Constructing an inclusive vision of sustainable transition to decentralised energy: Local practices, knowledge, values and narratives in the case of community-managed grids in rural India

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Abstract

This chapter claims that the global North’s vision of sustainable energy transition (SET), which informs policies and infrastructure developments, holds a partial account of diverse energy-related practices and associated values that are endemic to local communities. Referring to the EU directive, this chapter points towards the implicit bias about the role of advanced technologies in SET. The vision of SET expressed in the EU directive has the interlocked relation with market designs, economic growth and underlying rational values that might result in a mismatch with needs, values and practices of local communities. This chapter presents empirical observations from an ethnographic field-research on community-managed solar mini-grids in rural India to hint at alternative possibilities and contribute to a more inclusive vision of SET. In particular, it demonstrates that practices of improvisation, redistribution of energy and adaptation of mini-grid informed by the villagers’ social, cultural and economic needs are entangled with local knowledge and values. By learning from the local practices, knowledge, values and narratives with energy technologies, this chapter proposes to take a step towards a “big picture” of the sustainable transition to decentralised energy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDilemmas of Energy Transitions in the Global South
Subtitle of host publicationBalancing Urgency and Justice
EditorsAnkit Kumar, Johanna Höffken, Auke Pols
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge - Taylor & Francis Group
Chapter3
Pages39-54
Number of pages16
Edition1st Edition
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-367-48645-7
ISBN (Print)978-1-032-01546-0
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Sustainable energy transition
  • Decentralised energy system
  • Improvisation
  • Social practices
  • Community energy
  • Values
  • Energy anthropology
  • Mini-grids
  • Energy policy

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