Applicability of an ‘Uptake Wave’ Energy Transition Concept in Indian Households

A P Neto-Bradley, R Choudhary, Amir Bazaz | 2019


Reliable, secure, and affordable energy services are essential to ensuring sustainable economic and social development in the rapidly growing cities of the Global South, yet in India over 30 percent of urban households are still reliant on traditional fuels such as biomass and kerosene for some portion of their energy needs. Understanding the factors that influence energy transitions at a household level, is essential for successful strategies to promote the uptake of cleaner fuels and deliver associated socio-economic benefits. Such fast-growing cities often display intra-urban inequalities of considerable magnitude which can condition individual access to resources and impact the effectiveness of energy provision strategies for individual city districts. In this paper we will use the results of a survey of 500 households in Bangalore, India and explore how this data compares with the ‘wave concept’ model of energy transition. This ‘wave concept’ view of energy transitions focuses on appliance ownership as a proxy for energy services and conceptualises the uptake of appliances as a wave with early and late adopters rather than an income-based step change, and as a result better accounts for the role of non-income factors. The wards targeted by the survey cover a range of low-income ward typologies characterised by factors including income, livelihoods, building construction, socio-cultural factors, access to fuels, and reliability of supply. Validating an appropriate model for the uptake of new energy technologies and fuels in households, can better inform policy makers, entrepreneurs, and engineers on the influence of non-income barriers to energy transition across different districts of a city. By understanding how households use energy, and what limits the adoption of more efficient technologies at a local level, city planners and engineers can develop targeted sustainable strategies for adoption of cleaner more efficient fuels and appliances in households.