The paper portrays the complexity of energy transitions drawing on the experience of the Bolivian National Biomass Programme. The transitions from wood to natural gas systems in the rural stucco and chicha (local beer) industries of Cochabamba serve as case-studies. A broad literature review of determinants of adoption and diffusion of new technologies in development is used to design a multidisciplinary conceptual framework, which is used to identify the factors that determine the extent of success in the energy transition in the two industries. Two periods in the diffusion of natural gas technology are distinguished: the 1990s, which were characterized by relative stability, and 2000-2003, when a national and international crisis posed problems for the adoption and diffusion of natural gas systems. Using data from field-work and secondary sources, the authors analyse the diffusion trends during both periods and show the interrelation between technological aspects and societal factors specific to the local, national and international levels in determining the speed and success of the diffusion process. They conclude that policy-makers should take into account a wide variety of interrelated factors when embarking on the transition from one energy source to another. A multidisciplinary approach is recommended for the management of energy transitions.
|Energy for sustainable development
|Published - 2005