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Professor Benjamin Sovacool writes in Science: Deploying Off-Grid Technology to Eradicate Energy Poverty

October 5, 2012

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt. -- A new article in Science by a Vermont Law School professor offers new ideas to make renewable electricity and heat available to low-income, rural households.Image of Benjamin Sovacool

The article, published today and based on field research in 10 Asian countries, offers design principles to overcome barriers to deploying off-grid technology to eradicate energy poverty, said author Dr. Benjamin K. Sovacool, a visiting associate professor at Vermont Law School, where he manages the Energy Security and Justice Program at the Institute for Energy and the Environment

"Rural energy users must be viewed not as passive consumers but as active participants in energy projects," Sovacool said. "None of these principles or this shift in focus is necessarily new. Yet, energy development practitioners may be too busy, too determined to push a particularly 'favorite' technology, or too proud to learn from each other and the academic literature to take them into account. In some cases, maldevelopment or negative impacts can occur if programs waste precious resources. Practitioners, and those interested in energy development, could start by shifting how they conceive of energy technology and program structure. No matter how dazzling and promising advances in energy science and technology may be, it will have an extremely limited effect in eradicating energy poverty unless programs take these principles into consideration." 

Sovacool is available to comment at 802-831-1053 or 

His research interests include the barriers to alternative sources of energy supply such as renewable electricity generators and distributed generation, the politics of large-scale energy infrastructure, designing public policy to improve energy security and access to electricity, and building adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change in least developed Asian countries.

CONTACT:   John Cramer, Associate Director of Media Relations, Vermont Law School

Office: 802-831-1106, cell: 540-798-7099, home: 802-649-2235,

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