta att allmän tillgång till elektricitet i avlägsna områden av det brasilianska Amazonas uppnås. Analysen utvecklades genom s k Mixed Methods Research – MMR (blandade forskningsmetoder) vilket inkluderar verktyg som Causal Loops Diagrams (Consideo Modeller ®) och energimodelleringsprogramvaran för hybrida förnyelsebara energisystem (HOMER ®).

Denna avhandling behandlar tre huvudfrågor. Den första frågan gäller styrkor och svagheter hos det nationella landsbygdselektrifieringsinitiativet. Den andra frågan undersöker institutionella, teknologiska och finansieringsstrukturer som specifikt stödjer det brasilianska elektrifieringsinitiativet i avlägsna områden. Den tredje frågan handlar om att identifiera punkter inom dessa strukturer där en hävstångseffekt kan uppnås.

I studien konstateras att det befintliga LPT systemet inte är tillräckligt för att uppnå allmän tillgång till elektricitet i avlägsna områden av det brasilianska Amazonas. Viktiga utmaningar kvarstår för att leverera tjänsten till invånarna i dessa områden. Det finns ett behov av att i) anpassa de befintliga institutionella strukturerna, ii) harmonisera teknologierna till den regionala kontexten och iii) effektivisera användningen av statliga medel. På samma sätt indikerar de identifierade hävstångspunkterna att: i) regler som styr förhållandet mellan nya agenter och samhällen, ii) implementering av småskaliga kraftgenereringsteknologier och iii) optimerade subsidier är nödvändiga för att uppnå allmän tillgång till elektricitet i avlägsna områden.

Forskningen föreslår en ny väg framåt för att aktivera de identifierade hävstångspunkterna inom LPTs institutionella, teknologiska och finansieringsstrukturer. Vägen framåt kräver beslutsfattande grundat på god information för att implementera och operera de icke-elnätsanslutna systemen som kan bidra till att nå fram den sista kilometern. I detta sammanhang, förväntas studiens resultat att bidra med insikter för beslutsfattare, teknikleverantörer, projektutvecklare, forskare, och samhället i övrigt i strävan att öka tillgången till elektricitet i avlägsna områden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2014. , 105 p.
Series
TRITA-ECS Report, 14:02
Keyword [en]
Rrural electrification, remote areas, human development, universal access, last mile, Amazon region
Keyword [sv]
landsbygdselektrifiering, avlägsna områden, mänsklig utveckling, allmän tillgång, den sista kilometern, Amazonasregionen
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Energy Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-145624ISBN: 978-91-7595-179-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-145624DiVA: diva2:719200
Public defence
2014-06-12, Sal E2, Lindstedsvägen 3, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Energy Agency
Note

QC 20140526

Available from: 2014-05-26 Created: 2014-05-23 Last updated: 2014-05-26Bibliographically 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, E-ISSN 1873-6777, 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.

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

QC 20150624

Available from: 2010-12-01 Created: 2010-11-26 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically 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.

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

QC 20150626

Available from: 2012-02-07 Created: 2012-02-07 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
3. Exploring the effect of subsidies on small-scale renewable energy solutions in the Brazilian Amazon
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring the effect of subsidies on small-scale renewable energy solutions in the Brazilian Amazon
2015 (English)In: Renewable energy, ISSN 0960-1481, E-ISSN 1879-0682, Vol. 83, 1200-1214 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Brazilian government aims at universal electricity access. The national rural electrification initiative has provided electricity services to more than 14 million people since 2003, mainly through grid extension. However, the initiative has not been able to reach remote areas in the Amazon, thus requiring a review of conditions for small scale off-grid power generation projects. As a result, new rules established under the national rural electrification program address the design and implementation of off-grid power generation projects with an installed capacity up to 100kW. The objective of this paper is to explore the effects of the new set of rules on the levelized cost of electricity for different power generation solutions in the Amazon. Our study shows that the new rules may be beneficial to isolated communities, as they reduce the levelized cost of electricity, favor renewable energy technologies and may contribute to reduce CO2 emissions. In addition, the new rules may help engage new actors to provide rural electrification of the Amazon region. To fully take advantage of the current scheme, action at local level is required to define the most appropriate model for small-scale power generation projects and establish synergies between concessionaires and local energy providers.

Keyword
Renewable energy, Rural electrification, Off-grid electrification, Remote areas, Amazon
National Category
Energy Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-145685 (URN)10.1016/j.renene.2015.05.050 (DOI)000358455100116 ()2-s2.0-84931275317 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Energy Agency
Note

Updated from "Manuscript" to "Article". QC 20150902

Available from: 2014-05-26 Created: 2014-05-26 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
4. Technology for social inclusion: the case of electricity access in the Brazilian Amazon
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Technology for social inclusion: the case of electricity access in the Brazilian Amazon
2013 (English)In: Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems, ISSN 1848-9257, Vol. 1, no 3, 237-259 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper explores the Social Technology concept and analyses how it can support the current Brazilian rural electrification initiative. It addresses the question: ‘can Social Technology principles serve to identify concrete tasks to overcome the challenges of universal access in the Amazon? If so, how can they be effectively incorporated into the current Brazilian rural electrification initiative?’ We conclude with the identification of two concrete actions to achieve universal access in isolated areas. First, the recognition, compilation and systematization of local knowledge are important tasks ahead. Second, effective communication channels and methods are needed to spread local knowledge and support the design, implementation, and operation of innovative solutions. Participatory activities are crucial to enable these concrete actions. We highlight the role of the government at central and local levels for the purpose of setting up the appropriate environment for these changes to happen.

Keyword
Renewable Energy, Isolated Areas, Electricity Access, Social Technology, Social Inclusion, Causal Loop Diagram
National Category
Energy Engineering
Research subject
Järnvägsgruppen - Elsystem
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-133901 (URN)10.13044/j.sdewes.2013.01.0018 (DOI)
Note

QC 20140124

Available from: 2013-11-11 Created: 2013-11-11 Last updated: 2014-05-26Bibliographically approved
5. The last mile in the Brazilian Amazon - A potential pathway for universal electricity access
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The last mile in the Brazilian Amazon - A potential pathway for universal electricity access
2015 (English)In: Energy Policy, ISSN 0301-4215, E-ISSN 1873-6777, Vol. 82, 23-37 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Brazilian rural electrification initiative Luz Para Todos - LPT (Light for All) has attracted attention internationally due to its ambitious targets and significant achievements in the last decade. The initiative has proved effective in its first phase, which has been developed through the extension of the grid. Yet, there are still important challenges to provide the service to inhabitants of remote areas in the Brazilian Amazon. We identify these challenges within institutional, technology, and funding structures operating within LPT. In line with these challenges, we propose a pathway to facilitate the achievement of universal electricity access in remote areas of the region. The proposed pathway is based on three key leverage points: (i) rules guiding the relationship among new agents and communities; (ii) the implementation of small-scale power generation technologies based on local resources; and (iii) optimized subsidies. It has the potential to allow (i) a better dimensioning of off-grid solutions considering local resources and realities, (ii) the creation of adapted institutions capable of implementing and operating the required systems and, (iii) an effective operation of off-grid solutions.

Keyword
Rural electrification, Remote areas, Universal access, Amazon region
National Category
Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-145684 (URN)10.1016/j.enpol.2015.02.018 (DOI)000355367300003 ()
Funder
Swedish Energy Agency
Note

QC 20150626. Updated from manuscript to article in journal.

Available from: 2014-05-26 Created: 2014-05-26 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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