Accepted Paper:

Switching to Cleaner Energy: Results from a Household Panel Survey in Kyrgyzstan  


Rahat Sabyrbekov (American University of Central Asia, Norwegian University of Life Sciences)
Nurgul Ukueva (American University of Central Asia)

Paper long abstract:

The residential energy consumption accounts for 35% of global energy use, with households in developing countries using the energy primarily for cooking, heating, and cooling. Air pollution from burning solid fuels has become a serious issue in many Central Asian countries and it negatively affects health and environment. Central Asian governments de-jure show a strong commitment to decrease emissions and move to 'green' and sustainable development path. However, Central Asian cities lately became famous for notorious air pollution due to dirty heating methods. Burning coal and biomass by households is a primary source of the air pollution in these cities and worsens the indoor air quality in rural areas.

This paper studies the factors that affect household decisions to move from dirty energy to clean modern fuels using the four-year household panel data from Kyrgyzstan. First, we outline the main Theoretical concepts in the fuel transition studies and the following Context section describes the situation in energy consumption in Kyrgyzstan. Finally, we describe the data and using state-of-the-art methods present the results of the study. The paper argues the choice of the fuel depends on a number of endogenous and exogenous factors. Contrary to the conventional wisdom of Energy Ladder Theory, high income does not lead to a full switch to modern fuel but facilitates the transition to mixed-fuel energy consumption. Factors that increase chances of full fuel transition are education and access to gas. The number of elderly members and size of the house negatively affect the transition to clean energy use. In the last section, the paper proposes policy measures to facilitate the transition to the modern fuels.

Panel ECO-02
Trade, Globalization and Environment