Is Brazilian wind power development sustainable? Insights from a review of conflicts in Ceará state

Autor(es): Christian Brannstrom, Adryane Gorayeb, Jocicléa de Sousa Mendes, Caroline Loureiro, Antonio Jeovah de Andrade Meireles, Edson Vicente da Silva,  Ana Larissa Ribeiro de Freitas, Rafael Fialho de Oliveira

Resumo: Brazil’s wind energy program is a successful public-private sector response to an electricity supply crisis in 2001 that created an attractive target for investors in renewable power. But evidence is accumulating that environmental impacts, which lead to territorial conflicts, livelihood erosion, and political responses, contradict sustainability claims of wind power development. We synthesize conflicts emerging in coastal Ceará state, a pioneer in Brazil’s rapid development of wind power. Environmental impacts caused by wind farms, which locate on dune fields and other coastal systems, create conflicts by denying traditional communities access to resources that sustain livelihoods and cultural identities. Resource-access conflicts produce political responses that seek mitigation measures, but may escalate into a wider political challenge to continued development of wind power. We highlight the importance of land-tenure policies to assure the territorial integrity of traditional communities in areas targeted for wind power implementation. Analysis of conflicts supports suggested solutions for governments, firms, and traditional communities that may be applied in other developing countries and may help investors and planners avoid future conflicts.