The sun shines brightly in the capital of Xaxado. In the hinterlands of Pernambuco, in Serra Talhada, the king of stars, which once symbolized difficult times, now also represents hope and the opportunity for a new form of development.
With over 80,000 inhabitants and 25,000 daily visitors, the city’s potential is evident, positioning itself as a reference hub in health, education, commerce, and services. The climatic conditions strengthen this potential by providing the opportunity to convert the powerful solar incidence into energy.
Two main branches benefit from the climatic characteristics of the hinterlands: wind energy and solar energy. However, despite the abundant resource of the sun, it is still underexplored, marking the initial steps toward change.
Serra Talhada’s long-term vision is to become a reference for sustainable, clean, safe, affordable, and climate-resilient energy, capable of improving the quality of life for its residents.
The first step to realize these expectations was the city’s adherence, in 2018, to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, the largest global alliance of cities and local governments voluntarily committed to the fight against climate change. In 2020, advancing in its commitment, the city compiled its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions inventory, a crucial step for building actions and policies to address climate change.
Since 2018, the municipality has adopted a series of measures to contribute to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions through mechanisms for energy efficiency, reducing environmental impacts, promoting the productive chain of the sector, and environmental education to encourage the use of renewable energy sources.
The initial initiatives focus on resource savings coupled with sustainability. The Brazilian Association of Municipalities (ABM) estimates that expenses on public lighting represent a value between 3% and 6% of the municipal budget, with the majority spent on public areas: streets, avenues, and squares. This is where the practical and visible work for everyone began.
The process of replacing incandescent or fluorescent mercury bulbs with LED bulbs was the starting point and is expected to extend to the entire public network. The alternative is effective in energy savings, provides greater safety for the population, and also helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions, CO². In addition to these benefits, this process also promotes the generation of new jobs. These advances were designed and implemented through an interdisciplinary effort involving managers and technicians from the Public Services, Planning, and Executive Power departments.
Making public buildings more efficient is also part of the action plan. This began with the relocation of the administrative center to a construction with more energy-efficient architecture. Now, 11 municipal agencies benefit from a space with greater natural air circulation, reducing cooling costs, and increased natural light incidence, decreasing lighting expenses. Concentrating these agencies in a single space also ensured an annual savings of R$180,000 in rent.
In addition to these initiatives, other actions contribute to addressing climate change. For example, the Municipal Urban Afforestation Plan, developed in partnership with the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco and the State Public Ministry, launched in 2019. It is the first in the Northeast to exclusively use native species from the Caatinga biome for urban afforestation.