Sustainable Energy Transition in Russia and Ghana Within a Multi-Level Perspective


This paper is a case study based on a critical review of existing literature and primary data through interviews to investigate energy transition framing and manifestation in the Global South. It provides critical insights into sustainable energy transition in Ghana and Russia within a multi-level perspective (MLP). We argue that whereas Ghana’s energy transition concepts and policies are mirrored by landscape, regime, and niche, practical transitioning has been slow due to inadequate resources and incentives, limited historical culpability in global greenhouse gas, and the country being locked-in to existing hydrocarbon socio-technical systems. The MLP approach is useful in describing energy technologies, markets, and consumption practices. But in Russia, social policy at distinct levels is united by centralised energy law and technical systems, as well as institutional rules and differences based on costs in economic regions. This paper contributes to the energy transitioning discourse within the Global South using Russia and Ghana as cases to highlight how transition policies and practices differ from country to country, driven by economic, political, social, cultural, and historical elements with global frameworks serving as guides. Rigid application of landscape, regime, and niche concepts is challenged in describing and analysing the context-specific nuances in sustainable energy transition policy across spaces. There is a fundamental challenge of mechanically fusing a one-fits-all approach to sustainable energy transitioning in developing countries and societies due to differences in historical contributions to climatic issues and inequality of access to resources and technologies. Energy transition processes and practices should be compatible with social justice.

Author Biographies

Pius Siakwah, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Ghana

Pius Siakwah, PhD, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Ghana, Institute of African Studies. Pius is a resource geographer, whose teaching and research interests include political economy, natural resources governance, sustainable development, renewable energy transitions, climate change smart agriculture, precarious work, and tourism. Pius has published research articles in the fields of geography, natural resources, development studies, energy, and tourism. Pius holds a PhD in Geography from Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Ireland.

Yulia V. Ermolaeva, Institute of Sociology of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

Yulia V. Ermolaeva, Researcher at the Institute of Sociology of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, is a sociologist and environmentalist, specializing on the different aspects of sustainability studies, with a particular focus on waste management, green energy, and environmental behavior.

Polina O. Ermolaeva, Center of Advanced Economic Research, Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan, Kazan, Russia

Polina O. Ermolaeva, Cand. Sci. (Sociology), Leading Research Fellow at the Center of Advanced Economic Research in the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan, Kazan, Russia. Her research interests include environmental sociology, sustainability transitions, critical urbanism, and post-Soviet studies.

Boadi Agyekum, University of Ghana Learning Centres, University of Ghana, Ghana

Boadi Agyekum, PhD, Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana, University of Ghana Learning Centres (UGLC). He is a social geographer, specializing in community research addressing the problems of migration, community development, energy, labor market, quality of life, mental health, and lifelong learning. He received his PhD in Geography from McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.

How to Cite
Siakwah, P., Ermolaeva, Y., Ermolaeva, P., & Agyekum, B. (2023). Sustainable Energy Transition in Russia and Ghana Within a Multi-Level Perspective. Changing Societies & Personalities, 7(3), 165–185. doi:10.15826/csp.2023.7.3.246