Strengthening resilience against disasters and climate change: Sustainable energy in Quy Nhon City

This paper investigates the relationship between disasters and energy supply in the
coastal city of Quy Nhon, Vietnam. Although increasing attention is being paid to
this issue, there are few studies that investigate the impacts of energy perturbations
following extreme weather events. Drawing on multiple methods, including survey
questionnaires, focus groups and key actor interviews, this research focuses on the
coastal communes of Nhon Ly and Nhon Hai, Quy Nhon. The principal livelihoods in
these communes are fishing and seafood processing, livelihoods which are likely to be
particularly affected by climatic changes. The research finds that while all participants
were connected to the electricity grid, they also experienced disruptions to their supply
which were exacerbated during times of water stress and natural disasters, including
typhoons. The impacts of perturbations in the energy supply include higher costs for
alternative energy sources, the need to hire additional labour and worsened working
conditions. This research also finds that, in spite of awareness of climate change and
its impacts, adaptation measures are not being considered either by households or the
commune. Instead, commune authorities and residents rely on coping mechanisms
after the disasters have struck. Vulnerable groups, including women, fishermen and
seafood processors, who have less access to financial capital, are particularly affected
by disasters. Small-scale renewable energy (SSRE) technologies could provide major
benefits for these communes. SSREs include micro-wind and biogas energy-generation
technologies, as well as improved cooking stoves and solar-powered lanterns. However,
the adoption of these technologies is limited by financial constraints and unfavourable
energy markets. The paper concludes with recommendations for how to increase energy
resilience in the face of increased disaster risks, which include changes to the energy
market, adequate financing mechanisms and participatory local energy planning to help
the poorest households.

Date published: 
January 2014
Maarten Akkerman, Hoang Thanh Binh, Dang Thu Phuong
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