PRESS RELEASE

Acciona Microenergía brings electricity to Amazon communities

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Monday, November 27, 2017

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The ACCIONA Microenergía Foundation has launched a new program that brings electric light to isolated communities of the Amazon, through home photovoltaic systems, which provide access to basic energy services to the inhabitants of these localities without compromising the Amazon's valuable environmental balance and without interfering in their way of life. In its first stage, the Foundation will provide electricity for the first time to approximately 1,000 households in the Peruvian basin of the Napo River, a tributary of the Amazon, and then replicate the model in the basins of other rivers in the Amazon region.

The ACCIONA Microenergía Foundation, with the support of the National Fund for Scientific, Technological and Technological Innovation of Peru (FONDECYT), has already put into operation the first 61 home photovoltaic systems that give access to electricity to 325 residents of 4 towns, facilitándoles an energy service that allows them to have three lamps and 12 volt connections for mobile chargers, rechargeable flashlights, radios ...

This pilot project has served to verify the technical and economic viability of the solution designed by the ACCIONA Microenergía Foundation. In this way, a replicable model has been created, which will allow access to electricity to the inhabitants of towns that are not susceptible to connect to the conventional electricity network due to its geographical dispersion, the topography of the land and the environmental impact of electricity networks. in an ecosystem as sensitive as the Amazon.

The system is based on state-of-the-art solar photovoltaic systems, easy to install and maintain ( plug & play ) and with a "prepaid" model designed to ensure the economic sustainability of the program, since the users themselves contribute to the maintenance of equipment with a small economic contribution, 50% less than the expense previously made in other lighting solutions such as candles or oil lamps.

In addition, the ACCIONA Microenergía Foundation carries out information and training work in the communities in which it implements these electrification systems, making the inhabitants themselves capable of carrying out their basic maintenance and making efficient use of the equipment.

Currently, the ACCIONA Microenergy Foundation has already begun to expand the project in 350 more homes, also in the Napo basin, in collaboration with the Center for Innovation in Technology for Human Development of the Polytechnic University of Madrid, the ICAI Engineers Foundation for Development, and the Institute of Technological Research of the Higher Technical School of EngineeringICAI of the Universidad Pontificia Comillas. In addition, it has the co-financing of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation.

Positive impacts: sanitary, educational and environmental improvements

The main uses that households give to electricity are lighting to extend hours of study (67%), the prolongation of productive activities (43%) and the preparation of meals (21%).

In addition, the abandonment of the use of other forms of lighting that they used previously, such as battery-operated torches, lighters / oil lamps and candles -which do not give enough intensity of light and generate harmful smoke-, reduces the incidence of eye and lung diseases.

To this is added the positive environmental impact, in an environment of high ecological value, by eliminating the use and, therefore, the uncontrolled disposal of batteries and by avoiding the emission of polluting gases, with the displacement of the use of electricity from generators diesel by photovoltaic generation.

Amazon and electrification: the challenge of respecting the environment and improving the quality of life

The Amazon region is an area of ​​high ecological value with more than 6.7 million km 2 of extension in the territory of 9 different countries. The Amazonian communities, mostly indigenous people of different ethnic groups, live in remote and scattered locations that are accessed exclusively by river, with extreme conditions of temperature and rainfall. All this, together with the cost and impact of the construction and maintenance of the distribution networks, makes its general access to conventional electrification unfeasible; that is, there is an undetermined number of people, estimated at several million, who do not access this service in the Amazon.

In this context, many populations access electricity through fossil-fuel generating sets that pollute the environment and, moreover, do not provide more than 3 hours of operation per day, and periods without electricity due to lack of budget. While other communities use alternative energy elements such as candles, fuel lamps or batteries for flashlights, radios, etc.

The challenge of the ACCIONA Microenergy Foundation has been to develop a model of electricity supply with renewable energies and criteria of technical-economic sustainability and affordability.

ACCIONA Microenergy

ACCIONA Microenergía has been present in Peru since 2009, undertaking electrification projects in rural areas such as "Luz en Casa", which has benefited 3,900 families with low economic resources -some 16,000 people from 115 rural communities in the Cajamarca region- as to community centers (schools, churches, health centers and other community service centers).

In Mexico, ACCIONA Microenergía has implemented the Luz en Casa Oaxaca Program with which it has taken electricity to more than 7,500 families, in a Public-Private Partnership with the Government of the State of Oaxaca, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) ) and its Mexican counterpart AMEXCID.

The ACCIONA Microenergía Foundation is an initiative of the ACCIONA group, a leading Spanish company in the implementation of renewable energies and social infrastructures and the integral management of water, and is part of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations General Assembly, among which It is "to guarantee access to affordable, safe, sustainable and modern energy for all".

This press release was published using an automatic translation system.