A Capabilities-Led Approach to Assessing Technological Solutions for a Rural Community
2. Background of the Case Study Area
3. Materials and Methods
3.1. Capabilities Approach
3.2. Data Collection and Analysis Methods
4. Results from the Focus Groups
“Over the passing of time, the smoke is harmful to our health, because when we light the firewood we inhale the smoke, if we are near it and we are breathing it. It doesn’t affect you at first, but through time it damages our lungs and our eyes.”(Younger women’s group)
“When there is no water, even the dishes are washed with [water from the wells]. And because the wells are in open places, the wells are contaminated… [The animals] do their needs. We step on them and we contaminate the water without wanting to. If we had energy, all that could be avoided.”(Younger men’s group)
“I had a brother who suffered diabetes and had to take his insulin, he had to buy his ice and keep it in a thermos, so that the ice lasted at least 2 days.”(Younger men’s group)
“In an emergency, we are afraid to go out at night, because it’s dark and we feel as if something or someone is there.”(Younger women’s group)
“[The health centre] do not have [enough energy]. There are times when electric power goes almost 12 h, in rainy season we suffer more energy [cuts] throughout the town. The health centre suffers the consequences.”(Older men’s group)
4.2. Safety and Security
“It generates a problem of insecurity because it is dark. You do not know at what moment an animal or someone who is dedicated to making [trouble] is going to come out, or what is going to throw you”.(Younger men’s group)
“When it’s the rainy season we can’t go because it’s too wet, and the road it’s pretty bad, and we can fall, so that’s why we don’t go out to get [the firewood].”(Younger women’s group)
4.3. Making a Living
“If we had energy, we would be better and could compete with several states to be the best in the commercialization… for example, machine products and that all have to be of the same size. In our case, we cannot compete and we cannot sell to large companies like Wal-Mart, for example…if you take to Wal-Mart a thousand pieces and 300 of one size, 200 of another size and the rest of other sizes, they return the merchandise… because everything that is made by hand, it will never be the same, and what is done by machine is the same.”(Younger men’s group)
“The space where they sell, for example, everything we consume closes early because they do not have lighting, like the market, … the little square. If there were energy … they would close later because they have power. Because where they sell their products, …they do not have lighting due to lack of energy.”(Younger men’s group)
“Sometimes, due to lack of energy, we do not have internet. […] If we had internet, we were connected with all the people and in this way, we promote everything that is done here so that it could be commercialized, so that people could somehow sell their products.”(Younger men’s group)
“And if we want to open a business, we would have to use lots of appliances.”(Younger women’s group)
4.4. Education and Religious Practice
“It affects us because as you say, to do homework we have to be there with a candle.”(Younger men’s group)
“On the cell phone we have PDF virtual books and then, [the electricity cut] sometimes prevents our learning…we cannot see the virtual book and we delay in learning.”(Younger men’s group)
“In the churches, they also limit themselves lighting up the lights they have because then the bills are very expensive. And in the three churches and in the other churches that are in the community, the courtyards are dark in the evenings because of the lack of energy.”(Younger men’s group)
4.5. Relationships with Others
“Sometimes when we go to the hill to get the firewood, we do other chores, and then at night if we had more light we could go visit my dad, for example. I live around here, and my dad lives on the other side of town and is a little far…we can’t go out because of the same thing. It is too dark”.(Older women’s group)
“Obviously the antenna needs to be there due to lack of energy, where there is signal, there are wires. [If] we had energy, we could move [the antenna] to another place…but for lack of energy it has to be there, because if we move it higher or lower, there are no electricity cables.”(Younger men’s group)
“Here we celebrate the day of the dead and we make a gathering, and we could not make it because the electricity went off. Everyone was disappointed. Some had to blend the salsa, and here we grind the nixtamal with electricity.”(Older women’s group)
