Zero Poverty – a vision in action for the future of Oxford County

In Oxford County poverty eradication is high up on the agenda. To tackle this, the County has designed and implemented a comprehensive plan which is designed to assess inequalities across the community and suggest measures to lead as many people out of poverty as possible.

Community Energy: A possible solution for the power issues in Rio de Janeiro’s neglected areas

Communities in Rio de Janeiro

Rocinha. Source: The Guardian (2013), “Favelas of Rio de Janeiro – in pictures”. Available:

The most neglected areas in the city of Rio de Janeiro, commonly known as “favelas”, are irregular units that started to develop, usually onto hillsides, during a civil war in the final years of the nineteenth century. As it continued to grow over the years, it was embracing former slaves, immigrants coming from other parts of the country searching for jobs, and any other person that couldn´t afford to buy or rent a house in the city. The consequence is an area inhabited by the poorest class, with an un-existing urban plan, houses and buildings with bad infrastructure, difficult access and precarious public services. This reality created a separation between those inhabitants, commonly known as “people from the hills”, and the inhabitants from the rest of the town, known as “people from the asphalt”. Nowadays, there are around 762 of those communities in Rio with more than 1.4 million people residing in them (approximately 25% of Rio´s population) but, unfortunately, many of them are still neglected by the city.[1] The consequence of the weak presence of the state is that these areas work in a different system, with different rules, where inhabitants had to work in a self-sufficient manner. They had to learn how to protect and help themselves and thus developed a sense of a society that functions as a family[2]. With the goal of handling the daily challenges, and also as a way of having an internal political structure, they created their resident´s association, where a resident is elected by the inhabitants to be an active voice inside and outside the slums. They are responsible for organising forums, creating their land ownership titles, solve issues related to infrastructure, such as sanitation, medical care, energy, transportation and, especially, to establish a connection of those inhabitants with the city hall, bringing all the issues of their region[3].

Instead of what many may imagine, these areas in Brazil are responsible for generating 78,3 billion Reais (approximately 20 billion euros) per year. This is a direct consequence of the fact that residents had to learn how to be entrepreneurs in order to provide for their needs. Approximately 44% of inhabitants want to have their own business and 62% of them want to do it inside the community[4]. It has become part of their culture to fight for their interests and to show their value to the community, and to the rest of the city. Moreover, since the term favela became a derogatory way of talking about these neglected areas, especially the term favelado – a person that lives in the favela –, they requested to be recognised as a Community, a definition that fits perfectly with the way that they developed and behave.

Energy issues

The problems regarding infrastructure in the favelas are enormous. They have precarious sewage systems, transportation, water, and especially, electricity infrastructure. Energy consumption is increasing due to the rise of technology and evolution of electronic devices, and the expectation is that the demand for electricity is going to continue to grow even more. Light is the company that is responsible for producing and distributing energy in the entire city of Rio de Janeiro but, unfortunately, the service that is provided is not equal for every area of the town.

These circumstances developed a “culture of non-payment” in slums, where dwellers get their energy directly from the overhead cables, creating a system where their home will have electricity without the inhabitant having to pay for it[5]. Even though it seems like they are only taking advantage of the situation, there are many disadvantages to this system. Without a meter, residents cannot have an energy bill, and don’t have a proof of residency that is acknowledged by the city hall, which means they are unable to open bank accounts and receive mail. Moreover, they are vulnerable to electrocution and fire, due to overloads in the transformer. The key to the problem is not only that some residents cannot afford to pay for electricity, but that electric energy is part of a basic need of any resident of a big city, and they should be receiving a better quality service. In addition to these problems, ANEEL– Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency – has set a goal in which electric power companies have to reduce their commercial losses[6] of electricity annually[7], and now the inhabitants live in constant fear of getting a fine from the energy company.

Community Energy

Insolar and the community energy in Santa Marta slum. Source: Insolar (2018), “Histórias Inspiradoras”. Available:

The main idea of community energy is that local members have full participation in the process of managing and generating their own power through renewable energy[8]. Considering that this is already in line with the modus operandi in Rio´s informal settlements, the implementation of this concept would come as a natural solution that will help dwellers to pay a reasonable price for electricity, lose the dependency on big electric companies, and have a quality service. The approach to this investment will be different in each community, since is important to consider the size, structure, political involvement, background and the need of every area in order to choose the right system[9].

