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Dr Lucy Baker

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Professional biography

I am a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Geography at the Open University where I have worked since April 2023.

My empirical and theoretical expertise lies in development studies, political economy and the energy transition. My 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.

I have a country specialism on South Africa, and have worked in various countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America throughout my professional and academic career.

Prior to joining academia, I worked 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.

I completed my PhD in "The political economy of socio-technical transitions in South Africa's electricity sector" in 2012 at the University of East Anglia, UK. I hold an MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and an MA Hons in Spanish and French from the University of Edinburgh. A native speaker of English, I am fluent in Spanish and speak and have a good working proficiency in Portuguese and French..

Research interests

Energy geographies

Governing electricity

The political economy of energy

Global production networks and technological capabilities in renewable energy

Finance and financialisation in renewable energy 

Teaching interests

I am currently co-chairing the production of DST 216: Sharing a Dynamic Planet.

I am a fellow of the HEA and have over a decade of experience of designing and delivering modules, lectures and seminars for a variety of undergraduate, postgraduate and professional courses relating to human and environmental geography, development studies and energy policy.

I welcome enquiries from potential PhD candidates in the areas of: 

The political economy of low-carbon development

Energy transitions in low and middle-income countries

The role of finance in determining renewable energy pathways

 Current PhD supervision:

  • Cecilia Llamosas, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex (since May 2019) Working title: ‘Energy justice and security implications of large cross-boundary hydropower dams– A comparative analysis’
  • Wonda Mireille Yeo, University of Johannesburg (since June 2020) Working title: ‘Understanding the role of gender in the energy transition in Côte d’Ivoire’
  • Charlie Lawrie, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex (since September 2021) Working title: ‘The political economy of decarbonisation in the MENA region’.


Impact and engagement

I am co-investigator on the GCRF-funded project: ‘Sustainability, inclusiveness and governance of mini-grids in Africa’. Led by University of Surrey. Partners include: the Centre for Frugal Innovation (Kenya), ECREEE (Cabo Verde) and others from Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Kenya. GCRF- Funded. Total project value: £1.5 million:

I am a visiting associate professor within the Trilateral Research Chair in Transformative Innovation and Sustainable Development at the University of Johannesburg: 

And a visiting fellow in the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex: