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.
Rebekah Shirley is ERG alumni and former Post-Doctoral Researcher at RAEL. She completed her doctoral studies in the Energy and Resources Group in 2015. She also previously obtained a MSc. Energy and Resources (2011) and a MSc. Civil Engineering at UC Berkeley (2011). Her doctoral research focused on decentralized renewable energy technologies and designing integrated modeling frameworks to support energy planning in emerging economies, with a focus on Southeast Asia and island regions and now her scope has extended to sub-Saharan Africa, where she lives.
As a researcher at RAEL Rebekah has conducted feasibility studies for energy alternatives in Borneo and Laos, built the first carbon emissions and green jobs impact calculators in the Caribbean, developed solutions to reduce the carbon and water footprints of the hotel sector in India, designed carbon neutral emergency housing for hurricane preparedness and climate resilience in French Polynesia, explored the agriculture-water intersection with Fulbright Nexus Scholars in Nicaragua, and modeled least-cost power systems for partners across Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. She has worked with institutions like 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 at UC Berkeley has won grants from organizations such as the DOE and the Rainforest Foundation that support her work.
Rebekah is now the Chief Research Officer at Power For All, a global education and advocacy initiative founded by energy access practitioners to advance renewable solutions for universal energy access, with focused campaigns in sub-Saharan Africa. For her work in building the continent’s first decentralized energy research engine Rebekah was named Africa’s Outstanding Young Leader in Energy 2018. Rebekah now lives and works in Nairobi, Kenya.