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Home » Dr Lucy Heather Baker

Visiting Associate Professor
Name: Lucy Heather Baker
Location: 69 Kingsway Ave, Auckland Park, Johannesburg, 2092 Johannesburg Business School
SARChI TRCTI Visiting Scholars  Staff Members

Contact Details:
Tel: 011 559 1808


About Dr Lucy Heather Baker

Lucy Baker has a background in development studies with empirical and theoretical expertise in development studies, political economy, and energy transitions.  Her three main areas of research can be summarised as: i) ownership, finance and renewable energy; ii) governing electricity in a time of technological disruption; and iii) technological capabilities and global production networks in renewable energy.


She has undertaken extensive research into the political economy of electricity in South Africa. She is currently involved in a GCRF-funded project researching the sustainability and governance of mini grids in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Senegal.


Lucy co-convenes the Masters’ module on Energy and Development at the University of Sussex. She is an editor of the journal Geoforum.


Lucy completed her PhD in ‘The political economy of socio-technical transitions in South Africa’s electricity sector’ in 2012, at the University of East Anglia, UK.


Prior to joining academia, Lucy worked for ten years with non-governmental organisations: as policy and networking officer at the Bretton Woods Project, leading research and campaigns on the socio-economic and environmental impacts of development finance in low and middle-income countries; for Amnesty International as a human rights campaigner; and as a communications officer for Oxfam’s Latin America Programme.


She has worked in various countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America throughout her professional and academic career.


A native speaker of English, Lucy speaks and writes Spanish, French and Portuguese to a high level.



MA: Hispanic Studies and French, University of Edinburgh

MSc: Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

PhD: Development Studies, University of East Anglia


Selected publications

Baker L. (2021) ‘Procurement, finance and the energy transition: Between global processes and territorial realities’, Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, February 2021

Baker, L. Hook, A. and Sovacool, B. (2021) ‘Power struggles: Governing renewable electricity in a time of technological disruption’, Geoforum, 118:93-105

Baker, L. Burton, J. &Trollip, H (2020) ‘The Energy Politics of South Africa’, in Hancock, K.J & Emmons, J. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Energy Politics, pp OUP, 711-730,

Kirshner, J., Baker, L., Smith, A. and Bulkeley, H. (2019) ‘A regime in the making? Examining the geographies of solar PV electricity in Southern Africa’, Geoforum in press

Baker, L. and Burton, J. (2018) ‘The politics of procurement and the low-carbon transition in South Africa’. in: Kuzemko, Caroline, Keating, Michael F and Goldthau, Andreas (eds.) Handbook of the International Political Economy of Energy and Natural Resources, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp. 91-106

Baker, L. and Phillips, J. (2018) ‘Tensions in the transition: The politics of electricity distribution in South Africa’, Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 37(1)177-196

Baker, L. (2018) ‘Of embodied emissions and inequality: Rethinking energy consumption’, Energy Research and Social Science, 36: 52-60

Baker, L. (2017) ‘Commercial-Scale Renewable Energy in South Africa and its Progress to Date’, in IDS Bulletin, Vol 48, No 5-6 Green Power for Africa: Overcoming the Main Constraints

Baker, L. (2017) ‘Post-apartheid electricity policy and the emergence of South Africa’s renewable energy sector’ in, Arent, D. et al. (eds) (2017) The Political Economy of Clean Energy Transitions, WIDER Studies in Development Economics. Oxford University Press

Baker, L. and Sovacool, B. (2017) ‘The political economy of technological capabilities and global production networks in South Africa’s wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) industries’ Political Geography, 60: 1-12

Baker, L. (2015) ‘The evolving role of finance in South Africa’s renewable energy sector’, Geoforum 64(0):146-156

Baker, L. (2014) ‘Renewable energy in South Africa’s minerals-energy complex: a ‘low carbon’ transition?’ Review of African Political Economy, 42(144): 245-261

Baker, L., Newell, N. & Philips, J. (2014) ‘The political economy of socio-technical transitions in South Africa’, New Political Economy, 19 (6), 791-818