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Towards a Spatial Understanding of Solar Energy Transition: The making of a solar energy market in Bangladesh and the experiences of on-grid and off-grid households

FERDOUS, RAIHANA (2019) Towards a Spatial Understanding of Solar Energy Transition: The making of a solar energy market in Bangladesh and the experiences of on-grid and off-grid households. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis critically analyses the rollout of solar energy technology in Bangladesh and the consequences for the solar energy market and for the everyday lives of on-grid, off-grid households. Electricity is seen as one of the key drivers for economic and social development in countries such as Bangladesh, which has been struggling to ensure sustainable energy access and an uninterrupted electricity supply to all citizens since the independence of the country in 1971. Low carbon energy is rising in importance globally and Bangladesh is heralded as a prime example of the successful implementation of solar energy technology in the Global South, where solar technologies are seen to provide an alternative source of electricity supply and a solution to the longstanding power crisis. By paying attention to the spaces and places of energy transition, this thesis highlights the differentiated outcomes of solar energy provision in urban and rural areas in Bangladesh. Contributing to the growing field of energy geographies, energy for development and other energy social science studies, the thesis draws on ethnographic field research in Bangladesh to expand understandings of solar energy transition. Following a multi-scalar network of actors involved in the implementation of solar energy technology, participant observation, interviewing and visual methods are used to capture the experiences of solar energy integration in both rural (off-grid) and urban (on-grid) lives. In doing so, the thesis makes three arguments. Firstly, that the way solar advocates construct energy problems and advance technical solutions does not recognise spatially constructed and complex relations of power, conflicts of interest, and everyday market politics at a range of scales. Secondly, that energy policy approaches need to recognise the heterogeneity of energy users and the complex ways in which access to, and control over, energy resources varies according to multiple, interlocking and hierarchical systems of differentiation including the intersectionality of class, gender and other social relations. Lastly, that experiences of energy transition are shaped not only by geographical space, but also socio-cultural space in which the geographical situatedness of rural and urban areas shapes the experience of low carbon energy transition.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Energy Transition; Electricity; Bangladesh; Solar-PV, Rural, Urban, Development, Market, Everyday life, Gender
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:10 Jun 2019 12:29

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