Understanding the Energy-Poverty Nexus in Northern, Remote and Indigenous Communities Using a Social Value of Energy Approach
The transition from conventional fossil fuel-powered utilities towards renewable energy (RE) and alternative socio-technical arrangements has the potential to either alleviate or exacerbate poverty, especially for marginal communities who rely heavily on energy resources for heating and survival, such as Indigenous communities in northern and remote regions. Therefore, there is a need to understand the dynamic interplay between energy and poverty—or the energy-poverty nexus—from the community level using an approach that is holistic and contextual to inform energy transition initiatives, to work towards value generating rather than value eroding outcomes. This thesis does so using the Social Value of Energy (SVE) approach. First, it develops, based on current literature, a conceptual framework to identify the value generating and value eroding outcomes of RE in northern and Indigenous communities, along with the techno-variables that contribute to identified outcomes, and pathways towards value generating outcomes. Next, it applies the framework on a case study with a northern Indigenous community to generate empirical evidence on the SVE in this context. Finally, it elucidates lessons learned about the SVE in northern, remote and Indigenous communities, to advance our understanding of the energy-poverty nexus.
Energy-Poverty Nexus, Indigenous, First Nations, Alaska, Canada, Social Value of Energy, Energy Transition, Renewable Energy
Master of Environment and Sustainability (M.E.S.)
School of Environment and Sustainability
Environment and Sustainability