Siddharth Sareen


Professor, Department of Geography, Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation



I am engaged as a human geographer at the University of Bergen, where I held a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Department of Geography and the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation during 2017-2020. I study the governance of energy transitions, have worked in seven countries and established an international, interdisciplinary research profile on resource and energy governance. During 2018 and 2019, I also worked as a Researcher at the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities. During my postdoctoral years, I led a project on solar uptake in Portugal, and supported another on smart grid development in Norway.

My postdoctoral project was entitled ‘Solar ‘power’: Producing accountable institutions for transitions to renewable energy’. This was funded through the Akademia agreement between the University of Bergen and Equinor, and the Bergen Research Foundation project ‘European Cities as Actors in Climate and Energy Transformation’. As part of the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation, I engage keenly with human and development geographers as well as along interdisciplinary lines.

My research focuses on questions of social and environmental equity and justice along three main strands. The first concerns extractive zones, conflict regions and sites of dispossession. At this supply end of the energy spectrum, I explore issues of inequitable power relations and resource access in conjunction with the configuration and constitution of institutional authority.

The second concerns the political economy of the energy sector, and interrogates dynamics close to the supply-demand interface. Here, I have examined the governance of electricity distribution, and engage with questions of social imaginaries of energy, intra-household and community energy practices, and public engagement with decision-making on common energy futures, with an empirical basis in India, Portugal, Norway and elsewhere.

The third strand concerns questions of accountability and sustainability in energy transitions, with an empirical focus on solar uptake. I am keen to unpack claims of sustainability – understood as decarbonisation with an enhancing effect on social equity – associated with energy transitions and their contextual specificities. My work in this regard employs expert interviews, participant and field observation, small-scale surveys, and extended engagement with a wide range of sectoral stakeholders. This empirical effort is accompanied by a methodological ambition to study accountability as a means of characterising energy transitions in relation to their implications for sustainability.

From August 2020 onward, I am based at the University of Stavanger as an Associate Professor in Energy and Environment.



5 April: Invited talk, Extractions and digital infrastructure workshop, Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology, Oslo

3 April: Moderator, Norwegian School of Economics bi-annual energy conference on offshore renewables, Bergen.

12 March: Chair, Bergen Energy Lab seminar on 'participatory energy monitoring'.

22-23 February: Convenor, workshop on scalar perspectives on energy poverty metrics, Lisbon. An illustrated report

13 February: Convenor, Bergen Energy Lab 'energy and smart cities' seminar.

6 February: Convenor, National SDG Conference workshop on 'accountable climate action for energy transition'.

1 February: Seminar talk, How geographers can enable energy transitions, disciplinary pedagogy day, University of Bergen.

24 January: Conference paper, 2nd annual energy poverty conference, European Commission Representation in Romania, Bucharest. An illustrated report


14 November: Climate poetry, Fest for Fesken, Bergen. and

1-4 November: Invited talk, Ethical Legal and Social Aspects (ELSA) Norway network workshop, Trondheim.

31 October: Paper, Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation work-in-progress seminar series, Bergen

31 October: Speaker, ‘Spis deg Vis’ (Eat and be Wise) lunch seminar, Department of Geography, University of Bergen

16 October: Main speaker, career development seminar, South Asia Center, University of Washington-Seattle

8 September: Host address, Rise for Climate Bergen, initiative.

15-21 July: Selected paper, International Sociological Association World Congress, Toronto.

12-15 July: Selected paper, Summer Institute on metrics & accountability in environmental governance, University of Toronto.

11 July: Invited talk, Review of SDG7 at High Level Political Forum 2018, United Nations Headquarters, New York.

20-22 June: Convenor (with Don Kalb) 'POLLEN18 Roundtable: Can interdisciplinarity push disruptive junctures beyond business-as-usual reassembly?' Second Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network, Oslo.

9 June: "The future of solar power" at Pecha Kucha Bergen #10:

12-14 April: Participant, Climate Governance Workshop, Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies.

10 April: Convenor, Bergen Energy Lab seminar on "Energy, measurement and society":

4 April - 3 May: Hosting visiting researcher Steven Wolf (SPIRE grant),

15 March: Invitee, COST Action on Innovations in Climate Governance meeting, Norwegian Embassy, Brussels.

30 March: Co-chair, COST Action European Energy Poverty Working Group on Implementation workshop, Dublin. Dublin workshop and meeting report

22-25 March: Paper on panel 'Reconciling Growth and Welfare: State and Social Change in Contemporary South Asia', Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Washington D.C.

