The Sustainability Ballast Framework for Design of Remote Electrification

Niebert Blair, Susan Krumdieck, Dirk Pons

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


The UN sustainable development goal No 7 aims to achieve affordable and clean energy for all, but this is not yet achieved for approximately one billion people in remote communities. Small scale systems can provide benefits, but existing approaches are primarily top-down approaches that are developed by experts, and focus on the electrical engineering, economics, and policy aspects. These are not always successful, because the sociological aspects are overlooked. A new approach to addressing remote energy development is required that better addresses the societal component. The objective was to develop a conceptual framework whereby the sociological values of indigenous communities were better included in electrification decision-making.A grounded theory approach was used to interview members of a
rural indigenous community and identify key features of their world view. Several categories of values were identified, referred to as ’ballasts’. The idea of balance between these was a strong theme that emerged from the community discussion. A composite index was then constructed. Case study results are presented for a remote rural Amazonian community, Kabakaburi in Guyana. Nine sustainability ballasts were identified as part of the indigenous community’s world view: biological capacity, social capacity, autonomy, equity & equality, electric utility, health, education, communication, and products and services. This paper develops a new framework to include the values and world-view aspects of indigenous communities in electrification
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Specialist publicationCaribbean Electric Industry Journal
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Indigenous communities


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