“Here, in my case, we are six people in the house, and I have to reuse the clothes so that I don’t have to wash too often. When there is a water shortage we go to the hill and there is a lagoon, despite it is very dirty, we wash them there.”(Older women’s group)
4.6. Other Basic Capabilities
“If there was an opportunity with the electric light we would no longer use the wood. That would prevent cutting of the trees, and with that we would avoid deforestation.”(Younger men’s group)
“If we had energy, we would also use it for example, doing planting grounds in the houses because we would already have water, to plant everything that we consume. For example, radishes, onions, chilies, would be planted with pumping water, because we have energy.”(Younger men’s group)
4.7. Barriers for Capabilities
4.7.1. Cost of Electricity and Water
“If I know that, in my house, the energy was cheaper, then I could buy an iron, a microwave, or, I don’t know. Then we have more confidence, we could buy more. Now it is difficult and we limit ourselves in everything. We need to see the way to see how those devices are ordered.”(Older men’s group)
“When we wanted to buy an electric stove, they [their husbands] told us that is too expensive, and this and that… ‘if you want to, you can read it on the packaging that comes with the stove it is written that it uses a lot of energy, and then, can you imagine to cook this or that’”(Older women’s group)
“I have a [gas] stove too but, … I feel that gas is too expensive. Sometimes they come to sell, two hundred pesos, and sometimes I buy but rarely, not always. I better use the firewood, because the gas is expensive.”(Younger women’s group)
“We are a low-income community, and not everyone pays the water bill. Many people owe on the water bill, and the company shuts the water supply for everyone.”(Younger women’s group)
4.7.2. Reliability and Security of Electricity Supply
“There are times when electric power goes almost 12 h. Rainy season is when we suffer more energy throughout the town. The health centre suffers the consequences.”(Older men’s group)
4.8. Overall Capability Assessment
5. Technology and Project Options for Delivering Energy Services
5.1. Solar Resource in Tlamacazapa
5.2. Option A: Providing Electricity for Street lighting
5.3. Option B: Supplying Power to Community Buildings—Schools, Health Centre and Churches
5.4. Option C: Clean Cooking with Renewable Generated Electricity
6. Discussion and Conclusions
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Nussbaum’s List of Central Capabilities ||Capabilities Selected for Discussion in Relation to Energy Use|
|Life (being able to live to the end of a human life of normal length)|
|Bodily health (being able to have good health)||Discussed in relation to clean air and water, nutrition, healthcare and sleep|
|Bodily integrity (being able to move freely from place to place)||Discussed in relation to safety and safe movement|
|Senses, imagination, and thought (being able to use the senses, to imagine and think)||Discussed in relation to education and religious practice|
|Emotions (being able to have attachments to things and people)|
|Practical reason (being able to form a conception of the good)|
|Affiliation (being able to live with and toward others; having the social bases of self-respect)||Discussed in relation to relationships with relatives and friends; dignity and self-respect|
|Other species (being able to live with concern for other species)||Discussed in relation to relationships with animals and nature|
|Play (being able to laugh and play)||Discussed in relation to recreation|
|Control over one’s environment (being able to work as a human; being able to participate effectively in political choices)||Discussed in relation to earning a living. Political participation excluded as too sensitive.|
|Energy Service||Secondary Capabilities||Energy Source or Fuel Options|
|Not Secured||Partly Secured||Secured|
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Wang, X.; Day, R.; Murrant, D.; Marín, A.D.; Botello, D.C.; González, F.L.; Radcliffe, J. A Capabilities-Led Approach to Assessing Technological Solutions for a Rural Community. Energies 2021, 14, 1398. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14051398
Wang X, Day R, Murrant D, Marín AD, Botello DC, González FL, Radcliffe J. A Capabilities-Led Approach to Assessing Technological Solutions for a Rural Community. Energies. 2021; 14(5):1398. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14051398Chicago/Turabian Style
Wang, Xinfang, Rosie Day, Dan Murrant, Antonio Diego Marín, David Castrejón Botello, Francisco López González, and Jonathan Radcliffe. 2021. "A Capabilities-Led Approach to Assessing Technological Solutions for a Rural Community" Energies 14, no. 5: 1398. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14051398