19-23 March: Paper (with Patrik Oskarsson), 'Understanding adivasiness as caste expression and land rights claim in central-eastern India', World Bank Land and Poverty Conference: Land Governance in an Interconnected World, Washington D.C.

5-8 March: Participant, Second International INOGOV Spring School on Governing Climate Change: Polycentricity in Action?, Heerlen.

21-23 February: Invited speaker (with Sunila Kale), 'Solar 'power': Socio-political dynamics of infrastructural development in two Western Indian states', How new are the renewables? Historicizing energy transitions conference, Deutsches Museum, Munich.

18 February: Main speaker, 'Accountability analysis to assess sustainability transformations', Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation internal workshop, University of Bergen

8-9 February: Workshop convenor (with Tarje Wanvik), 'Transformative deliberation: How to balance participatory urban planning ideals with pragmatic implementation of sustainable energy solutions', SDG Conference Bergen.

1-2 February: Invited speaker, panel on 'Connecting energy and climate justice', Transformative infrastructures: Second energy vulnerabilities and pathways symposium, University of Manchester.

30 January: Convenor, SpaceLab group seminar on interdisciplinary collaboration with Don Kalb, University of Bergen.21-24 January: Network representative, Future Earth Early Career Researchers Network of Networks annual meeting, British Academy, London.


Invited speaker, 'Social science approaches to energy: A practical workshop on theory', Solar xChange project, University of Oslo.

Paper, 'Bridging concepts: Applying a geography of energy transition to the empirics of urban solar uptake', EASST workshop on Making Futures: Green alternatives and STS Interventions, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań.

Invited speaker, Roundtable discussion: Assessing the Energy Access Programme in India: Challenges and             Opportunities, 10th Annual Nordic NIAS Council Conference, Oslo.

Co-chair of working group on implementation and Norway Managing Committee member, COST Action 16232 on European Energy Poverty launch meeting, Brussels.

Paper, 'Enduring discourses and everyday contestation: Introduction to special section on 'Discourse and resource conflict in extractive zones of India'', Interdisciplinary Conference on Extraction and Exclusion, University of Oxford.

Paper, 'Bridging concepts: Applying energy transformation imaginaries to the empirics of solar uptake', Beyond Oil: Mobilizing alternative futures, University of Bergen.

Paper, 'Bridging concepts: applying a geography of energy transition to the empirics of urban solar uptake', RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, London.

Session convenor, 'Mobilising multi-scalar energy sector transformations through applied research on systemic solar adoption', 7th International Conference on Sustainability Science, Stockholm.

Paper, 'The multiple justice dimensions of low-carbon energy transitions', Asian Dynamics Initiative 9th annual conference, Copenhagen.

Invited speaker. 'Energy distribution trajectories in two Western Indian states: Comparative politics and sectoral dynamics', International Sustainability Transitions 2017, Gothenburg.

Invited paper, 'Under what conditions can local government nurture indigenous people's democratic practice? A case study of two Ho village assemblies in Jharkhand', Narratives of Indian Democracy, King's India Institute, London.

Paper, 'What powers success on the ground? The gradual reform of electricity distribution in Gujarat', 16th Annual STS Conference, Graz.

Invitee, 'Energy Transformations' interdisciplinary symposium of Max Planck Institutes, Harnack Haus, Berlin.

Main speaker, Asianettverket seminar on 'Energy distribution trajectories in two Western Indian states: comparative politics and sectoral dynamics', University of Oslo.

Invitee of Future Earth Norway on energy governance, ‘Ecological Challenges’ conference, Oslo. and

Invitee of Energy Anthropology Network on energy governance, ‘Energy Impacts’ workshop, University of Bergen.

Main speaker, seminar on 'Politics, procurement, bail-out and buy-in: Woes and ways for Rajasthan’s distribution sector', Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, Erfurt University.


Invitee, 'Commons and Development', French Development Agency annual conference, Paris.

Main speaker, International Centre for Advanced Studies seminar, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi.

Main speaker, seminar on 'Discourses around logging: Framing extraction of wood from West Singhbhum’s conflicted forests', Department of Sociology, Delhi University.

Main speaker, seminar on 'Discourses around logging: Framing extraction of wood from West Singhbhum’s conflicted forests', Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bangalore.

Paper, ‘Mapping Power’ workshop on state electricity governance, Centre for Policy Research, Delhi.’s-distribution-sector

Panel convenor, ‘Political Ecologies of Conflict Contestation and Capitalism’, POLLEN, Wageningen.

Paper, ‘Undisciplined Environments’ conference of the European Network of Political Ecology, Stockholm.


Paper, 4th Erasmus Mundus Forest and Nature for Society annual conference, Bangor.

