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Sustainability of Renewable Energy Projects in the Amazonian Region

  • Juan Leonardo Espinoza
  • José Jara-Alvear
  • Luis Urdiales Flores
Chapter
Part of the Social and Ecological Interactions in the Galapagos Islands book series (SESGI)

Abstract

The Amazon is a fragile ecosystem with high biodiversity. However, urbanization of the region is creating pressure to provide electricity to its scattered population. Since 2010, Ecuador has been promoting rural electrification based on renewable energies through state policies in order to meet the demand for energy in isolated and fragile areas such as Galapagos Islands and the Amazonian region. EERCS C.A. (“Centrosur”) is one of the several public utility companies in Ecuador. In 2010 it launched the Yantsa Ii Etsari project that translates as “light from our sun” in the Shuar language. The objective of this project was to install 3000 solar home systems (SHS) to provide electricity to families from several native communities living on the land in Morona Santiago province. SHS are not new to off-grid communities in rural and remote areas of Ecuador as some thousands of units were installed in the Amazonian region over the last 15 years. However, most of these systems have failed or been abandoned. This has prevented the scaling up of decentralized rural electrification programs in the country. Given this history, Centrosur is investigating alternative mechanisms for avoiding the same problems and guaranteeing the sustainability of the Yantsa Ii Etsari project. The company has established strategic alliances with key actors in the region including the University of Cuenca, which is collaborating through focusing undergraduate and graduate thesis research in thematic areas including “mobility,” “operations and maintenance,” “environmental impact assessment,” and “policies and procedures.” An example of research projects in each thematic area are provided and include: a solar boat prototype, design of an automatic maintenance model (RCM), SHS integrated waste management, and sustainability assessment protocols. The current status of each of these projects is described in this chapter along with their operational impacts.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan Leonardo Espinoza
    • 1
  • José Jara-Alvear
    • 2
  • Luis Urdiales Flores
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Electrical and Electronics-DEET, Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of CuencaCuencaEcuador
  2. 2.Center for Development Research (ZEF)University of BonnBonnGermany
  3. 3.Empresa Eléctrica Regional Centrosur C.A.CuencaEcuador

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