Abstract for: Energy Transition on St Helena Island

This paper explores low-carbon energy transition on St Helena (SH) Island and identifies opportunities for sustainable development. The British overseas territory is geographically remote and electrically isolated, making it an interesting case study of energy system change. SH government wants to transition to renewable energy, which would have a positive impact on the economy, however, they face significant challenges in doing so. Qualitative data is collected through semi-structured interviews with energy stakeholders that explore the effects of current energy provision and how this may develop in the future. Causal relationships are extracted from interview transcripts and synthesized to develop a causal loop diagram (CLD) of energy behaviors which is simplified for analysis. The findings indicate that a publicly owned energy system would be preferable to private systems, and that consumer energy costs are a critical driver of energy system behaviors. This helps inform approaches to future energy planning and stakeholder engagement. In cases where the polarity of behavioral links is disputed, a basic systems archetypes study demonstrates the importance of effective communication and transparent decision-making to prevent unfavorable dynamics. Authors hope the clearly demonstrated methods offer a useful example of how this approach can support complex system problems.