In the Santa Marta community, the social organisation Insolar implemented such a community energy concept over a period of two years. Dedicated to promoting democratic access to energy through the installation of photovoltaic systems, it works closely with a variety of stakeholders, also providing awareness of the technology and environmental education. With the objective of having the inhabitants as the protagonist, they also invest in the local workforce to improve empowerment of the residents, teaching them how to install PV panels, getting them involved as much as possible, and having as a consequence an increased spirit of collaboration. They have fitted more than 150 PV panels to the roofs of many buildings in Santa Marta, which represents more than harnessing power from the sun – it is also shaping positive future of clean energy and generating a spirit of collaboration among inhabitants[10].


Even though the sun shines for 2.000 hours a year in Brazil, only 0.2% of the country’s energy comes from solar power[11]. The current Brazilian legislation shows the lack of incentives for renewable energy and especially for solar home systems[12]. Residential and commercial customers are allowed to net-metering, a system that gives the possibility to use energy at any time of the day and in any climatic condition. Those connections will work through the Energy Compensation System, where all the power that is produced in excess becomes an “energy credit” for the customer, measured in kWh, and can be used to complement the months where the production is lower than the amount of energy that is consumed. However, this energy credit is only valid for 60 months, and after that this extra production is “given” to the company, according to normative resolution 482/2012 created by ANEEL[13]. Another critical issue is the minimum fee, or cost of availability, that is always charged even if the production is higher than the consumption, which is problematic for those dwellers that cannot afford to pay for the electrical bill. The necessary amount to invest in this new technology is also a big issue since is still very expensive and is considered to be profitable only after 4 or 5 years of use[14].

Promoting community energy in Rio

This investment is part of a long-term energy plan with several socio-economic benefits. Projects for community energy should prioritise and encourage local investors, especially to explore the vast possibility of income and finances that can be provided by it. However, the communities should also have in mind that any stakeholder is essential for its development. Implementing targets, creating regulations and facilitating equal market access is a good strategy to attract stakeholders and increase participation of the local inhabitants. Forming partnerships with a dealership, in order to get loans, could also increase the possibility to implement such a project. Moreover, it is vital to learn how to work with the government, considering that it can create special incentives, specifically for slums, in order to promote more significant investments in community energy[16].

– written by Mariana Cascardo –



[1]Vox (2016), “Inside Rio´s favelas, the city´s neglected neighborhoods”. Available: [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[2] RevoluSolar Institucional (2016), “RevoluSolar – A solar Revolution in Babilônia”. Available: [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[3] Brown University Library (2012), “Favelas in Rio de janeiro, Past and Present”. Available: [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[4] GloboNews (2018), “Mundo S/A: Negócios movimentam R$ 78,3 bilhoes em favelas”. Available: [Accessed 07 June 2018] (in Portuguese)

[5] The Guardian (2014), “Providing electricity to Rio de Janeiro´s favela”. Available: [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[6] Commercial losses, also known as technical losses, is associated with the energy that is not billed, that is lost in the grid during the distribution process, measurement with errors or consumed by units without metering equipment.

[7] “Aneel define nível de perda por furtos e frauds no cálculo de tarifa”. [Accessed 07 June 2018] (in Portuguese)

[8]REN21 (2017), “Renewables 2017 – Global status report“. Available: [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[9] REN21 (2017), “Renewables 2017 – Global status report“. Available: [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[10] Climate Reality (2017), “24 hours of Reality 2017: Democracy in Solar Action (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)”. [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[11] BBC NEWS (2017), “How solar power is charging lives in the Santa Marta favela in Rio”. Available: [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[12] The Guardian (2016), “From the favelas: the rise of rooftop solar projects in Brazil”. Available: [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[13] ANEEL (2012), “Resolução Normativa nº 482”. Available:   [Accessed 07 June 2018] (in Portuguese)

