The emerging world of humanitarian energy: A conceptual research review
The world is facing a humanitarian crisis, with over 102 million people now forcibly displaced from their homes due to wars, conflict, environmental and climate drivers, and disasters. The energy needs of displaced people are neglected both in humanitarian response, and in the academic literature. For many years it has been claimed that there is an extremely limited literature on humanitarian energy needs. This paper puts that claim to the test, by conducting a content review of the topic, interviews with sector specialists, and analysing existing literature to understand the current state of play of published work on energy in displaced contexts. The results reveal a rapidly emerging humanitarian energy literature: over 320 research publications were identified, including academic journal articles and substantive practitioner research outputs, with 115 Scopus records directly addressing humanitarian energy issues. The analysis highlights large gaps where new evidence is urgently needed and discusses how the future of humanitarian energy research could be informed by a range of disciplines. The paper argues that disciplinary diversity is essential to fully understand the complexity of energy issues in humanitarian settings, suggesting that there is considerable conceptual space for the development of new research within academia.