In an ideal world, rural electrification would serve the goal of socio-economic development. Improved electricity access can power rural industries, enhance agricultural productivity, and provide households with more productive time for study and work at night. Brazil's national rural electrification program has promised to target poor and remote rural communities, but has this goal been met? We analyze statistically representative data from Brazil's Census of 2000 and 2010. While Brazil has reached municipalities with low initial electricity access rates, rural electrification has not targeted the least developed municipalities. Furthermore, we find that the government has not reached the most remote and sparsely populated rural communities. Primary policy implications include more precise targeting of the least developed municipalities, complementary interventions to promote rural development, and increasing investments into distributed energy, such as off-grid solar power. With these strategies, Brazil and other countries facing similar issues can enhance the socio-economic benefit of rural electrification.
Energy Policy – Elsevier
Published: Nov 1, 2015
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