Paper, University of Melbourne and IDS Kolkata workshop on Instruments of Intervention, Kolkata.


Paper, 3rd Erasmus Mundus Forest and Nature for Society annual conference, Montpellier.

Invitee, SASNET annual workshop on South Asia: Culture, Technology and Development, Falsterbo.

Paper, 'Development as security in India’s Jharkhand? Practices of assemblage and the Saranda Action Plan', 23rd European Conference on South Asian Studies, Zurich.

Paper, 'State provision of livelihoods in a resource-conflict region', Danish Development Research Network conference on Development Paradoxes, Copenhagen.

Paper, 'How do you do access? Indigenes and forest resources in a conflict-affected Indian region', International Union of Forest Research Organizations 24th World Congress, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Paper, 'Devolution and resource conflict: Can a local institution nurture democratic practice in Jharkhand?' 43rd Annual Conference on South Asia, Madison, Wisconsin

Invited representative, Erasmus Mundus Association 10th Annual General Assembly, Krakow

Paper, 'The role of institutional recognition in negotiating equitable access to natural resources in Jharkhand', Property and Citizenship initiative’s seminar with Nancy Peluso, Copenhagen

A. T. Kearney fellowship invitee on natural resource governance, Falling Walls Labs, Berlin.


Paper, Global Political Ethnography: Studying Policy Regimes in Flux, Danish Institute for International Studies, Copenhagen

Invited participant, National Consultation: Effective Implementation of Protective Legislation – PESA, Delhi

Paper, 2nd Erasmus Mundus Forest and Nature for Society annual conference, San Vito di Cadore.

Invitee from Denmark, South Asia Swedish Network’s Nordic-Indian exploratory workshop, Bangalore.

Panel convenor on 'Exploring local pathways of economic growth', Asian Dynamics Initiative 5th annual conference, Copenhagen.

Main speaker, South Asia Swedish Network Seminar on forest access in a resource-rich region, Lund University.

Invitee, panel debate on 'Development Dilemmas in India: The Polavaram Dam and the livelihoods of indigenous people', Copenhagen.

Invitee, Copenhagen Goodwill Ambassador Corps Annual Conference, Copenhagen.ære-vores-land/

Invitee, Youth Goodwill Ambassadors Denmark National Conference, Copenhagen


Paper, Arts and Aesthetics in a Globalising World (ASA UK & Commonwealth), Delhi.

Paper, Earth System Governance: Evidence for Sustainable Development (IHDP), Berlin.


Paper, International Sociological Association’s XVII World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg.

Invitee, The February Dialogues on Food Sovereignty and Climate Change, Bangalore


Spring 2020

BSRS917 Bergen Summer Research School PhD course Cities in Climate and Energy Transformations (with Håvard Haarstad) (freely accessible at

GEO337: Discourses, Politics and People: Critical Perspectives on Environmental Governance

Spring 2019

GEO337: Discourses, Politics and People: Critical Perspectives on Environmental Governance (syllabus:

Spring 2018

GEO337: Critical Perspectives on Environment and Development (course coordinator)

GEO231: Theories about Development and Migration (2 modules)

GEO324: Geographies of the Green Economy (1 module)

Autumn 2017

GEO328: Planning and Society (1 module)

(Un)productive landscapes: Course by SpaceLab and Bergen Architecture School (1 module)



Amber Joy Nordholm (Masters, 2018-) Exploring and measuring the effect of Portugal’s energy policy on energy poverty

Rosalie Marc (Intern, 2018, Masters student at Université de Caen Normandie) Sustainable food and animal welfare in Bergen

Ragnhild Ødegaard (Masters, 2017-18) Sustainable development and urban planning in a metropolis


Please look through the ideas below or here if you're considering sending me an email concerning (co-)supervising your thesis project:

Masters thesis project 1: Sustainability effects of solar energy transitions across space and scale

In what ways are solar energy projects contributing to sustainability? Is their grid integration environmentally sound? Are they making the energy sector more people-friendly? What factors matter towards such outcomes and what processes determine these factors? The project will be empirically based on single/multiple sites/scales in e.g. Norway, Portugal and/or India. I am available to provide inputs on applications for requisite funding to support fieldwork. Conceptually, the project will draw on infrastructure and environmental politics, and the political economy of development from energy geography perspectives.

Masters thesis project 2: Land-use change due to energy sprawl in the renewables transition

What are the land-related impacts of shifts away from fossil fuels and towards renewable sources like solar energy? Is a transition to renewables accompanied by more distributed generation or driven by large concentrated projects? The project will draw on multiple data types, both qualitative and quantitative, to study energy transitions in relation to land-use change, most likely in comparative perspective. It will draw on emerging scholarship on energy sprawl solutions, backed by political and development geography theories that connect land use, power relations, and environmental planning and governance. The regional focus is flexible and depends on data availability.

