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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Appropriate technology and the rural energy sector in South East Asian developing countries Subbakrishna, Nagendra


Given increasing problems in the availability, affordability and deliverability of commercial primary and secondary energy resources, coupled with growing macroeconomic uncertainties, the use of renewable, non-commercial energy resources has been actively promoted in rural areas of developing countries. This, in addition to the fact that conventional, 'state-of-the-art' energy facilities present technical problems, are inequitable and pose potential environmental hazards, has led to proposals for instituting alternative, intermediate or 'appropriate' technologies in rural settlements. This thesis identifies technical, economic, social, cultural and institutional barriers to the introduction of intermediate or 'appropriate' technologies in rural areas. The cases of solar and biogas technologies in Korea, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea the Philippines and Thailand are considered. Policy and planning process recommendations are made on the roles of government, voluntary aid-agencies and the rural user, to overcome the obstacles to implementing these technologies. These recommendations cover the micro (village) and macro (regional and national) levels over two time horizons, and stress the need for a comprehensive approach to discerning rural needs, followed by integrated technology diffusion through effective program and project implementation. In addition, this thesis identifies the need for a continuous collection of information on rural socio-economic conditions and potential for rural interfuel substitution and finally, recommends research into improving technical efficiencies of alternative energy technologies such as solar and biogas. Alternative or intermediate energy technologies such as solar and biogas can play an important role in augmenting rural energy supply. Unless steps are taken to remove the identified barriers to implementation in future technology diffusion efforts, this potential will not be realized. Policy and planning process recommendations made in this thesis present means through which these barriers could be removed.

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