Rio Capital Energy Program, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio Capital Energy Program, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - ©GIZ

Rio Capital Energy Program

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Rio De Janeiro

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Main actors

City Government, Supranational / Intergovernmental Institutions, Private Sector, Community / Citizen Group, Public Utility, other

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Project area

Whole City/Administrative Region

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Ongoing since 2011

To mobilize support for and commission projects ensuring sustainable development in the energy sector.

Established by a decree signed by State governor Sergio Cabral in September 2011, the Rio Capital Energy Program plans to mobilize government, business and community support to channel resources and upscale sustainable development in the energy industry. The decree assigns the State Ministry for Economic Development, Energy, Industry and Services (SEDEIS) the political and organizational responsibility for addressing energy and climate-related challenges. The declared goal is for Rio de Janeiro to assume a leading role in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energies by presenting state of the art energy efficiency solutions, attracting resources for research and development of technological innovation and for green energy promotion.

Sustainable Development Goals

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Size and population development
Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil (after Sao Paulo) and has an expanding population due to rapid urbanization. According to the 2010 Census, there were 5,940,224 people residing in the city, with a population density of 5,377 per km2. The city covers a total area of 1,221km2, while the metropolitan region expands out to 4,539.8 km2 with an estimated 12 million residents. Rio de Janeiro is home to the largest Portuguese population outside of Lisbon in Portugal and Portuguese is the official language of the city.

Population composition
The 2010 census date recorded the population of Rio de Janeiro was 53.2% female and 46.8% male with 25% of the population under the age of 18. Ethnicity breakdown recorded was 3,239,888 white people (51.2%), 2,318,675 Pardo (multiracial) people (36.5%), 708,148 Black people (11.5%), 45,913 Asian people (0.7%), 5,981 Amerindian. Census data collected on religion showed 51.1% of the population identified as Catholic, 23.4% as Protestant, 13.6 as Irreligious, 5.9% as Spiritist, 1.3% as Umbana and Candomble and 0.3% as Jewish.

Main functions
Rio de Janeiro (Rio) is the capital of the State of Rio de Janeiro. The city is located on the Atlantic Ocean in the south-eastern part of the tropical zone of South America. Rio is home to many famous landmarks such as the statue of Christ the Redeemer on the Corcovado mountain. In 2012, part of the city was designated as a World Heritage Site (cultural landscape) named “Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea” by UNESCO.

Main industries / business
Rio de Janeiro is the second largest industrial, service and financial centre in Brazil, Sao Paul being the largest. The city is headquarters to Brazilian oil, mining and telecommunications. Other large industries are chemicals, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, metal products and textiles. Rio is Brazils top tourist attraction for both domestic and international tourists and tourism and entertainment are now key aspects of the city’s economy.

Political structure
The municipality of Rio de Janeiro is governed by a mayor (prefeito) with the assistance of secretaries who head administrative departments. Since 1984 the mayor has been popularly elected to a four-year term. The city comprises 1 Municipality (Prefeitura), 19 Sub-prefectures (subprefeituras) and 34 Administrative Regions.

Administrative structure
Legislative power is held by the members of the Municipal Chamber, who are simultaneously elected at large through a system of proportional representation

Rio de Janerio is currently responsible for 80% of national petroleum production, 42% of natural gas, the largest concentration of gas thermal plants, a series of new energy generation and technical innovation projects, the only nuclear plants in Brazil and houses offices for all major energy companies.

Although CO2 emissions from Brazil’s energy system are comparatively low, insufficient security of supply is harmful to the growth of the Brazilian economy. Therefore, the challenge is to achieve a cost-effective increase in security of supply without causing higher emission levels. Here, modern energy efficiency technologies and the use of renewables can make a significant contribution.

The objective of the program is to commission projects in: 

  • energy efficiency
  • technological innovation
  • low-carbon economy
  • mass application of the concepts

The objective is for each of these areas to be replicated in four strategic sectors:

  • Transportation
  • Industry
  • Construction
  • Commerce

The lead agency is Rio de Janeiro State Ministry for Economic Development, Energy, Industry and Services (SEDIS), which partnered with leading companies, professional associations and community organizations related to the energy sector. The project is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Coordination of Rio Capital Energy program is managed by a strategic committee, chaired by the Governor of Rio de Janeiro with the participation of presidents of institutions and organizations with established headquarters in the State. Its purpose is to advise the State Ministry for Economic Development, Energy, Industry and Service on the strategic alignment and steering of the program.

To directly coordinate the projects, technicians of each company or association are assigned the task of detailing the project, defining resources and monitor the implementation.

To support project implementation, capacity development is being carried out with a view to enhancing operational and management skills. Project officers and staff receive application-oriented advice and training at the operational level on topics related to renewables and energy efficiency for demonstration projects. Experience gained in pilot projects is systematically recorded, evaluated and made available for developing relevant urban sub-markets.

The program is funded by Rio de Janeiro State Ministry for Economic Development, Energy, Industry and Services (SEDIS) with additional financial contributions from other pubic agencies and the business sector. The overall project cost amounts R$ 2,2billion (US$ 0.6billion).

The program now has a substantial role within the state government as the initiator of activities in the field of renewables and energy efficiency. For instance, the State Ministry for Social Housing has initiated the process for introducing energy efficiency indicators into new buildings. Similarly, the State Ministry of Planning is now implementing an action plan for increasing energy efficiency in public buildings.

Development partnerships with the private sector, public institutions and universities have been established to run pilot projects including:

  • A photovoltaic system has been installed at Rio de Janeiro’s vocational education centre, Centro Federal de Educação Tecnológica, and is to be used for training purposes. Integrating a corresponding component into training courses of the centre is set to reduce the shortage of skilled workers in the field of photovoltaics.

  • Support was provided to the Fundo Verde (Green Fund) to carry out two photovoltaic projects at the Rio de Janeiro State University campus, including what is currently the largest free standing system in Rio de Janeiro. Annually, EUR 2.5 million is invested through the Fund in projects to test and introduce sustainable energy production and mobility technologies at the University.

  • Following the implementation of energy efficiency measures, the planetarium is the city’s first building to be granted an energy efficiency certificate. A building-integrated photovoltaic system is also being installed at the planetarium, which welcomes a large number of visitors annually.

Many of the initial projects have tended to be of an academic nature. Moving forward, greater focus is to be placed on promoting projects with practical relevance to the development of competitive markets in renewable energies and energy efficiency. 

The participation of stake holders from diverse background (public, private, academic, community-led) in the program strategy has improved cooperation among institutions at both state and municipal level. 

The pursuit of a low-carbon economy is a benefit to society and ensures a sustainable future for the city. Investing in efficient energy consumption and renewable and clean energy initiatives helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) that occur in other types of energy generation and transport.

RIO CAPITAL DE ENERGIA - Rio de Janeiro as a reference centre for renewable energy,, (accessed December 8, 2016).

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