General themes

I am happy to discuss supervision and co-supervision of Masters and PhD theses respectively on topics related to any or all of the themes of energy transitions, political economy, resource governance, environmental planning and interdisciplinary social science work on solar energy uptake.

Academic anthology/Conference proceedings
Academic article
Academic literature review
Short communication
Academic lecture
Popular scientific article
Academic chapter/article/Conference paper
Feature article
Programme participation
Book review
Doctoral dissertation

See a complete overview of publications in Cristin.

Edited volumes

Siddharth Sareen. (ed) 2020. Enabling sustainable energy transitions: Practices of legitimation and accountable governance. Palgrave Macmillan.


Journal articles

Siddharth Sareen. 2020. Metrics for an accountable energy transition? Legitimating the governance of solar uptake. Geoforum 114: 30-39.

Jakob Grandin and Siddharth Sareen. 2020. What sticks? Ephemerality, permanence and local transition pathways. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 36: 72-82.

Nives DellaValle and Siddharth Sareen. 2020. Nudging and boosting for equity? Towards a behavioural economics of energy justice. Energy Research & Social Science 68: 101589.

Siddharth Sareen, Harriet Thomson, Sergio Tirado Herrero, João Gouveia, Ingmar Lippert and Aleksandra Lis. 2020. European energy poverty metrics: Scales, prospects and limits. Global Transitions 2: 26-36.

Siddharth Sareen and Jakob Grandin. 2020. European green capitals: Branding, spatial dislocation or catalysts for change? Geografiska Annaler B: Human Geography. 102 (1): 101-117.

Siddharth Sareen, Andrea Saltelli and Kjetil Rommetveit. 2020. Ethics of Quantification: Illumination, Obfuscastion and Performative Legitimation. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 6: 20.

Siddharth Sareen and Håvard Haarstad. 2020. Legitimacy and Accountability in the Governance of Sustainable Energy Transitions. Global Transitions 2: 47-50.

Kenneth Nielsen, Siddharth Sareen and Patrik Oskarsson. 2020. The politics of caste in India's new land wars. Journal of Contemporary Asia.

Siddharth Sareen. 2020. Social and technical differentiation in smart meter rollout: Embedded scalar biases in automating Norwegian and Portuguese energy infrastructure. Humanities and Social Sciences 7: 25.

Michael Fell, Laura Pagel, Chien-fei Chen, Matthew Goldberg, Mario Herberz, Gesche Huebner, Siddharth Sareen and Ulf Hahnel. 2020. Validity of energy social research during and after COVID-19: challenges, considerations, and responses. Energy Research & Social Science 101646.

Patrik Oskarsson and Siddharth Sareen. 2019. Adivasiness as caste expression and land rights claim- making in central-eastern India. Journal of Contemporary Asia.

Siddharth Sareen and Kjetil Rommetveit. 2019. Smart gridlock? Challenging hegemonic framings of mitigation solutions and scalability. Environmental Research Letters 14: 075004.

Siddharth Sareen and Håvard Haarstad. 2018. Bridging socio-technical and justice aspects of sustainable energy transitions. Applied Energy 228: 624-632.

Siddharth Sareen and Sunila Kale. 2018. Solar ‘power’: Socio-political dynamics of infrastructural development in two Western Indian states. Energy Research and Social Science 41: 270-278.

Siddharth Sareen and Iben Nathan. 2018. Under what conditions can local government nurture indigenous people’s democratic practice? A case study of two Ho village assemblies in Jharkhand. Journal of Development Studies 54 (8): 1354-1373.

Siddharth Sareen. 2018. Energy distribution trajectories in two Western Indian states: comparative politics and sectoral dynamics. Energy Research and Social Science 35: 17-27.

Siddharth Sareen, Douglas Baillie and Jürgen Kleinwächter. 2018. Transitions to future energy systems: Learning from a community testfield. Sustainability 10 (12): 4513.

Håvard Haarstad, Siddharth Sareen, Tarje Wanvik, Jakob Grandin, Kristin Kjærås, Stina Oseland, Hanna Kvamsås, Karin Lillevold and Marikken Wathne. 2018. Transformative social science? Modes of engagement in climate and energy solutions. Energy Research & Social Science 42: 193-197.

Siddharth Sareen. 2017. Who governs local access in Jharkhand? Mechanisms of access to government services. Forum for Development Studies 44 (2): 249-274.

