The Sustainable Islands group at RAEL is involved in understanding the scope for renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Small Island Developing State (SIDS) context. We are involved in a number of projects that involve feasibility analysis, resource optimization and energy system modelling. We conduct assessments and build decision support tools for policy makers and individuals — to support the build out of sustainable, low carbon island economies. Some of our past projects are listed here:
Energy Sector Trends in the Caribbean
Professor Kammen and graduate student Rebekah Shirley recently published an article on the history of energy sector development in the Caribbean. The paper also looks at a number of current renewable energy projects in the region, performs cost benefit analysis and discusses opportunities for future renewable penetration in the region. Our work is highlighted in Nature Climate Change.
Shirley, R. and Kammen, D. (2012). Renewable energy sector development in the Caribbean: Current trends and lessons from history. Energy Policy. Volume 57, June 2013, Pages 244–252
Energy Efficient Low Income Housing, French Polynesia
The RAEL Sustainable Islands group was invited to collaborate with researchers from the UC Berkeley Gump Station in Moorea and the Polynesian Housing Office to conduct a integrated study on the sustainability of low income housing prototypes based on materials and thermal performance. Our team contributed the carbon footprint assessment to this study. Check out the final report above.
Carbon Footprints and Green-Job Potential in the USVI
Professor Kammen and graduate student Rebekah Shirley were invited to participate in the NREL Energy Development in Island Nations Initiative, launched in St. Thomas, USVI in 2010. Since then they have collaborated with NREL and various agencies in the territory to develop a household carbon calculator and green jobs estimator used as tools in public education and decision making. Kammen and Shirley also collaborated with NREL and the OAS to prepare a survey of the status of Energy Policy in various Caribbean Islands.
Shirley, R., Jones, C. and Kammen, D. (2012). A household carbon footprint calculator for islands: Case study of the United States Virgin Islands. Ecological Economics. Volume 80, August 2012, Pages 8–14
U.S. DOE (2011). Energy Policy and Sector Analysis in the Caribbean 2010 — 2011.
Shirley, R. and Kammen, D. (2012). Estimating the Potential Impact of Renewable Energy on the Caribbean Job Sector. RAEL Report 2012.1.
Green Jobs in Grenada
RAEL collaborated with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) on a road map for sustainable economic growth in Grenada. Professor Kammen and graduate student Rebekah Shirley prepared a chapter on green job potential while ERG alumni Dan Prull prepared a chapter on future energy options. The report was published for the Rio +20 Summit.
UN DESA (2012). Road Map on Building a Green Economy for Sustainable Development in Carriacou and Petite Martinique, Grenada.
Susana Arrechea holds a bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of San Carlos of Guatemala and a masters degree in Molecular Nanoscience and Nanotechnology from the University of Castilla-La Mancha. Susana is a Professor at the Engineering Faculty at the University San Carlos of Guatemala. In 2011, she began a doctorate program in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Toledo, Spain. She received a scholarship through the Carolina Foundation, the University of Castilla– La Mancha and the University San Carlos of Guatemala. Susana investigates novel materials for third generation solar cells at the Institute of Nanoscience, Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials at the University of Castilla – La Mancha. In 2014, she was selected to participate in the Renewable Energy group of Fulbright Regional Network for Applied Research (NEXUS) Program, led by Dr. Daniel M Kammen and Dr. Sergio Pacca. This program bring together a network of researchers from the United States, Brazil and other Western Hemisphere nations, for a series of seminar meetings and multidisciplinary research. Susana will visit the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) at the University of California, Berkeley, to studying sustainable isolated microgrids in Latin America as part of the Fulbright NEXUS exchange experience.
Gang He is now an Assistant Professor in the
Stony Brook University
E-mail: Gang.He [at] stonybrook.edu
While a doctoral student in RAEL and ERG, Gang He was also a Visiting Faculty Affiliate for the China Energy Group
, Energy Technologies Area, at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as well as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Technology and Society, at Stony Brook University. He has worked with the China Energy Group since 2011. His work focuses on energy modeling, energy economics, energy and climate policy, energy and environment, domestic coal and power sectors and their key role in both the global energy supply and in international climate policy framework. He also studies other interdisciplinary aspects of global climate change and the development of lower-carbon energy sources.
Prior to Berkeley, he was a research associate with Stanford University’s Program on Energy and Sustainable Development from 2008 to 2010.
Joining RAEL in October 2015:
Dr. Deborah A. Sunter is currently a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the Department of Energy: Advanced Manufacturing Office. Her current interests include renewable energy systems, advanced manufacturing techniques, and the interaction of science and policy in academia, industry and government.
She received a B.S in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University. There she developed a nanosatellite mission that was successfully launched into orbit. Although fascinated by aerospace applications, the time-critical issue of global warming shifted her focus in graduate school to explore renewable energy. Specializing in computational modeling of thermo-physics in multiphase systems, she developed a novel solar absorber tube and received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. The need for a global environmental solution led her to do research abroad in both Japan and China.
Dr. Sunter’s JHU email is email@example.com. She teaches 425.625 Solar Energy: Science, Technology and Policy.
