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Household biomass energy choice and its policy implications on improving rural livelihoods in Sichuan, China

Chen, Qiu, Yang, Haoran, Liu, Tianbiao, Zhang, Lin
Energy policy 2016 v.93 pp. 291-302
alternative fuels, bioenergy, biomass, decision making, educational status, energy, energy costs, income, ingestion, issues and policy, livelihood, logit analysis, people, prices, risk, socioeconomic status, China
It is widely known that a switch from traditional biomass energy to modern clean, safe and efficient energy could improve local rural livelihoods by enhancing the access to ‘high quality’ energy and reducing the negative impacts of traditional biomass energy on health, environment and living standards. Hence, in this paper, we used alternative-specific conditional logit model (ASCLM) to examine the rural household energy choice behaviors in Sichuan Province of China from the perspective of revealed and stated preferences. The results show that the fuel switching in our study region is not a simple unidirectional process from traditional biomass energy to modern fuels as incomes improve. Household energy choice behaviors could be not only affected by energy-specific characteristics such as fuel price, smoky level and safety risk, but also influenced by household-specific factors such as income level, age and educational level of the decision maker, household demographic structure, number of people frequently eating at home, distance to the nearest biomass collecting spot and household location, suggesting that government should attach more importance to simultaneously improve energy quality, control energy price and enhance household socio-economic status.