[14] RevoluSolar Institucional (2016), “RevoluSolar – A solar Revolution in Babilônia”. Available: [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[15]IRENA COALITION FOR ACTION (2018). ”Community Energy: Broadening the Ownership of Renewables”. Available: [Accessed 07 June 2018]

HLPF side-event: Achieving Agenda 2030 through 100% Renewable Energy – Examples from Tanzania and Bangladesh

The World Future Council and Bread for the World are hereby cordially inviting you to their side-event on the margins of the High-level Political Forum 2018 in New York, on 17 July, at 3.30 pm in the Church Center of the UN.

3.30 – 5.00 pm; 17 July 2018
Church Center of the United Nations
777 United Nations Plaza, NY 10017, USA

The event describes the vital relationship between renewable energy (RE) and sustainable development. In particular, it demonstrates how supporting the transition to 100% RE is a driver for sustainable development that  leaves no one behind. Hereby, it unveils how transitioning to 100% RE contributes to the achievement of the Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The event convenes civil society organizations, policy makers, development agencies and community leaders involved in sustainable development especially in countries in the Global South. Learnings from Tanzania and Bangladesh will be presented to catalyze replication in other countries.

Achieving a transformation of the energy sector to stipulate pathways and scenarios for SDG7 is a necessary pre-condition for the achievement of the Agenda 2030 in full and the highly urgent implementation of other international commitments such as the Paris Agreement. Therefore, this event seeks to highlight the interlinkages between SDG 7 and the other 16 SDGs and how a strategic transformation towards 100%RE contributes to achieving all of them. How do these interlinkages manifest itself in different national contexts and how can we replicate learnings and findings? What is the role of the national government and how can 100%RE benefit domestic socio-economic development? What lessons can be learned from the German “Energiewende”?

Draft Agenda

Facilitator: Rob van Riet, World Future Council

3.30 – 3.40IntroductionJohannes Grün, Bread for the World
3.40 – 4.00100%RE and the national dimension of Agenda 2030Sixbert Mwanga, Director, CAN Tanzania; Jahangir Masum, Executive Director, Coastal Development Partnership
4.00 – 4.35Roundtable DiscussionJoyce Msangi, Energy Officer, Government of Tanzania; Dr. Bettina Hoffmann, Member of German Parliament, MdB; Jahangir Masum, Executive Director, CDP; Sixbert Mwanga, Director CAN Tanzania
4.35 – 4.55Q&A
4.55 – 5.00Concluding RemarksRob van Riet, World Future Council


Join the conversation!

Are you attending the event? Join the conversation, and tweet using the Hashtags #HLPF2018 #go100RE #SDG7

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Anna Skowron

Project Manager Climate & Energy




The Importance of Energy Communities – Side Event during the Policy Conference 2018

When it comes to the development of the energy transition, local communities play a central role in leading the way to a decentralised energy democracy. The Policy Conference organised by the European Commission aiming to share and discuss new policy developments, best practices and sustainable energy ideas. As part of the conference, we will hold a session on the importance of energy communities presenting new roles and pathways communities are currently developing around Europe.

Urban Solutions: the WFC at the WUF in Kuala Lumpur

OBOR Cities Share Experience on Regenerative Urban Development at WUF 9

8th February 2018, at the 9th World Urban Forum in Kulua Lumpur Malaysia, the World Future Council in cooperation with the Energy Foundation organized a network event to facilitate cities from One Belt and One Road Initiative (OBOR) countries to exchange experience on regenerative city – regeneration of energy, resource, urban ecosystem and urban space in urban development.

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Clearing the Air in India with the fresh breeze of biomass technology

Every year India struggles with natural conditions of drifting dust from the desert Thar[1] which are aggravated by human impact[2] and lead to environmentally, socially and economically costly air pollution. With the enabling policy framework, a proven technology could be part of a feasible scheme tackling all anthropogenic drivers at once – and ideally lead to a reduction of air pollution by up to 90%. 

