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[en] Rural electrification is considered to be a key strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. It should therefore include (1) expanding electricity access and (2) enable new consumers to increase their electricity consumption. In this paper we ask how Brazil’s recent rural electrification efforts have managed to reach these objectives. A new method to measure energy and income equity is presented which uses estimations of non-parametric density curves for the analysis of energy and income distributional trends following electrification. By applying our method to a panel data set from two Brazilian states situated in the country’s poor northeast region we find that (1) rural consumers take up electricity consumption after electrification, and that (2) low consumption levels give way to higher electricity consumption levels after only a few years. This indicates immediate social benefits for households through consumption of electricity services. However, our analysis cannot verify a direct link between electricity use and rural income generation in the short term. The results emphasize the need for government and other actors to integrate rural electrification into broader rural development strategies in order to enable long-term welfare increases through electricity use. - Highlights: ► Comprehensive analysis of Brazil’s recent rural electrification efforts. ► New methodology to analyze energy and income equity trends ex post electrification. ► Analysis indicates immediate social benefits for electrified households. ► We cannot establish a direct link between electricity use and income in the short-run. ► Electrification thus should be integrated in long-term rural development strategies.
[en] The concept of a backstop level of electricity intensity is introduced and illustrated for the highest income economies of the world. The backstop level corresponds with the intensity that would be triggered by applying end-use electricity prices equal to the cost price of a fully sustainable electricity supply. Section 1 of the paper discusses the issue of electricity (also energy) intensity of economies. It is argued that identifying a 'demand for electricity intensity' bridges the gap between the high willingness to pay for electricity services on the one hand and the disinterested attitude of consumers regarding the invisible and impalpable product electricity on the other hand. Assessment of the demand curve for electricity intensity in a cross section of high income OECD countries comes to a long-run price elasticity of almost -1. Section 2 revives Nordhaus' concept of backstop supply technologies for weighing three power sources (fossil, nuclear, and renewable sources) in meeting today's criteria of sustainable backstop technology. Only renewable sources meet the main sustainability criteria, but the economic cost of a fully sustainable electricity supply will be elevated. The closing question of Section 3, that is, whether the countries can afford the high cost of backstop electricity supplies, is answered by indicating what reductions in intensity are required to keep the electricity bills stable. The targeted intensity level is called the backstop level, and provides a fixed point for electricity efficiency policies. The analysis supports the call for comprehensive and enduring tax reform policies. (author)
[en] This paper explores the geographical and policy context for an emergent business model from Better Place to deliver battery electric car mobility in Denmark. It argues that the combination of radically different technologies and a highly complex multi-agency operating environment theoretically provide the conditions and requirements for such an emergent business model. While focused on battery electric cars, renewable energy generation and smart grids, the paper has wider applicability to an understanding of the interplay between place, innovation and sustainability which suggests that diverse solutions are likely to be the characteristic solution rather than ubiquity and standardization. The paper argues, however, that the innovative business model, the deployment of electric vehicles, and the use of renewable energy systems, in this case largely based on wind power, while mutually supportive and contributing to wider policy aims with respect to the reduction of carbon emissions, may still fail in the face of entrenched practices. At the theoretical level it is concluded that theorization of business models needs a broader perspective beyond the typical ‘value creation, value capture’ rubric to better understand the wider role such models have in meeting societal goals, and to understand the structural impediments to organizational and technical innovation. - Highlights: ► We explore the context for an innovative emergent business model to deliver battery electric car mobility in Denmark. ► We explore the interplay between battery electric cars, renewable energy generation and smart grids. ► We discuss the integration of electric cars in energy systems based on renewable energy sources. ► We discuss the likely success of the Better Place business model.
[en] The authors analyze the Mexican energy policy taking as reference the methodological framework for sustainable energy development proposed by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. This methodology takes eight related indicators to the social, environmental and economic dimensions in order to calculate a general sustainability indicator for the energy sector. In this methodology, the weight of each dimension is different; namely, the social and environmental issues have less relevance than the economic issues. The authors use this methodology because government institutions as the Department of Energy and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources have used some indicators from such a methodology to propose plans, programs, projects and bills. Authors know of the existence of other methodologies about sustainability. Nonetheless, opting for the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean's methodology is convenient because this organization is a respectable authority for civil servants from the Mexican institutions. Our objective is just to contrast the sustainability grade of the energy sector between 1990 and 2008 for Mexico whose government started reforms in the 1990s. It concludes that those reforms did not bring about a higher sustainability level for the energy sector. - Highlights: ► We used the OLADE, CEPAL and GTZ's methodology to calculate sustainability indicators for the Mexican energy sector. ► We studied the Mexican energy policy from 1990 to date and presented it. ► Currently, the Mexican energy sector is less sustainable than in 1990.
