Department of Geography

Siddharth Sareen as supervisor

Postdoc Siddharth Sareen is a supervisor for master projects on topics related to any or all of the themes of energy transitions, political economy, resource governance, environmental planning, and interdisciplinary social science work on renewable energy uptake.

Solar power
A solar park in the Alentejo region of Portugal where I work on solar energy governance.
Suddharth Sareen

Siddharth Sareen presents his academic interests and suggestions for new master projects.

My research and expertise

I lead a project on solar energy governance in Portugal, and am part of another large European project on smart grids in Norway with a living lab in Bergen. I have written several articles on the political economy of clean energy transitions in India and Portugal. My research is empirically driven and I am currently active and well networked in the blossoming field of energy geographies.

My background and strong publishing record in development studies and natural resource governance equips me to supervise on a variety of other topics, especially in relation to resource politics. I am pursuing engagement with accountability as an analytical and methodological tool, and welcome queries for supervision linked with this concept. I teach the 10 ECTS course GEO337, titled ‘Discourses, politics and people: Critical perspectives on environmental governance’, which is a popular option on the Geographies of Sustainable Development Masters degree programme.

General themes for supervision

I am happy to discuss supervision and co-supervision of Masters and PhD theses respectively on topics related to any or all of the themes of energy transitions, political economy, resource governance, environmental planning, and interdisciplinary social science work on renewable energy uptake. My interests in supervision are broad – I currently supervise a Masters student on solar transitions and energy poverty in Portugal.

Indicative ideas for Masters thesis projects I wish to supervise

Project 1: Near or far? A spatial lens on social innovation in clean energy finance
This project will apply a spatial lens to the key issue of clean energy finance. For energy transitions to achieve sustainability, they must both decarbonise the sector and ensure social equity. But money is unevenly distributed, with higher concentrations where there is better energy access, and lack of investment in areas that still require massive energy uptake to fulfil basic needs. To overcome this predicament, we require a better understanding of how investment in renewable energy solutions is mobilised. Do people support certain kinds of projects in their proximity, and other kinds remotely? Do decision-makers treat urban and rural contexts differently vis-à-vis clean energy finance? What are the effects of such spatial differentiation for sustainable energy transitions? A Masters student who takes up this project will have the option to work on one or two existing cases – Sweden-based TRINE’s crowd-funding model to finance solar energy projects in African and Indian communities, and Lisbon-based solar energy cooperative Coopérnico’s crowd-funding for solar projects around Portugal. They will benefit from inputs for desk-based research, and are free to pick their own cases if they so prefer.

Project 2: Sustainability effects of solar energy transitions across space and scale
In what ways are solar energy projects contributing to sustainability? Is their grid integration environmentally sound? Are they making the energy sector more people-friendly? What factors matter towards such outcomes and what processes determine these factors? The project could be empirically based on single/multiple sites/scales in e.g. Norway, Portugal or India. I am available to provide inputs on applications for requisite funding to support fieldwork. Conceptually, the project will draw on infrastructure and environmental politics, and the political economy of development from energy geographies perspectives.

Project 3: Land-use change due to energy sprawl in the renewables transition
What are the land-related impacts of shifts away from fossil fuels and towards renewable sources like solar energy? Is a transition to renewables accompanied by more distributed generation or driven by large concentrated projects? The project will draw on multiple data types, both qualitative and quantitative, to study energy transitions in relation to land-use change, most likely in comparative perspective. It will draw on emerging scholarship on energy sprawl solutions, backed by political and development geography theories that connect land use, power relations, and environmental planning and governance. The regional focus is flexible and depends on data availability.

Project 4: Smart grids in Norway and Portugal: A game-changer or business-as-usual?
This project will draw on data from Bergen in Norway and potentially also Evora in Portugal, the former via a living lab that I help conduct, and the second based on my empirical focus and network linked with solar energy in the Portuguese city of Evora, where a 30,000 home pilot project served as the basis to move over a million users to a smart grid in Portugal. Depending on interest, it is possible to combine this with a focus on solar prosuming in one or both countries. The key idea is to examine what role smart grids are likely to play in conjunction with smart city discourses, ranging from internet-of-things applications to energy efficient use and from energy democracy to greater central control.

For more details about my work, see http://www.uib.no/en/persons/Siddharth.Sareen. To discuss supervision, get in touch on Siddharth.Sareen@uib.no