Innovative technology in the Pacific: Building resilience for vulnerable communities

Jeremy M. Hills, Evanthie Michalena (Lead Author), Konstantinos J. Chalvatzis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Transitioning to sustainability will require innovation, not just in technological and economic terms but also in governance and culture. The work presented here sought a remote, vulnerable island context (Fiji, South Pacific) to enable further insight into the innovation process related to resilience and sustainability. The innovation targeted by this work was off-grid solar renewable energy (RE) systems framed as a development instrument to promote local, community-based resilience to climate change through increased livelihood security and reduction of climate change effects. Applying a local-level resilience framework to solar technology use, we conclude that the RE system can improve resilience, however, unintended consequences included a rush for energy usage causing a “tragedy of commons” of finite stored energy and subsequently increased supplementary fossil fuel use. This suggests that there are still missed resilience opportunities in the way that the innovation is implemented in developing countries and remote areas in particular. Further analysis demonstrated that improved planning at the socio-technological interface has the potential to strengthen communities’ resilience. With significant RE investments required for a transition to a low-carbon future in many developing countries, there is a pressing need to effectively introduce innovative uses of technologies. Existential threats to many local communities, and some nations in the Pacific may mean that sub-optimal innovation will not be enough.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-26
Number of pages11
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Volume129
Early online date6 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

Keywords

  • Innovation
  • Pacific Island Countries
  • Renewable Energy
  • Vulnerable Communities
  • Resilience

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