In order to form a laboratory for financing climate action projects, LEDS Lab, an initiative part of the Urban-LEDS II ICLEI project, selected two Brazilian cities to provide technical assistance in the preparation and implementation of energy efficiency and photovoltaic energy projects. These cities were Belo Horizonte and Recife, from the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais and Pernambuco, respectively.
The initiatives took place in public buildings, in the education sector (Herbert José de Souza Municipal School, in Belo Horizonte) and in the health sector (Recife Women’s Hospital), and resulted in the promotion of clean energy sources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and aiding in financial savings for the municipality.
The initiative aimed to collaborate with one of the great challenges of local governments: obtaining financing for climate mitigation and adaptation projects. Through training offered by consultants that included mapping potential funders and through the bridges created by collaborators of the LEDS Lab project, Municipal managers were able to improve their capacity to prepare financeable projects and take another step towards achieving the cities’ climate goals.
The Guide for the Preparation of Financeable Climate Action Projects, made available to the entire ICLEI network, is one of the products resulting from these experiences, and can guide municipalities in the preparation of financeable projects. Moreover, a Case Study was also developed to showcase the LEDS Lab process and experience in Brazil. The study can be accessed in English here.
The Recife City Hall and Pernambuco’s Energy Local Provider (CELPE) inaugurated in August 2021 the photovoltaic solar plant at Recife’s Woman’s Hospital (HMR). From the renewable energy source, around 40 GWh/month will be generated, which will allow an annual savings of approximately R$ 240 thousand to the municipal health unit.
ICLEI South America played a key role in the implementation of the project. ICLEI Low Carbon’s team facilitated and mediated matchmaking meetings with several prospective funders, managing to establish a partnership between Recife’s City Government and CELPE (local energy provider to the State of Pernambuco). This partnership enabled financing to implement the whole project at the Women’s Hospital of Recife (Hospital da Mulher do Recife, HMR).
In addition to an economic contribution to the maintenance of the HMR, the photovoltaic generation system installed by CELPE contributes to environmental preservation, reducing 7,000 tons of CO2 annually, which are responsible for the greenhouse effect and, consequently, for global warming. The impact of residues and gases that will no longer be emitted into the atmosphere is equivalent to planting almost 50,000 trees in the same period.
“We installed photovoltaic panels along the entire roof of the HMR to produce clean energy, ensuring that the Women’s Hospital has a safe and clean source of energy and making sure that, in addition to saving many lives, the future is preserved”, said João Campos, mayor of Recife, during the inauguration of the project.
During this launch, Mayor Campos reinforced the importance of the partnership that allowed the development of the project: “In addition to CELPE´s decisive role, I want to thank ICLEI, which has proven to be an important partner of the city, especially in matters related to climate change and environmental protection.”
The city of Recife, associated with ICLEI South America since 2015, is among the 16 most vulnerable cities to the effects of the climate crisis in the world and appears among the protagonists in the search for pathways and solutions aligned with the global sustainability agenda. By the end of 2020, the city published their updated Local Climate Action Plan containing actions for the sectors of Energy, Sanitation, Mobility and Resilience.
Within the scope of LEDS Lab, the “Solar Schools Project: Energy to renew the hopes of future generations”, submitted by Belo Horizonte in the selection, emerged from an initiative called COMpassos that aimed to integrate universities, the community and the local government, with Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) as an important actor in this process. After the integration of the project to the LEDS Lab, the Municipal School Herbert José de Souza was selected for the implementation of the pilot project, having stood out for being the largest school unit in the northern region of the city, and for being located in an area of climate vulnerability. The pilot project consisted of implementing an 81.45 kWp photovoltaic system and replacing all conventional light bulbs with LED ones.
The municipality has a relevant history of local planning for actions to combat climate change, having as its main pillars the Municipal Policy to Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change, instituted in 2011; the Municipal Committee on Climate Change and Eco-efficiency, created in 2006; the Greenhouse Gas Inventories, with emissions assessed between 2000 and 2019, and the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan, revised in 2020 (PBH, 2021).
Aiming to reinforce the advocacy role of Urban-LEDSII, ICLEI South America created and installed Education Centers in the cities of Belo Horizonte and Recife, in Brazil. The Centers were installed at the Center for Idioms, Languages, Innovation and Creativity – CLIC, in Belo Horizonte, and at the EcoNúcleo Jaqueira, in Recife.
The main objective is for these spaces to serve as a teaching laboratory to disseminate topics such as climate change, renewable energies and energy efficiency, as well as being a space for exhibition and meeting for various social actors. The target audience of the Centers is diverse and includes municipal public education students, city hall employees, community or educational environmental groups and groups led by ICLEI, among others.