Siddharth Sareen and Patrik Oskarsson. 2017. Discourse and Resource Conflict in Extractive Zones of India. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 40(4).

Siddharth Sareen. 2017. Discourses around logging: Framing extraction of wood from West Singhbhum’s conflicted forests. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 40 (4): 862-877.

Siddharth Sareen. 2016. Seeing development as security: constructing top-down authority and inequitable access in Jharkhand. South Asian Multidisciplinary Academic Journal 13.

Siddharth Sareen. 2016. Whose matkam? An ethnographic account of the political economy of mahua flowers. Journal of Adivasi and Indigenous Studies 3 (1): 37-45.

Siddharth Sareen and Celie Manuel. 2016. Uphill tasks within Kumaon Himalayan communities: Multi- dimensional gendered inequalities in everyday life. Asia in Focus 3.


Book chapters

Siddharth Sareen. 2019. ‘Interventions and aspirations: Constructing local governance through resource access and authority’. In (eds. D’Costa, A. & A. Chakraborty) Changing contexts and shifting roles of the Indian state: New perspectives on development dynamics, Springer.

Siddharth Sareen and Emma Jane Lord. 2019. ‘Mahua for Jharkhand’s Ho? An accountability analysis of minor forest product governance’. In (eds. Bhagat-Ganguly V. & S. Kumar) India's Scheduled Areas: Untangling governance, law, and institutions, Routledge. Areas-Untangling-Governance-Law-and-Politics-1st/Bhagat-Ganguly-Kumar/p/book/9781138583726

Siddharth Sareen. 2018. ‘Electricity distribution in Rajasthan: Unbundling the recurrent failures of a politicised sector’. In (eds. Dubash N., S. Kale & R. Bharvirkar) Mapping Power: The political economy of electricity in India’s states, Oxford University Press. power-9780199487820

Siddharth Sareen. 2018. ‘Gujarat’s success in efficient electricity distribution: A call for proactive governance to further gains’. In (eds. Dubash N., S. Kale & R. Bharvirkar) Mapping Power: The political economy of electricity in India’s states, Oxford University Press.

Siddharth Sareen. 2016. ‘The continuing marginalisation of adivasi livelihoods despite decentralisation: Resource extraction in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum’. In (eds K. B. Nielsen and P. Oskarsson) ‘Industrialising India: Land, Policy, Resistance’, Routledge.


Working papers and reports

Siddharth Sareen and Steven Wolf. 2020. Accountability and sustainability transitions. Science Policy Research Unit Working Papers Series 2020-07 (May), University of Sussex.

Siddharth Sareen and Harriet Thomson (eds.) 2019. Moving beyond the state of the art in energy poverty measurement. ENGAGER European energy poverty network working group 2 report.

Co-author. 2018. Exponential Climate Action Roadmap. Future Earth Sweden.

Siddharth Sareen. 2017. Politics, procurement, bail-out and buy-in: Woes and ways for Rajasthan’s distribution sector. in-woes- and- ways-of-rajasthans-distribution-sector/. Working paper, Regulatory Assistance Project and Centre for Policy Research.

Siddharth Sareen. 2017. What powers success on the ground? The gradual reform of electricity distribution in Gujarat. ground-the- gradual- reform-of-electricity-distribution-in-gujarat/. Working paper, Regulatory Assistance Project and Centre for Policy Research.


Policy briefs

Co-author. 2020. Making the most of qualitative evidence for energy poverty mitigation: A research agenda and call for action. ENGAGER policy brief (Middlemiss, L. et al). content/uploads/2020/02/ENGAGER-Policy-Brief-No.-3-February-2020-Making-the-Most-of-Qualitative- Data-for-EP-Research-and-Action.pdf

Co-author. 2018. European Energy Poverty COST Action Policy Brief 1.

Co-author. 2018. Accelerating SDG7 Achievement: Policy Briefs in Support of the First SDG7 Review at the United Nations High Level Political Forum 2018.

Siddharth Sareen. 2016. Case studies of natural resource access in Jharkhand, India: Implications for ‘democratic’ decentralisation. Copenhagen Centre for Development Research Policy Brief Series.


Book reviews

Siddharth Sareen. 2018. Book review: Indigenist Mobilization: Confronting Electoral Communism and Precarious Livelihoods in Post-Reform Kerala, Luisa Steur, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 19(4): 367-370.

Siddharth Sareen. 2017. Book review: The Burning Forest: India’s War in Bastar, Nandini Sundar, Journal of South Asian Development 12 (2): 209-212.



Solar 'power': Producing accountable institutions for transitions to renewable energy (2017-2021)

PARticipatory platform for sustainable ENergy managemenT (PARENT) (2018-2019)