Stack-ladders and lanterns : understanding energy poverty for cooking and lighting in Kano State, Nigeria and exploring solar solutions

Zubairu, Sule and Whyatt, Duncan and Markusson, Nils (2019) Stack-ladders and lanterns : understanding energy poverty for cooking and lighting in Kano State, Nigeria and exploring solar solutions. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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The model of the energy ladder has been adopted by energy researchers to study household energy poverty and energy transition in the developing countries. However, this model has been widely criticized for placing more emphasis on householder’s income and overlooking other critical factors. Consequently, several energy researchers have suggested an alternative model, the so-called energy-stacking model. This study observes that conclusions from proponents of both models need to be revisited, because they fail to capture the reality of households energy systems. In addition, this study critically observes that household energy for lighting has received little attention in these models’ assumptions and discourses. These models were combined in this research to study household energy poverty and transition. This study goes on to explore household energy for lighting in more detail, focussing upon opportunities of using solar RETs for alleviating energy for lighting problems in the metropolitan and non-metropolitan zones of the study area, Kano State, Nigeria. This research adopts both quantitative and qualitative approaches informed by the pragmatic epistemological orientation of this study. The quantitative component evaluates the outcomes of a household energy survey (for both cooking and lighting). The results from this component were interpreted through existing and new models (ladder, stacking and integrated-‘stack-ladder’). The context of the quantitative component is for both the metropolitan and the non-metropolitan of the study area. The qualitative component, in contrast, investigates the barriers to and opportunities for adopting solar RETs. This component adopts semi-structured interviews with key solar stakeholders. The findings from this research indicate that the characteristics of household energy were better represented with the alternative model presented in this study than either the energy ladder model or energy stacking model. Thus, this study argues that neither the model of the energy ladder nor the energy stacking have the capacity to capture of household energy usage in the developing countries such as Nigeria. The majority of the households are found to be energy poor for cooking across all zones of the study area, using mainly traditional classes of energy. In contrast, this study reveals that the majority of households across both zones rely on transitional and modern energy classes for lighting. The study reveals that there are drivers for solar RETs uptake, however, these drivers are being obstructed by a series of economic, technical and political barriers. In conclusion, this thesis contributes to the field of energy poverty and energy transition literature in many ways; theoretically, empirically and methodologically by challenging the established work in these fields. This thesis argues that the two conceptual models that have been widely used to explore energy poverty at the household energy level in developing countries can usefully be integrated as demonstrated in this study. It also emphasizes the importance of policy intervention and participation of all actors in addressing solar RETs’ barriers for uptake.

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Thesis (PhD)
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21 Aug 2019 15:20
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16 Jul 2024 05:47