Starting a few months ago, India’s North has made headlines when air pollution reached an air quality index (AQI) of 1,001[3] – exceeding safe levels by a multitude of ten. In the national Capital Region of Delhi alone 45 million people[4] have been affected, causing a spike in complaints of respiratory problems and an emergency state, declared by the Indian Medical Association.[5]

Even though the news around the topic subsided, the officially monitored AQI which are even higher in the proximity of roads[6] within major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata, continue to range around hazardous levels[7]. Inhalation of this air is comparable to smoking several packs of cigarettes a day[8] [9] and serious respiratory effects in the general population can be expected while even putting susceptible groups at risk of premature death[10].

Figure 1: Haze over North India in late 2017. (Source: NASA, 2017)

The death toll of air pollution in India was the highest of all countries around the world with 2,5 million in 2015.[11] A global UNICEF study found recently, that over 90% of children are breathing polluted air not matching WHO guidelines and 17 million infants are exposed to levels six times the approved norms.[12] Furthermore, household air pollution was recently discovered to be insalubrious even before birth, reducing birth weight, pregnancy duration and doubling perinatal mortality[13]. This effect is owed to the burning of traditional fuels which exposes mostly women to pulmonary and vision hazards of indoor air pollution.[14]

A study conducted by the World Bank concluded: The negative health impact of outdoor air pollution alone costs India 3% of its GDP[15] which translates to an equivalent loss of roughly 35 billion Euros every year. Research found a direct impact of the atmospheric pollution on agriculture with wheat yields of 2010 being on average up to 36% lower than usual all over India due to reduced intensity of sunlight and toxic ozone reaching the plants.[16] Additionally, increased amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere[17] contribute to the greenhouse effect leading to more extreme and destructive weather events.

Two main causes for a myriad of manmade emission sources

In agricultural areas such as Punjab, the breadbasket of India, which singlehandedly produces 20% of India’s wheat and 10% of its rice[18], smoke blankets rise seasonally for several weeks despite a governmental ban when leftover straw stubble from mechanical harvesting is burned openly in the fields to clean the soil for new seeding [19] (see fig. 2).

Large-scale crop burning in India in 2017. (Source: Propakistani, 2016)

Then, metropolitan areas are covered by the drifting haze of crop burning in addition to the smoke of millions of wood cook stoves in and outside of the urban areas as well as countless emitters of sulfates, nitrates and black carbon such as automobiles, coal-fired power plants, incinerators, smelters or brick kilns.[20]

A comparison of several studies of Delhi shows the difficulty of solving the problem due to the relatively equal share of the main human-made sources of urban air pollution: Open burning of garbage and other diffused emitters contribute on average about a quarter, domestic or biomass burning as well as dust ranges around 15% while both traffic and industry (including coal power plants) are responsible for approximately one third.[21] [22]

However, understanding the reasons of air pollution, the interconnectedness of land and city and the amplification of fog and aerosol hazes[23] permits a vision for a future of clear skies and fresh breath. The main detrimental causes showed to be unsolvable if tackled one by one which is demonstrated by governmental emergency measures falling short every year.

Multiplying the negative causes turns into a feasible opportunity

The usually unused agricultural leftover biomass like paddy straw suddenly becomes an additional source of income for farmers as it already begins to prove itself as a viable source for power generation in rural India, offering employment for thousands of people. The calorific value per kilogram of coal and paddy straw are comparable while it burns cleanly in boilers with an efficiency as high as 99%. Combustion technology is commercialized and alone in the state of Punjab 332.5 MW of agro-waste based power projects are planned.[24]

These power plants can sell their power due to the “New & Renewable Sources of Energy Policy” and generate income under a Clean Development Mechanism while suppling millions of kWh to the grid for years. [25] Even individual households value the significant financial benefit of a carbon credit scheme which earns them up to 500 Rupees per month in a pilot project and convinces them to maintain the use of improved cook stoves.[26]

There are numerous reasons aside from health benefits for extending the understanding of sustainable cooking beyond improved cook stoves[27]. A new one is provided by a recent study, that noted villagers truly wish for cooking like in the cities – preferably with LPG which is out of reach for many due to its higher costs compared to wood.[28]  The so-called producer gas of low-cost straw-based power plants is an ideal replacement of a cleanly burning fuel, reducing indoor air pollution significantly in poor or disconnected rural and urban households alike.

