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Department of Anthropology

Academic Staff

Publication details for Professor Sandra Bell

Adams, A., Taylor, P. & Bell, S. (2012). Equity Dimensions of Micro-generation: A whole systems approach. Journal of Renewable Sustainable Energy 4(5): 053122.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Micro-generation represents one technology ready option for making the low carbon transition. Energy choices we make in the present have implications for future generations. Existing methods for formulating energy policy and assessing the suitability of micro-generation technology often concentrate upon a subset of issues relating to specific economic criteria or policy targets or on one technology, but often fail to adopt a whole systems approach or consider present or future equity issues. Important factors are often overlooked leading to poorly implemented policy or unsatisfactory technology deployment. There is a clear need for a process or assessment methodology that focuses upon equity while making choices relating to micro or small-scale generation projects. This paper describes an integrated whole systems methodology developed heuristically by a wide range of interdisciplinary stakeholders for use by groups of decision makers when assessing the equity aspects of micro-generation projects. The paper discusses the desirable attributes that this type of assessment should have and outlines the merits of the whole systems approach. Steps taken to develop, test, and refine the methodology using case studies are discussed. The equity issues arising from each case study are examined in wider context by quantifying the impact micro or small-scale generation could have within English households of varying age and tenure in a range of settings including a real community case study. This provides a snapshot of where equity issues manifest themselves and considers the numbers of households they affect. Using the methodology and focusing upon equity has allowed recommendations to be made that could inform future energy policy.