Giving all energy stakeholders a voice: developing a theoretical framework for the uptake and sustained use of improved/clean biomass energy technologies

Robinson, Benjamin L (2021) Giving all energy stakeholders a voice: developing a theoretical framework for the uptake and sustained use of improved/clean biomass energy technologies. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 - to ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services by 2030 – represents a considerable challenge. Currently, 40% of the global population do not have access to sustainable energy sources, and instead rely on burning biomass (wood, dung, agricultural waste) to satisfy their energy needs. Despite a long history of energy technology for poverty-alleviation across the globe many interventions fail at persuading end-users to continue using such technologies beyond an initial adoption phase. Whilst many champion sustainable energy solutions, most implementation and evaluation approaches do not consider long term sustained use. As a result, many end-user-orientated energy solutions, such as Improved Cookstoves (ICS), fall out of use once project partners depart. These failures often reflect the fact that energy-focused development initiatives are shaped by increasingly complex technologies rather than social methodologies that prioritise understanding end-user priorities and the complex contextual barriers to sustained use.

The global energy context is echoed in the focus country of this research Nepal. Nepal has a long history of International Development assistance, yet 65.8% of rural households still use firewood as their primary source of energy. Unfortunately, whilst 94% of Nepal’s population has access to electricity (The World Bank, 2018), the supply is often unstable and the infrastructure not suitable for households to rely on electricity for their cooking needs (Clements et al., 2020). This results in only 29% of the population having access to clean cooking fuels and technologies (The World Bank, 2018). In addition to these objective factors, I have an established network of International Development energy contacts that could facilitate an easy and effective working environment across Nepal.

In this research I design, develop and present a novel qualitative implementation or delivery model, the Technology Implementation Model for Energy (TIME), for practitioners and policymakers that focuses on refining three core areas of energy technology implementation; to rethink how impact is defined, to understand differences between practitioner perception and end-user reality, and to champion a co-produced approach with all key stakeholders in the energy value chain or system. TIME is the first energy technology implementation model to blend Social Enterprise, Appropriate Technology, behavioural change models utilised in the Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) and Health sectors, and International Development planning tools. This method promotes a values-driven approach centred around co-production, ownership, use of resources and equality. In addition, I focus on evaluating the Nepali biomass ICS sector in two parts, the first using the Market Map Tool and second, using TIME. The results of which have been published at Robinson et al. (2021b) and Robinson et al. (2021a) respectively. The application of these tools leads to insights into the sector such as, the role of ‘stacking’ ICS (using multiple energy fuels/technologies simultaneously), the impact of demand and supply side incentives, and policy changes to increase the sustained use of ICS.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Clifford, Mike J
Jewitt, Sarah
Keywords: Biomass energy technologies, Sustainable development
Subjects: T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery > TJ807 Renewable energy sources
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering > Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering
Item ID: 66757
Depositing User: Robinson, Benjamin
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2021 04:40
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2021 04:40

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