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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Twisted energy ladder : complexities and unintended consequences in the transition to modern energy services Kowsari, Reza


More than one-third of the world’s population has inadequate access to modern energy services and suffers as a consequence. A better understanding of energy transition is vital for improving future programs. This thesis investigates the challenges of transitioning to modern energy services with the goal of informing policy-making. Chapter 2 is a review of the literature on energy analysis and energy system uptake by the households with a particular focus on rural regions. Building upon the findings in the literature, a new conceptual framework is developed that can act as a basis for developing new empirical and theoretical models of household energy system uptake and use. In Chapter 3, the private sector based approach to rural energy provision (i.e. electrification and Improved Cookstove (ICS) dissemination) is investigated by examining two enterprises in India. Results indicate that the private sector based approach to rural energy provision cannot be a universal solution. It further shows that enterprises are facing many challenges that are beyond their capacity to address, necessitating alternate approaches to private sector involvement. Chapter 4 and 5 investigate the uptake of ICS by commercial kitchens in Bangalore and its potential health implications. The attributes of ICS and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) stove, as perceived by stove users and owners, are explored and the reasons for purchasing ICS are assessed. Results indicate that both groups mostly prefer LPG stoves and that ICS uptake is mainly motivated by economic factors. The potential health implications of this switch in the commercial kitchens are explored by investigating the stove’s emission characteristics (based on both secondary data and direct emission measurements), the stoves smokiness (as perceived by users and owners); and some health symptoms associated with stove smoke. Uptake of ICS by these commercial kitchens is found to potentially have adverse health implications. In brief, this thesis concludes that rural energy provision policies can be improved through a greater emphasis on the human dimension, comprehensive assessment of the target population, and ongoing evaluation of the programs’ outcomes given the major challenges in improving rural energy access and possibilities for spillovers into other market segments.

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