Amazon energy cultures and the transition to sustainability

Antonio Mauricio Dias da Costa*, Colin Nolden, Marcos André Barros Galhardo, Ricardo dos Santos Cacapietra, Wilson Negrão Macêdo, Maria Cecília Gomes, Ana Claudeise Silva do Nascimento, Sam Williamson, Amy E Penfield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


Around a quarter of a million people living in remote communities in the Amazon are not connected to Brazil’s national electricity grid. For researchers and policymakers, the matter of energy access in such contexts has recently shifted to questions of “energy resilience,” which refers to community adaptation to energy absence, volatility, or failure. Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques during fieldwork in forest communities in Ilha das Onças, in the state of Pará, Brazil, our team attempted to gain a better view of their “energy resilience” through everyday engagements with energy sources and policies. In theory, policies such as “Light for All” (Luz para Todos) and “More Light for Amazonia” (Mais Luz para a Amazônia), which attempt to provide universal access to electricity, should serve these communities. In practice, our researchers found that these initiatives fail to fully access these remote settlements which, for various reasons, predominantly use small fossil-fuel-powered generators. In other global contexts, individual systems or microgrids powered by solar photovoltaics have proved to be promising alternatives. To promote resilient energy cultures, we recommend more collaborative energy governance, with the active participation of residents in knowledge production and decision-making, as opposed to the top-down forms of centralized governance that characterize current policies for the supply of electricity in remote areas such as Amazonia and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAmazon 2030 – Sustainability Issues in the World's Largest Rainforest Region
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 28 Nov 2023


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