Assessing the Role of Renewable Energy toward Sustainable Development in Small Island States: A Case Study of the Island of Bermuda

David Chapman

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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For vulnerable Small Islands States, research into how these locales can meet their energy needs sustainably is extremely critical as we progress into the 21st century. These small islands locales are considered vulnerable in regards to their environmental, economic and social development due to factors related to size, location, isolation and limited natural resources. Dependence on non-renewable fossil fuel sources only exacerbates these vulnerabilities and directly affects progress towards sustainable development. Expounding benefits and potentials of alternative energy strategies such as renewable energy are only first steps towards its effective and holistic integration. Critically, evidence-based research is needed to better understand how these strategies can best be incorporated, both socially and technically, into such societies as an underpinning to local sustainable development policies.

This thesis uses the Small Island State of Bermuda as a research case study. Through examining the role of renewable energy in Bermuda in efforts being made towards sustainable development, the study affirms that consideration of context and place are extremely critical in avoiding misaligned policy and technological integration of alternative energy technologies. While the study confirms the vulnerability of Bermuda as a Small Island State in regards to energy issues such as fuel diversity and import dependence, the unique ‘urban and developed’ profile of the island creates both barriers and opportunities for renewable energy that may not be present in less developed and developing Small Island States. Hence, the application of ‘one size fits all’ models of sustainable development that seek to promote generalised adoption of renewable energy technologies across the diverse range of Small Island States is shown to be unrealistic and potentially harmful and assessments into the appropriate application of such technologies must involve approaches representative of the three core facets of holistic sustainable development – economic, environmental and social.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Mistry, Jay, Supervisor
  • French, Peter, Supervisor
  • Dengler, Mary, Supervisor
Award date1 Oct 2014
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014


  • Renewable energy
  • Small island states
  • sustainable development
  • energy security
  • urban and developed
  • Small island developing states
  • SIDS

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