Feminizing Decentralized Renewable Energy Programs: A Study of a Community Renewable Energy Project from India
Keywords:feminist energy system, gender and development, renewable energy, decentralized renewable energy, feminist political ecology
The increasing impact of global forces on local communities in the 21st century has necessitated a shift in focus from macro narratives to the micro-politics of planning. One of the critical areas of such micro-politics is energy policy-making in the Global South. It is argued that a bottom-up approach to energy intervention would increase the control and access of the end consumer to the sites of production, shift away from colonial energy production systems, and create more avenues for equitable community development. Within this context, this study critically evaluates a community-based renewable energy project from a feminist perspective. The study is based on data provided by Barefoot College International (BCI), which is one of the leading non-governmental organizations working towards fulfilling SDG goals. The study has used a document analysis approach to produce rich documentation of the community energy program under study. Findings from the study indicate that the current approach to gender inclusion within energy transition lacks a focus on the interlocked subordinations that exist within a community, and the lack of intersectionality in its model design could potentially reinforce the existing inequalities in the form of gendered resource access, livelihoods, and labor work. The study calls for further research on evaluating decentralized renewable energy programs to examine whether the way the energy transition to a low-carbon intensive future will produce equitable outcomes across genders.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Aritra Chakrabarty
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