Moreover, the processing of biomass and organic waste opens the opportunity of bio-oil production which can be handled exactly like a petroleum-based product to power suited diesel generators and fuel traffic in the cities.[29] This not only reduces transport emissions greatly but adds value to the commonly high share of organic waste (~30%) in Indian cities[30], attracting the informal sector in waste collection and reducing open garbage burning.

If now the government would take a leap forward by providing legislative support for this scheme in a holistic framework and additionally phase out coal power plants, manmade air pollution could ideally be reduced by roughly up to 90% through counteracting the aforementioned emission sources. In addition to environmental and social health improvements, the positive economic impact would be substantial: An IRENA study estimated a total benefit of 59 to 224 billion USD in savings following a restructuring of the power sector.[31] India’s INDC target of 40% renewable energy in 2030 is a promising step into the right direction.[32]


– written by Lisa Harseim –


100% renewable energy is low-cost option for Tanzania to become middle income country

PRESS RELEASE – Study released during political conference in Dar Es Salaam

Dar Es Salam, Tanzania, 17th October 2017 – By deploying 100% renewable energy, Tanzania can provide access to reliable energy for all its citizens, while increasing living standards to the level of industrialized countries by 2050. This is the conclusion of a scientific study that is released today in Dar Es Salaam by the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Climate Action Network Tanzania (CAN Tanzania), Bread for the World and the World Future Council (WFC). The study also reveals that generating electricity from renewable sources is about 30% cheaper than from fossil resources.

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100% renewable energy and poverty reduction in Tanzania

The Project’s Vision

The goal of the project is to develop a coherent strategy on how to implement 100% RE as part of Tanzania’s Sustainable Low Carbon Development and Poverty Reduction Goals.

Through an inclusive and interactive approach engaging local stakeholders and key decision-makers in the energy transformation process in Tanzania, this project intends to:

  1. Inspire stakeholders and build up hands-on knowledge on how 100% RE adds value to local economic development and community sustainability
  2. Strengthen synergies, networks and platforms for multi-stakeholder dialogue and follow up at the national level among government, parliamentary committees, policy-makers, civil society, trade unions, churches and media on LCD, poverty reduction and 100% RE.
  3. Identify necessary legislation and policy reforms.

Financing 100% Renewable Energy for all in Tanzania

Tanzania is endowed with abundant renewable resources for an energy transition. This study demonstrates how to unlock thenecessary investment to implement 100%RE for all by 2050.

Policy Roadmap for 100% RE and Poverty Eradication in Tanzania

This report suggests concrete political measures and outlines necessary governmental action to operationalize Tanzania’s 100%RE and poverty eradication target.

Scenario: 100% RE for all in Tanzania

This scientific feasibility study unveils that deploying 100% renewable energy in Tanzania can provide access to reliable energy for all its citizens, while increasing living standards to the level of industrialized countries by 2050. It proves that generating electricity from renewable sources is about 30% cheaper than from fossil resources.


Conference and Study Launch in Dar Es Salaam / October 2017

In October 2017, one of our recent studies reveiled that by deploying 100% renewable energy, Tanzania can provide access to reliable energy for all its citizens, while increasing living standards to the level of industrialized countries by 2050 – which is about 30% cheaper than from fossil resources. The study has been compiled as part of a multi-stakeholder process, which Climate Action Network Tanzania, Bread for the World and the World Future Council have conducted over the past 18 months. The goal has been to develop a coherent strategy on how to implement 100% RE as part of Tanzania’s Sustainable Low Carbon Development and Poverty Reduction Goals.

Kick-off workshop / February 2016

On February 25, 2016 The World Future Council, Bread for the World and CAN-Tanzania hosted the kick-off workshop in Dar es Salaam for our 18-month program in Tanzania.