Ian is a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow in the Energy and Resources Group and a member of the inaugural “Environment and Society: Data Science for the 21st Century” National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) cohort. His research interests lie at the intersection of energy systems, climate change adaptation, and global health. He is a member of the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments Arctic team, investigating biogeochemical factors governing energy fluxes in arctic tundra environments from the plant scale to the model grid-cell scale. He is also interested in developing better tools for characterizing seasonal snowpack variation, in order to improve forecasts of streamflow, water availability, and hydropower production. Ian serves as project manager for Tiny House in My Backyard, a student project to design and build mobile, affordable, and sustainable net-zero energy housing on the Berkeley Global Campus. Prior to arriving at UC Berkeley, he received his BA from Harvard University in Applied Mathematics and spent three years modeling trends in global injury rates at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Outside of academia, Ian is a member of the Tahoe Backcountry Ski Patrol, and he writes about mountain adventures and environmental issues on his blog at TheInertia.com.
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; © 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/
Timothy E. Lipman is an energy and environmental technology, economics, and policy researcher and lecturer with the University of California — Berkeley. He is serving as Co-Director for the campus’ Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC), based at the Institute of Transportation Studies, and also as Director of the U.S. Department of Energy Pacific Region Clean Energy Application Center (PCEAC). Tim’s research focuses on electric-drive vehicles, fuel cell technology, combined heat and power systems, biofuels, renewable energy, and electricity and hydrogen energy systems infrastructure.
Lipman received his Ph.D. degree in Environmental Policy Analysis with the Graduate Group in Ecology at UC Davis (1999). He also has received an M.S. degree in the technology track of the Graduate Group in Transportation Technology and Policy, also at UC Davis (1998), and a B.A. from Stanford University (1990). His Ph.D. dissertation titled “Zero-Emission Vehicle Scenario Cost Analysis Using A Fuzzy Set-Based Framework” received the University of California Transportation Center’s ‘Charlie Wootan’ Ph.D. dissertation award for 1999. He is also a 2005 Climate Change Fellow with the Woods Institute at Stanford University, and he also received a 2004 Institute of Transportation Engineers service award, a 1998 NSF IGERT teaching fellowship, a 1997 University of California Transportation Center Dissertation Grant, a 1996 ENO Foundation Fellowship, a 1995 University of California Transportation Center Dissertation Grant, and a 1994 Chevron Foundation Fellowship. A native of Golden, Colorado, he graduated Cum Laude from Colorado Academy in 1986.
Dr. Felix Creutzig is head of the working group Land Use, Infrastructures and Transport. He is lead author of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report and was lead analyst of the Global Energy Assessment. Felix Creutzig teaches courses about climate change and infrastructures at Technische Universität Berlin. His research focuses on:
• Conceptualizing and quantifying GHG emissions of cities world-wide
• Assessing opportunities for GHG mitigation of cities world-wide
• Building models of sustainable urban form and transport
• Land rents as a complement for financing sustainable infrastructures
• Analyzing the role of capital stocks and infrastructures for climate change mitigation
• Land use-mediated uncertainty in integrated assessments, particularly those related to bioenergy
Since 2009 Felix Creutzig is also group leader at the Department of the Economics of Climate Change at Technische Universität Berlin. He was a postdoc fellow at the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley, collaborating with Dan Kammen, Lee Schipper and Elizabeth Deakin, and the Energy Foundation China in Beijing. Felix Creutzig received his PhD in Computational Neuroscience from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and holds a Master of Advanced Studies (Path III in Mathematics) from Cambridge University, UK.
Many U.S. cities are taking steps to grow urban centers in an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But a challenge is the significant carbon footprint of spacious suburban living, which in many areas, may be cancelling out these efforts. The report, appearing in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, found that about half of the country’s household carbon footprint come from people living in the suburbs, essentially cancelling out the benefits of low carbon footprint central cities.
Christopher Jones and Daniel Kammen point out that U.S. households though they only comprise 4.3 percent of the global population, are responsible for about 20 percent of annual worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, which are driving climate change. In response, many governors and mayors across the country have pledged to reduce their states’ and cities’ emissions. But more information on the size and composition of household carbon footprint is needed to inform policies to make these reductions happen. A few studies have helped fill in some gaps, but they’re mostly small in scale and not broadly applicable. Kammen and Jones set out to paint a bigger picture.
The authors built an analytic model using national survey data to estimate average household carbon footprints for over 30,000 zip codes and 10,000 cities and towns in all fifty U.S. states. Their technique integrates a wide range of sectors, including transportation, household energy use and consumption of food, goods and services. The researchers found a number of surprising nuances in their analysis. For example, some studies have shown that more population-dense areas have lower emissions. But Jones and Kammen found that population-dense suburbs have significantly higher carbon footprints on average than lower density suburbs, and there is a huge range across cities.
As a result of large spatial differences in household carbon footprints they conclude that “an entirely new approach of highly tailored, community-scale carbon management is urgently needed.” One approach is to develop communication and estimation tools for widespread use, which the authors have developed and implemented for public use at http://coolclimate.berkeley.edu/maps and http://coolclimate.berkeley.edu/carbon calculator
The authors acknowledge funding from the California Air Resources Board and the National Science Foundation (grants to D. Kammen). Professor Kammen founded and directs the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory where this work was conducted. Christopher Jones is a doctoral student advised by Professor Kammen.