Dr Jonathan Balls



Jonathan works on energy, development, and economic geography. His research has focused on the market-based diffusion of off-grid solar products in India, the governance challenges arising from the proliferation of solar micro-grids in the global South, bottom of the pyramid capitalism, and the political economy of electricity distribution. Jonathan’s current research focuses on India’s international partnerships in the areas of energy and climate. More specifically, he is looking at India’s South-South partnerships that seek to deliver knowledge and technology exchanges on off-grid solar and distributed energy systems and on city cooling.


Jonathan completed his DPhil at the School of Geography and the Environment, at the University of Oxford in 2016, and holds a BA degree in Geography from the University of Cambridge. He was a New Generation Network Post-Doctoral Researcher at the School of Geography and Australia India Institute, University of Melbourne between 2016-2019.


Balls, J. N. & Fischer, H. W. (2019): Electricity-Centered Clientelism and the Contradictions of Private Solar Microgrids in India. Annals of the American Association of American Geographers. 109:2. 465-475. DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2018.1535312.

Balls, J. N. 2018. Stalled Reform in the Face of Electoral Fears: Uttar Pradesh’s Electricity Distribution Sector. In: DUBASH, N. K., S. KALE, and R. BHARVIRKAR. (eds.) Mapping Power: The Political Economy of Electricity in India’s States. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Balls, J. 2018. Uttarakhand: The Golden Combination of Cheap Energy and a Large Industrial Base. In: DUBASH, N. K., S. KALE, and R. BHARVIRKAR. (eds.) Mapping Power: The Political Economy of Electricity in India’s States. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Policy Publications

Balls, J. 2018. Promoting a Sustainable Off-Grid Solar Market in India. Very Short Policy Brief Series. Australia India Institute. Australia.


Late Night Live. ABC. 18 March 2019.


“India’s Electrifying Election”, Pursuit, 11 March 2019.


“Mapping Power: The Story Behind Uttarakhand’s A+ Performing Discom”, Centre for Policy Research, 23 October 2018.


“How to Reform Uttar Pradesh’s Troubled Power Sector”, Hindustan Times, 18 September 2018.


“Did Economics Triumph in Uttar Pradesh?”, Inside Story. 21 March 2017.