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Connections Between Wind Energy, Poverty and Social Sustainability in Brazil’s Semiarid

Maria Luiza de Medeiros Galvão (), Marco Aurélio dos Santos (), Neilton Fidelis da Silva () and Valdenildo Pedro da Silva ()
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Maria Luiza de Medeiros Galvão: Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Rio Grande do Norte (IFRN), Natal 59015-000, Brazil
Marco Aurélio dos Santos: Energy Planning Program of Alberto Luiz Coimbra Institute for Graduate Studies and Engineering Research, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro 21941-909, Brazil
Neilton Fidelis da Silva: Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Rio Grande do Norte (IFRN), Natal 59015-000, Brazil
Valdenildo Pedro da Silva: Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Rio Grande do Norte (IFRN), Natal 59015-000, Brazil

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 3, 1-25

Abstract: In Brazil, the technical-scientific and informational knowledge records abundance of winds of high commercial viability and its use has usually occurred in spaces socially characterized by poverty. In the state of Rio Grande do Norte, the Mato Grande territory concentrates 3758 MW of installed capacity in 114 wind farms. In opposition to this economic and technological development, 5191 families settled in 73 rural settlements live in poverty, living with restrictions on land use and exploitation caused by water stress and without enjoying the benefits of energy activity. Therefore, the aim of this study is to understand the connections between the implementation of wind farms as sustainability promoters and the permanence of poverty levels. To this end, a literature review, secondary data systematization and field visits to two wind farms and two rural settlements were conducted, where interviews were conducted with their representatives. The results show that wind energy does not positively impact the researched region that has a history of backwardness and poverty. They also indicate that the wind projects implemented in the study area have disregarded the yearning for the development of the surrounding communities, since after a decade, they did not promote inflections on the family welfare curve. The research innovates in addressing the relationship between poverty and energy, thus, surpassing the frontier of the discussion “Energy Poverty”, since access to electricity is already universal in Brazil.

Keywords: sustainable development; wind energy; poverty; welfare; semiarid (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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