GRID Alternatives and RAEL partner on research to improve off-grid electricity access in remote areas
[caption id="attachment_1915" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Camp for internally displaced persons in Malakal, South Sudan, following February 2016 violence[/caption] For a brief video introduction to the program, click here. Launched in May 2016, this new initiative focuses on the increasing overlap of conflict and climate change, and the potential of renewable energy as a tool for peace building and conflict prevention. The program will combine research, policy-based advocacy and operational programming in conflict-risk countries. The emphasis of the program is on action with three related goals: First, to build stronger links between the communities working on conflict prevention and those working on climate change. Second, to help encourage the use of clean energy development programs as accepted tools for peace building and conflict prevention, including through pilot projects in conflict-risk or crisis settings. Third, to highlight the opportunities for peace building and inclusive political mobilization that come from a shared threat of climate change.
Kenji is a Ph.D. student with the Goldman School of Public Policy and a researcher in the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory. His current research interests include empirical studies and quantitative modeling on the effectiveness of renewable energy policies in developing and developed countries for effective decision making. He is also interested in developing better tools for quantitative assessment of the multiple benefits of climate policies such as energy access, job creation, and technology development and transfer. Kenji has more than 10 years of professional experiences in the area of Japan’s and international environmental policies as a Deputy Director for Market-based Climate Policy of the Japanese Ministry of the Environment, a Managing Director of the Global Environment Centre Foundation, etc. For example, he has spearheaded and managed various government energy incentive programs for funding energy efficient and renewable energy projects in Japan as well as in Southeast Asia and Africa under the Joint Crediting Mechanism, bilateral cooperation scheme between 14 countries and Japanese Government. He has also initiated and led international cooperation initiatives on environmental policy planning, capacity building, and technology transfer focused on low-carbon city development with Japanese municipalities for Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Vientiane (Lao PDR), and other cities. He has negotiated at COP 18 and 19 of the UNFCCC as an international negotiator of the Japanese delegation on technology transfer. Outside of environmental policies, he is a creator and a leading trainer of policy analysis training courses for Japanese policy professionals. He holds an MPP with the Smolensky Prize (the Best Advanced Policy Analysis (master’s thesis)) from UC Berkeley, for which Dan Kammen was his APA advisor. Kenji has a MEng and a BEng in Chemical Engineering from University of Tokyo.
Rapid economic growth sustained in Southeast Asia throughout the new millennium has led to a surge in large-scale infrastructure projects to facilitate industrial productivity and consumption. The state of Sarawak, located along the northern coast of the island of Borneo, is the poorest and most rural state in Malaysia but has long been a focal point for the development of large-scale hydroelectric power. At least six dams are scheduled to be completed in Sarawak by 2020 as part of a high hydro-potential corridor in central Sarawak. These forests have undisputed global and local significance ecologically, biologically and culturally. In collaboration with local grass-roots renewable project developers and river protection groups we have explored the potential for clean energy alternatives in the state through an integration of modeling tools: (a) modeling long-term utility scale electricity generation alternatives in East Malaysia to determine trade-offs across different technologies; (b) exploring the potential for rural communities in dam-affected areas to satisfy energy access needs using local resources; (c) demonstrating a rapid assessment method for estimating the impact of mega-projects on biodiversity. Each of these studies provides information useful to the discussion of alternatives and furthers the analysis of green economy costs and benefits. Our published findings have influenced policy discussions at the Ministerial level and a moratorium against the Baram Dam was announced in 2015. Media coverage of our research and the Baram Dam Moratorium: The Borneo Project, March 21, 2016 - Fantastic new video on "Development without destruction" in Sarawak. Mongabay, October 20, 2015 - Indigenous anti-dam activists converge in Sarawak from around the globe Sarawak Report, September 25, 2015 - BMF Press Statement: Victory, Moratorium on the Baram Dam in Malaysia The Borneo Post, September 27, 2015 - Small is Beautiful: The People Matter Media coverage of our June 28, 2015 press conference in Kuching, Sarawak: The Borneo Post, August 11, 2015 - Adenan wants SEB to light up the rural areas The Malaysian Insider, July 31, 2015 - Adenan puts Baram dam on hold, agrees to listen to natives’ grouses Radio Free Sarawak, July 15, 2015 - "Sjotveit should be out", say Sarawakians The Malaysian Insider, July 14, 2015 - Stop Baleh dam tender until environmental study scrutinised, says Sarawak PKR Mongabay.com, July 8, 2015 - Sarawak can meet energy needs without mega-dams: report BFM 89.9 - The Business Station (www.bfm.my), Radio and online interview, July 3, 2015, Clean energy options in East Malaysia The Daily Express - East Malaysia, June 30, 2015 - Sarawak Mega Dam Project Study The Borneo Post, June 29, 2015 - Borneo May See the End of Mega-Dams The Malaysian Insider, June 29, 2015 - Activists say Adenan rethinking mega dams policy in Sarawak Free Malaysia Today, June 29, 2015 - Adenan May Drop Mega Dam Projects The Maylay Mail, June 29, 2015 - CM pulls the brakes on Baram dam until he goes through detailed studies, group claims International Rivers (2014). Better Solutions Than Megadams for Powering Sarawak, Study Finds. World Rivers Review Vol 29. No 2. Page 5. Earlier media coverage of this work on energy alternatives to coal and mega-hydropower projects includes this report in TIME Magazine: February 22, 2011 - Borneo says no to dirty energy Recent discussions of the relationship between mega-dams and earthquakes has also been receiving local coverage in Borneo: http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/06/28/dams-fault-lines-and-quakes/
Rebekah Shirley is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at RAEL. She completed her doctoral studies in the Energy and Resources Group in 2015. She previously obtained a MSc. Energy and Resources (2011) and a MSc. Civil Engineering at UC Berkeley (2011). Her doctoral and post-doctoral research focuses on distributed renewable energy (DRE) technologies and designing integrated modeling frameworks to support energy planning in emerging economies with a focus on Southeast Asia, Africa and island regions. As a researcher at RAEL Rebekah has conducted feasibility studies, built impact calculators and designed energy systems for clients across Latin America and the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. She has worked with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and USAID. Rebekah is a University of California Chancellor’s Fellow and has won grants from organizations such as the DOE and the Rainforest Foundation that support her work. Rebekah is also currently the Director of Research at Power For All, a global education and advocacy initiative founded by energy access practitioners and implementers to advance renewable solutions for universal energy access. Rebekah oversees the development of Power For All’s Platform for Energy Access Knowledge, an interactive open-access research hub focused on decentralized energy technologies.