Benjamin K. Sovacool
PhD, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, 2006;
MA, Wayne State University, 2003;
BA, John Carroll University, 2001
Dr. Benjamin K. Sovacool is a Visiting Associate Professor at Vermont Law School, where serves as the founding manager of their Energy Security and Justice Program at the Institute for Energy & the Environment. The Program investigates how to provide ethical access to energy services and minimize the injustice of current patterns of energy production and use. One track focuses on lack of access to electricity and reliance on traditional biomass fuels for cooking in the developing world. Another analyzes the moral implications of existing energy policies and proposals, with an emphasis on the production and distribution of negative energy externalities and the impacts of energy use on the environment and social welfare. He teaches classes on global energy security, renewable energy and alternative fuels, environmental economics and markets, and energy policy.
Dr. Sovacool has written more than 200 peer-reviewed academic articles and book chapters. Although his primary area of expertise is energy policy, he has also published in the fields of astronomy, bioethics, chemical engineering, environmental law, epidemiology, fisheries, forest management, geography, governance, political economy, political science, public policy and administration, science and technology studies, sociology, and technology transfer. His work has been referenced by Nobel Laureates and in publications such as Science, Nature, and Scientific American. His opinion editorials have appeared in newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle.
He is the coeditor of Energy and American Society (Springer, 2007) and Energy Poverty (Oxford University Press, 2013), and the editor, author, or coauthor of The Dirty Energy Dilemma (Praeger, 2008), Powering the Green Economy (2009, Earthscan), The Routledge Handbook of Energy Security (Routledge, 2010), Contesting the Future of Nuclear Power (World Scientific, 2011), Climate Change and Global Energy Security (MIT Press, 2011), The National Politics of Nuclear Power (Routledge, 2012), Energy Access, Poverty, and Development (Ashgate, 2012), The Governance of Energy Megaprojects (Edward Elgar, 2013), Energy and Ethics (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013), Energy Security, Inequality, and Justice (Routledge, 2014) and Global Energy Justice (Cambridge University Press, 2014). His books have been nominated for twelve international prizes, and his Dirty Energy Dilemma won a 2009 Nautilus Silver Award.
In addition to his labor at the Program and his publications, Professor Sovacool works as a researcher and consultant on issues pertaining to 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 to the consequences of climate change. He is a Contributing Author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) forthcoming Fifth Assessment (AR5). He also served in 2012 as an Erasmus Mundus Visiting Scholar at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. He has repeatedly consulted for the Asian Development Bank, United Nations Development Program, and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific on energy poverty, governance, and security issues.
At the National University of Singapore, he led a series of research projects supported by the MacArthur Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation investigating how to improve energy security for impoverished rural communities throughout Asia, including in-depth assessments of Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka. With a grant from the Singaporean Ministry of Education, he explored how to improve resilience to the impacts of climate change in twelve major metropolitan areas (including cities in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia) in addition to the evaluation of national adaptation projects in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, the Maldives, Nepal, and Vanuatu.
While there, he also investigated the politics of large-scale transnational energy megaprojects with grants from the Singaporean Academic Research Council at the Ministry of Education and the Asia Research Institute. As part of this work, he completed comprehensive assessments of the energy security implications of the $5 billion Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, $40 billion Trans-ASEAN Natural Gas Pipeline Network, $105 billion Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy, and a $400 billion proposal to build a very-large solar array in the Mongolian Gobi Desert.
Before then, Professor Sovacool examined the barriers facing the commercialization and deployment of greenhouse gas reducing technologies in the United States. In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy's Climate Change Technology Program, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Georgia Institute of Technology, he researched the cost-effectiveness of a portfolio of climate change mitigation technologies in addition to the fiscal, regulatory, statutory, and intellectual property barriers that impede their wider adoption.
While at Virginia Tech, Professor Sovacool worked as a graduate student on a large grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation's Electric Power Networks Efficiency and Security Program analyzing the barriers to small-scale renewable electricity sources and distributed generation in the United States. In addition, he assessed the renewable resource potential of Virginia in conjunction with the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Furthermore, he was part of a U.S. National Academies of Science team looking at how to displace the use of nuclear power in New York through the use of energy efficiency practices and distributed solar energy.
Domestically, he has served in other research and advisory capacities for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Semiconductor Materials and Equipment International, the Global Environment Facility, the World Bank Group, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Internationally, he has done the same for the International Institute for Applied Systems and Analysis (IIASA) near Vienna, Austria, the Renewable Energy Network for the Twenty-First Century (REN 21) in Paris, France, and the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris, France.
Furthermore, Dr. Sovacool has presented research at more than 80 international conferences and symposia in 48 countries. These have included keynote addresses for the Sustainable Electricity Association of New Zealand, the Australian Solar Energy Society, the Singapore Technology Commercialization Forum, and the Asian Youth Energy Summit, among others, in addition to invited seminars at American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington DC, Duke University, Princeton University, the Royal Society in London, the University of Tokyo, and various World Renewable Energy Congresses.
He received his PhD in science and technology studies from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, where he also won the "Outstanding Dissertation of the Year" award from the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org