Clean Energy for Health Environments and Lives (CE4HEAL): Rural and remote community leadership in clean energy solutions for Australia and India

Sotiris Vardoulakis, Shiva Nagendra, Linda Ford, Veronica Matthews, Supriya Mathew, Catherine Joyce, Krishna Vasudevan, Kerstin Zander, Amelia Joshy, Shoumick Mitra, Gopika Indu, Soma Shekar, Prerna Sharma, Bipasha Mukherjee, Prarthana Borah, Pratika Chawla, Kris Vine

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Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIM:The Clean Energy for Healthy Environments and Lives (CE4HEAL) project aimed to engage with Central Australian and South Indian communities in rural and remote areas to identify barriers and enablers to adopting solar energy for improved health outcomes. The project aimed to collect, synthesise and communicate examples of good practice in solar energy projects in rural and remote communities with high levels of poverty and climate change vulnerability. METHOD:We involved Indigenous and non-Indigenous collaborators and communities from Central Australia and South India. Qualitative methods were used for data collection and thematic analysis, including a scoping review, stakeholder interviews and focus group discussions. Local schools and art centres were involved in artwork development aiming to enhance awareness of the health benefits of clean energy and design solar energy advocacy materials. RESULTS:The lack of clean, reliable and affordable energy is a key contributor to poor health outcomes and social injustice in rural and remote communities. Indigenous communities in particular have often been excluded from electrification programmes and impacted by large scale renewable energy developments on traditional lands. Low home ownership, inadequate housing construction and maintenance, and inter-linked institutional, financial, technical, cultural and linguistic barriers pose challenges to clean energy transition in rural and remote communities. Without close and ongoing consultation with community stakeholders, clean energy projects may fail to gain acceptance, making their sustainable implementation difficult. CONCLUSIONS:Successful implementation of solar energy projects in rural and remote Central Australia and South India requires community led participatory processes, integrating clean energy and housing adaptation approaches, suitable finance models, and appropriate microgrid technology. Indigenous environmental knowledge and culture are critical to enhancing awareness and understanding the challenges to implementing clean energy solutions. This can help to decrease energy vulnerability, achieve better environmental, health and socio-economic outcomes for rural and remote communities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2023
Event35th Annual Conference of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology - Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: 17 Sept 202321 Sept 2023
https://www.iseeconference.org/

Conference

Conference35th Annual Conference of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology
Abbreviated titleISEE 2023
Country/TerritoryTaiwan, Province of China
CityKaohsiung
Period17/09/2321/09/23
Internet address

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