Helene Ahlborg’s research is about rural electrification in East Africa and societal transformation. She studies the co-development of technology and society and how provision of electricity services, based on small-scale renewable energy resources, impacts on people’s lives and transforms rural communities. But also, how the local context and especially social, economic and power relations between poor and rich, women and men, young and old, village and town, etc. influence the electrification process and impact on the long-term viability of the energy system.
Her current work is focused on local and global energy transitions towards more diverse and decentralized energy systems. Two themes are at the core of this work: power, politics and governance, and the energy system’s embedding in rural societies.
Her empirical work is focused on Tanzania and Rwanda and case studies of small-scale electric production systems. Also, she coordinates the Swedish team in a Sida funded partnership and research training program on Sustainable Energy with University of Rwanda.
Her background is in social environmental science. Theoretically her work builds on and contributes to debates in the fields of energy and development, rural development, innovation studies, science and technology, socionatures, feminist theory and power theory.
Helene is currently affiliated as guest researcher at Sussex University and the Science and Policy Research Unit (SPRU), Brighton, UK. There she works with prof. Andy Stirling, Dr. David Ockwell and Dr. Rob Byrne.
At Chalmers, Helene is connected to the Area of Advance Energy and promotes interdisciplinary work with the global Sustainable Development Goals with a focus on the global South.
She is part of the interdisciplinary research group STEEP-RES (Socio-Technical-Ecological Evaluations of Potential Renewable Energy Systems) and she has close collaborations with Prof. Sverker Jagers and Dr. Frida Boräng, at Political Science, Göteborg University and Prof. Andrea Nightingale, Department of Urban and Rural Development, SLU, Uppsala (formerly Prof at School of Global Studies, Göteborg University). Other longterm collaborations involve colleagues at UNAM, Morelia campus, Mexico and Eawag research institute in Dübendorf, Switzerland.
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Changing rural economies in Tanzania following small-scale electrification. Opportunities and challenges coming with hydropower development in farmer communities: The Mawengi hydropower scheme. Report from Stakeholder Workshop held in Dar es Salaam, 6 May 2014
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