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Essays on energy vulnerability and energy transition in Small Island Developing States

Abstract : This thesis contributes to the literature on small island developing states (SIDS) by investigating the challenges and opportunities for island energy systems to respond to climate change and build a sustainable energy future. There is solid scientific consensus regarding anthropogenic climate change and its unequivocal impacts on every aspect of human existence. SIDS, in particular, are at the receiving end of the disproportionate effects of a changing climate. As a significant contributor to GHG emissions, the energy sector can strategically address climate change, especially when adequately embedded in climate and energy policies. Existing literature on the energy-economy-environment nexus has neglected to account for the challenges faced by these small island nations, a shortcomingthis thesis addresses. We seek to understand the factors that render island energy systems vulnerable and the extent to which the energy transition process can play a role in mitigating their relative energy vulnerability while striving for a sustainable energy future. To this end, we first build a composite index of energy vulnerability that identifies the critical dimensions of energy vulnerability in 36 SIDS. Matching electricity supply and demand is a high wire balancing act as power systems become more diverse, digital, and distributed, making grid management more complex. Using the Republic of Mauritius (RoM) as a case study, we first investigate the drivers of electricity consumption and the underlying temporal dynamics over 1978-2019. We then analyse the economic and technical feasibility of implementing energy and climate targets using a bottom-up cost-optimisation approach over 2019-2050. We show that the environmental dimension captured by the carbon content of primary energy contributes the most to island energy systems, prompting the move away from fossil energy resources on which islands extensively rely. Triggering and accelerating the big switch would also discourage unsustainable production and consumption patterns. We also show that energy conservation policies in the power sector do not necessarily hinder economic growth in the RoM. That combined with low-carbon transition pathways can help the RoM to build its way out of climate change. This process does not necessarily require substantial technological breakthroughs. Instead, economic, environmental and political constraints must be addressed with the international community’s support to build a path towards a sustainable energy future. Ultimately, the energy transition process represents a win-win strategy to mitigate climate change and energy vulnerability.
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Submitted on : Friday, March 4, 2022 - 11:57:07 AM
Last modification on : Sunday, March 6, 2022 - 3:18:52 AM
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  • HAL Id : tel-03597537, version 1


Anna Genave. Essays on energy vulnerability and energy transition in Small Island Developing States. Economics and Finance. Université de la Réunion, 2021. English. ⟨NNT : 2021LARE0030⟩. ⟨tel-03597537⟩



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