Fuel choice and tradition: why fuel stacking and the energy ladder are out of step?

Prabhakar Yadav*, Peter J. Davies, Samuel Asumadu-Sarkodie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Multiple fuel use, incorporated within the concept of fuel stacking is prevalent in households at the beginning and mid-way in their ascension up the energy ladder. However, households cannot fully let go of their traditional energy sources presenting inherent policy complexities and contradictions within energy transition theories. Empirical insights into the determinants of clean energy transitions are presented that highlight the need to recognise both fuel switching and stacking occurs in many rural households. It focuses on rural communities in India and illuminates policy dilemmas. The study reveals that fuel stacking is likely to remain a key part of the socio-cultural energy tradition that will impact progress towards low carbon and a cleaner energy transition. We therefore argue targeted policy interventions, multi-stakeholder collaboration and strong energy governance is needed to incorporate socio-cultural traditions particularly linked to cooking. This suggests new energy policy that must offer flexibility in order to achieve the twin goals of universal energy access and decarbonising energy systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-501
Number of pages11
JournalSolar Energy
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021


  • Energy ladder
  • Fuel choices
  • Energy poverty
  • Fuel stacking
  • India

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