[en] Unlike markets that were early developers of reactors, which are dominated by single technologies, China's nuclear power sector adopts and imports multiple technologies. Even after the Chinese government introduced a policy to develop a standardized, unified, and technologically advanced nuclear power sector in the early 2000s, different technologies continue to be imported. This study uses an institutional lens to explore the decoupling of policy intentions and implementation. The three phases of nuclear technology imports that occurred between the 1980s and 2010 are examined and compared. Data are collected from multiple sources, including the diary of a major decision-maker, news articles, project websites, a regulation database, domestic journal articles, and interviews with industry experts. Using interactive content analysis, this study identifies the multiple policy principles and goals of different domains that led to different import arrangements and interpretations of the available foreign technology. New arrangements do not replace but overlap the existing ones that are perpetuated by the actors who benefit from them. The results show that the multiplicity of China's nuclear power sector, coupled with the government's late attempts at standardization, contributes to diversified policy implementation. They provide important policy implications for the sustainable development of the sector. - Highlights: ► We develop a model and examine the imports of nuclear power technologies in China. ► We address the institutional aspect of importing complex technologies. ► We identify the policy principles and goals that legitimate different arrangements. ► We identify both evolutionary and revolutionary changes of the nuclear power field. ► New arrangements do not replace but overlap the existing ones.
[en] The objective of this study is to analyze the evolution of the Brazilian energy sector with reference to the results of the business-as-usual scenario of the National Energy Outlook 2030 studies. The analysis was made with, as a starting point, energy indicators for sustainable development, which take into account social, economic and environmental aspects. The study demonstrates that the country has great availability of energy resources and that renewable sources can contribute to maintain a big participation in the production and use of energy, giving the country considerable advantages in economic and environmental terms. As regards the social aspect, on the other hand, the unequal distribution of income continues to be the country's principal weak point in achieving sustainable development
[en] How are biofuels to be certified as produced in a sustainable and responsible fashion? In the global debate over this issue, one party to the proceedings seems rarely to be mentioned - namely the commodities exchanges through which a global biofuels market is being created. In this contribution, I propose a solution to the problem of sustainability certification through a biofuels futures contract equipped with 'proof of origin' documentation. The proposal does not call for any radical break with current practice, extending existing certification procedures with a requirement for the vendor to provide documentation, probably in barcoded form, of the history of the biofuel offered for sale, including plantation and biorefinery where the biofuel was produced and subsequent blendings it may have undergone. The proposal is thus compatible with the blending practices of large global traders, whose activities are the source of the difficulties of other approaches to certification. It is argued that if such a sustainable futures contract for bioethanol (in the first instance) were to be introduced, then it would likely trade at a premium and become the primary vehicle for North-South trade in biofuels. (author)
[en] Security of energy supply and climate change are central concerns for policy makers and important dimensions of the long-term quest for a sustainable global energy system. This paper examines the role of several policy instruments in managing energy security and climate risks and stimulating technological change towards a more secure and climate-benign global energy system in the long-term future. The analysis has been conducted with ERIS, a multi-regional energy-systems ''bottom-up'' optimization model with technology learning. Our analysis provides some policy insights and identifies synergies and trade-offs relating to the potential for security of supply policies to promote the uptake of new technologies, reduce the cost of pursuing climate change mitigation policies, and facilitate a possible transition to a hydrogen economy. (author)
[en] Energy access is critical for sustainable development and therefore financing energy access is a necessity. The key is whether to focus on grants or public finance for sustainable development projects or move to a more diffused financing mechanism, involving investment grade financing sources like debt and equity. In other words, financing sustainable development action via grants is becoming a constraint. To address this constraint, it is important to consider the relationship between the nature and sources of financial flows. The concept of ‘financial gradients’ emerged while analysing the financial and business strategy developed for Lighting a Billion Lives (LaBL) campaign. This paper espouses the idea of ‘financial gradients’ which is a potential financial mechanism for sustainable development action. Financial gradients, can contribute in three different ways—first, as an approach to analyse financial flows in projects; second, as a tool to generate a single, long term and stable inflow of finance; third, as a financial mechanism to help in creating long term strategies to sustain projects. This paper will concentrate on financial gradients as a potential approach to analyse financial flows in a sustainable development programme. - Highlights: ► Financial stability is a key challenge for sustainable development programmes. ► Development action via public funds is limited, need for investment grade finance. ► Need to understand financial flows with relation to nature and sources of finance. ► Financial gradients is an innovative tool for ensuring health of programmes.
[en] The aim of this article is to study how policy learning has led to new understandings of ways to support renewable energies, based on experience in the wind power sector. Drawing on analysis of the literature and informed by field-work in the wind power sector in Denmark, France and the UK, it explores the extent to which policy learning over the medium term has brought us closer to models that integrate economic, environmental and societal desiderata into renewables policy in a manner congruent with the sustainable development aspirations espoused by the European Union and its constituent states. It contributes to policy theory development by arguing in favour of a new policy paradigm that reaches beyond measures to increase production capacity per se to embrace both the institutional dynamics of innovation processes and the fostering of societal engagement in implementation processes