Access to modern and affordable energy services in the form of electricity and clean cooking facilities is expected to play an important role in poverty reduction in rural areas. This expectation is primarily based on the assumption that access to these services will enable poor people to escape poverty. However, such expectations may not always come true.
This project aims to analyze and design possible framework conditions in the long term so that modern and renewable energies in the form of decentralized energy systems and clean means of cooking can contribute to reducing poverty in rural areas of the Brazilian State of Ceará. By 2015, the State has achieved universal electricity access mainly by grid extension. Nonetheless, Ceará is still one of the poorest Brazilian states with great social inequalities. In general, poor families have electricity to meet basic needs, but lack clean cooking facilities.
Using a participatory approach involving community representatives and stakeholders from the social, energy, and rural development sectors, the energy-poverty nexus in the rural areas of Ceará will be analyzed and systematized. In this research work, the energy-poverty nexus is understood as the systematic relationships between energy access and the social and institutional causes of poverty. For analyzing the nexus, a cross-impact balance analysis (CIB) is used, which enables the development of context-dependent energy scenarios in order to provide orientation for long-term planning.
The main goal of this research is to provide stakeholders (e.g., policy makers, scientists, and managers of NGOs and rural communities) with sound information and show possible ways how renewable energies can contribute to overcoming poverty in rural areas. The results do not only apply to the rural areas of Ceará but can also be transferred to similar areas around the world.