The kick-off workshop brought together 15 Tanzanian thought-leaders from government, academia and civil society to identify opportunities for policy change on the particular topic. Among the confirmed participants was Gertrude Mongella, WFC Councilor and Special Advisor to the ECA Executive Secretary and UNESCO Director General. The workshop helped to build capacity and create ownership among Tanzanian opinion leaders for 100% RE as a tool for poverty reduction, as well as to strengthen synergies, networks and platforms for multi-stakeholder dialogue.

The valuable contributions and expertise of the participants enabled us to compile a solid report which you can find here. It gathers and summarizes the main interventions, perspectives and outputs made by the participants of the workshop. Hereby, this report further provides a description of the current energy policy debate and defines the starting point for discussing how to scale up RE to spur sustainable development and eradicate poverty in Tanzania.

Study Tour to Bangladesh / April 2016

As a major opportunity to bring forward the dialogue which already started during the kick-off workshop in Dar es Salaam, a study tour to Bangladesh was organized from April 17-23, 2016, chaired by Dr. Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury Bir Bikram, Bangladesh Ministry of Energy. The study tour brought together a group of 10 representatives from Tanzania national government, parliamentarians and civil society leaders in the renewable energy field in Tanzania. The goal was to learn about the Bangladesh experience in rapidly expanding first time access to electricity among its citizens with 100% renewable energy.

The tour was organized with the support of Bright Green Energy Foundation (BGEF), a leading renewable energy organization in Bangladesh which has been successfully working with Solar Home System, Solar Irrigation Pump, bio-gas, Improve Cook Stove, and women empowerment since 2010.

“This study tour changed our minds about the potential of Renewable Energy as an effective tool to provide energy access to all people. We need to bring the experience from Bangladesh to Tanzania, especially on developing a comprehensive finance model. It is our hope that this trip has just opened our doors and starts a long journey of collaborations and working together”. This was the conclusion of our Tanzanian delegation visiting WFC Councillor Dipal Barua and his team, learning about solar-home-systems, solar irrigation systems as well as biogas plants for cooking.

Consultation workshop / July 2016

On July 12th, Can Tanzania, The World Future Council and Bread for the World organised a consultation workshop in Dar es Salaam on 100% Renewable Energy for Poverty Reduction in Tanzania. Around 50 stakeholders from the Parliament, Government, Civil Society and Academia participated in the consultation workshop, outlining the determinants of change and policy formulation in the RE sector in Tanzania, the challenges to policy reform, and providing recommendations for the development of RE legislation and implementation.

The development of a more comprehensive legislative framework would not only make a significant contribution to the existing country’s energy production and supply system, but would also move Tanzania quickly towards achieving the goal of becoming a middle income country, as envisioned in the Tanzania National Development Vision 2025.

“We want to tackle the challenges that so many people in our country are facing every day,” says Doto Mashaka Biteko, Member of the Tanzanian Parliament and Chair of the Energy and Minerals Committee. “Therefore, the government is aiming to provide access to 50% of the population by 2020.”

Further, on July 15th, Can Tanzania, The World Future Council and Bread for the World, together with civil society representatives and faith-based organisations visited some examples of Solar Home Systems in Mabwepande, a suburb of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

On the path to regenerative cities

40 Chinese Mayors visit World Future Council Headquarters

As part of the Sino-German Mayor Exchange, over 40 mayors from different provinces of China visited the World Future Council in Hamburg last Friday, 22 September 2017. The workshop’s aim was to inform about the experience with cities’ resilience, building regenerative and climate resilient cities and to exchange views on sponge cities.

Focusing on the German experience on urban water sustainable management, Stefan Schurig from the World Future Council gave an introduction to regenerative cities in connection with sponge cities. Thereafter, Professor Ralf Otterpohl, Director of the Institute of Wastewater Management and Water Protection, TUHH (Technical University) Hamburg-Harburg turned to the topic of combining food and water security. Mr Daniel Schumann-Hindenberg from the Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl, then spoke about urban planning of sponge cities.

After the workshop, the World Future Council invited the participants to a reception into the premises of the Council’s headquarters.

The event was hosted by the German Ministry for Environment, Nature, Building and Nuclear Safety and the Chinese Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and carried out by GIZ and China Association of Mayors.