Energy poverty is a major driver of Timor-Leste’s overall poverty cycle. Impacting many crosscutting issues, energy poverty generates ill-health and environmental degradation, and limits economic growth where it is needed most. It also contributes to poor education and gender inequality. According to the 2010 census, 90% of people use inefficient, open, wood-fueled fires for cooking and heating. Fuel wood is mainly used in the residential sector for cooking and to some degree, in cottage industries such as bakeries, salt and tofu making. A 2011 Mercy Corps’ study found that households use 9.3kg of firewood per day, meaning that as much as 561,528 tons of firewood was consumed for household cooking in 2010. The amount is roughly equal to 179,792 tons of oil. (Lee versaun Tetum iha ne'e)
To help address this issue, the Sustainable Bioenergy Production from Biomass (SBEPB) Project with the support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Government of Timor-Leste (GoTL), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other funding partners will focus on the promotion and use of biomass energy resources for the provision of energy access and services in rural areas. Women’s participation, representation and access to resources and benefits will be a key focus of this project.
The biomass project is a four-year program contributing to the reduction of greenhouse emissions through removal of barriers to sustainable production and utilization of biomass resources in Timor-Leste and application of biomass energy technologies to support local economic, environmental and social development.
- Developing policy and legal bioenergy frameworks for the promotion of energy efficient and low carbon end-use appliances
- Scaling up of 20,000 improved cook stoves (ICS) across the country. These cook stoves – as well as institutional and industrial stoves – will replace traditional less efficient stoves currently being used by many households in Timor-Leste.
- Assisting the Government of Timor-Leste in mainstreaming sustainable biomass energy in policy formulation.
- The dissemination of 20,000 improved cook stoves will result in the reduction of GHG emissions amounting to approximately 206,633tCO2e.
- Promoting sustainable forest management will directly enhance women’s access to fuel wood in community forests, reducing the amount of time that woman spend collecting fuel wood far from their villages.
- The delivery of stoves will also create employment at village level. Villagers who are skilled masons, including women, will be targeted as trainees for constructing improved stoves.
- Communities with access to forests will earn additional revenue by producing fuel wood for sale to communities that are facing fuel wood shortages, while at the same time providing a more sustainable alternative fuel supply.
- The national emission of greenhouse gases resulting from deforestation and the use of non-renewable biomass will be mitigated.
- Timor-Leste’s access to clean bioenergy will be improved and employment through inclusive businesses will be created.
- A renewable energy policy framework will help Timor-Leste to institutionalize renewable energy systems at the national level.