Peter Cole

Doctor of Philosophy, (Development studies)
Study Completed: 2015
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
The role of energy supply in the shaping of development prospects in small & isolated Pacific Island communities-past,present & future

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Small island states in the South Pacific are dependent on imported oil-based fuels to maintain the standard of living. This dependency creates vulnerability, as these communities typically lack the economic resources to pay for these imports and are reliant on financial aid from overseas. Using Niue and Tuvalu as case studies, Mr Cole aimed to establish why this situation has arisen and what this vulnerability could mean in the future. He developed a novel method of analysis (based on the sustainable livelihoods approach) to enable better understanding of the influence that access to energy has on livelihoods. His results underline small island communities’ vulnerability to energy supply disruption. In addition, his results show that the measures to reduce dependency being undertaken by governments and their overseas partners need to be expanded, with an increased focus on a wider range of endogenous energy resources (notably biomass).

Professor Glenn Banks
Dr Maria Borovnik