A systematic review of the lived experiences of the energy vulnerable: Where are the research gaps?

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Hihetah, Claudia
Ó Gallachóir , Brian
Dunphy , Niall P.
Harris, Clodagh
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Elsevier Ltd.
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The transition to a low-carbon world, coupled with energy supply uncertainties, has heightened the urgency to better understand the experiences of vulnerable groups who lack affordable and adequate energy. Access to energy is crucial for their health, well-being, and social stability. However, there are significant knowledge gaps relating to the lived experiences of energy vulnerable groups that this paper directly addresses. There is a wide body of literature focusing on the quantification of, and policy response to, energy poverty alongside a fast- growing area of research on the lived experience of the energy vulnerable. This paper's systematic review of research on the lived experiences of the energy vulnerable reveals 46 peer-reviewed articles published between 2011 and 2021. Its review highlights diverse approaches to exploring energy vulnerability, the range of vulnerable groups investigated and different motivations for focusing on lived experiences. The results point to a number of key gaps in the literature in terms of definitions and terminologies, geographic coverage, gender, life stage (specifically children), ethnicity (ethnic minorities absent) and ability (people with disabilities are a further gap). It concludes that there is a need for more context-specific, mixed-methods and longitudinal studies in this area. Having identified gaps in the literature, it recommends how some of these can be addressed and reflects on how studies focused on the lived experience of energy poverty should advance.
Energy poverty , Fuel poverty , Energy vulnerability , Lived experience
Hihetah, C., Ó Gallachóir, B., Dunphy, N. P. and Harris, C. (2024) 'A systematic review of the lived experiences of the energy vulnerable: Where are the research gaps?', Energy Research and Social Science, 114, 103565 (12pp). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2024.103565
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