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Social technology: impacting development through electricity access in the Amazon Region
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Energy Technology, Energy and Climate Studies, ECS.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7972-0876
2013 (English)In: IAMOT 2013 Proceedings, 2013Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The actual Brazilian rural electrification program has benefited more than 14 million people since its inception in 2003. However, 900 thousand people are still without electricity services in the isolated areas of the Amazon region. In general, the program has used a grid-based technology to provide electricity to new users in Brazil. In the Amazon, challenges are related to the provision of services in isolated areas where grid extension is not viable. Reaching this population in their local environment and promoting their development is important. Aware of the importance of electricity services to the country’s development, the Brazilian government has recognized the need for implementing different energy technologies to generate power in isolated areas. However, there is an institutional gap that needs to be addressed.

This paper explores the Social Technology concept and analyzes how it can support the current Brazilian rural electrification initiative. This concept provides a different view on how the relationships between institutions and technology could evolve in the Amazon region. In this direction, we elaborate on twelve implications of Social Technology implementation and analyze how they can contribute to deliver electricity services and guarantee valuable social impacts for the region. Can Social Technology principles help to identify concrete tasks to overcome the actual institutional shortcoming to achieve universal access in the Amazon? How to effectively incorporate them into the current Brazilian rural electrification initiative, considering local realities of isolated communities?

The fact that achieving universal energy access has a significant impact on human development provides a starting point for our analysis. In the first section, we introduce challenges that the Brazilian government are facing in connection to universal access achievements in isolated areas, in the second section, we present the Social Technology concept and discuss its implications using the case of the isolated areas in Brazil to exemplify them. In the third section we analyze interconnections between structural components of Social Technology and the Brazilian rural electrification program and identify key actions to enhance rural electrification in isolated areas. Finally, we conclude with the identification of two concrete actions to achieve universal access in isolated areas and boost national development targets. First, local knowledge needs to be recognized, systematized and included in planning, implementation and monitoring of rural electrification projects. Second, effective communication channels need to be considered in the process. Participatory activities are crucial and transversal to possible solutions and provide the basis for a new and comprehensive institutional framework. 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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
technology, social inclusion, electricity access
National Category
Energy Engineering
Research subject
SRA - Energy
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-123162ISBN: 0-9815817-6-5OAI: diva2:624956
IAMOT 2013 22nd INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MANAGEMENT OF TECHNOLOGY "Science, Technology and Innovation in the Emerging Markets Economy"; Porto Alegre, Brazil, April 14-18, 2013

QC 20140124

Available from: 2013-06-03 Created: 2013-06-03 Last updated: 2016-04-19Bibliographically approved

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Gómez, Maria F
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Energy and Climate Studies, ECS
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