Relationship between Renewable Energy and Socio-economic Development: A Study in Patuakhali District
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The major research purpose is to critically assess the relationship between the use of renewable energies and socio-economic development of the rural people in Bangladesh. The research objectives are focused to explore the socio-economic development of rural people resulting from the application of renewable energies; to assess how Grameen Shakti distributes renewable energy technologies to improve socio-economic conditions of rural people; and to explain under what conditions the renewable energy usage can actually bring positive socio-economic changes in rural areas. The problem statement is focused on why many villagers are not using solar energies even if it is cheaper to buy. The research is conducted by qualitative research method and both secondary and primary data collection techniques are employed. The study is focused on Bangladesh because the number of solar energy installment is increasing vastly and it has become very cheap to buy. The study is conducted in two villages of Dumki Upazila of Patuakhali district of Bangladesh because there are many climate migrants live in this area and most of renewable energy users in this area are from climate migrant backgrounds. The study consists of 8 qualitative interviews with households who use solar energy and 8 more qualitative interviews with households who do not use solar energy. Focus group discussion is also conducted as an interview session with Grameen Shakti employees. A telephone interview is also conducted with UNO (Upazila Nirbahi Officer) of Dumki Upazilla to get information about how local government can help to increase the accessibility of solar energy. It is found that there are visible differences between the users and non-users of solar energies in rural areas; such as the households who use solar energy achieve comparatively more socio-economic and environmental benefits than the non-users of solar energy. Distribution and accessibility of renewable energies, how the company reaches their clients, and how they company uses their funds for offering renewable energies are found as major conditions to define whether the use of renewable energy can develop socio-economic conditions or not. The changes in socio-economic development caused by the renewable energy use are attempted to relate with energy and sustainable development theory. The research also attempts to identify the limitations that hinder the accessibility of renewable energies in rural areas and some major further scopes of the study are discussed. An ambiguous finding of the research is that many villagers do not use solar energies even if it is cheaper to buy, so, there can be more studies conducted to analyze psychological and cultural barriers that do not inspire them to utilize renewable energies.