Universal Access to Energy | Session 1: New Technologies & Related Social Impacts | IEEE TechEthics & UN-DESA

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About the Video: What are some promising technologies to ensure affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all? What are some of the key ethical, legal and policy-related concerns? This session addresses these key questions and more.

About the Event:

Part of a new series of online events conceived by IEEE TechEthics and UN-DESA as a way to facilitate and share technology solutions and promote substantive discussions among policy makers, engineers, legal experts, ethicists, social scientists, and others on a variety of topics related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This event in the series focused on Universal Access to Energy.

View/download session 1 handouts (PDF)

About the Speakers:

- Simone Abram is Professor of Anthropology at Durham University (UK) and is a director of the Durham Energy Institute. She is an Investigator at the Research Centre for Socially Inclusive Energy Transitions at Oslo University, and is a member of the UK National Centre for Energy Systems Integration. Over 80 publications include ‘Electrifying Anthropology’ (Bloomsbury 2019), 'Ethnographies of Power' (Berghahn 2021), and Elusive Promises’ (2013).

- Simay Akar has been working in the energy industry since 2012. She specializes in solar and renewable energy fields. Akar is currently the Chief Commercial Officer & Co-Founder at INNOSES, an innovative sustainable energy solutions provider offering Lithium-ion battery products worldwide in the field of energy storage and electric vehicles. Additional current roles include Sales & Marketing Director of EkoRE – Eko Renewable Energy, Marketing & Business Development Director of GoodWe Turkey, and Head of Overseas Marketing at Talesun Solar. Akar has worked in China and Turkey and mostly focused on international commercial activities and has been employed by CSUN Eurasia, Schneider Electric, Arcelik (BEKO), and Lucida Solar. In addition to her professional acclimates, she is an IEEE Senior member, acknowledged volunteer since 2007. Simay is a graduate of Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.

- Toby Cumberbatch taught electrical engineering at The Cooper Union from 1994 to 2018. In 2003 he took his first group of students to a village he had lived in as a child in northern Ghana where his father was a doctor. The focus of these return trips was to encourage students to consider what it means to live with the land, a skill that had left a lasting impression on Toby. From these trips arose an engineering methodology to address the fundamental needs of those who consider themselves impoverished, marginalized, often forgotten—Engineering for the Middle of Nowhere—engineering of the highest quality for remote, rural communities in regions with no infrastructure. SociaLite emerged from a 2006 first-semester engineering class in which students were challenged to “work with the poorest of the poor and design a lighting system to address their real needs.” Now retired, Toby devotes his time to developing and installing these systems—in addition to fund raising until SociaLite becomes a self-sustaining operation.

- Keywan Riahi is the Director of the IIASA Program on Energy, Climate, and Environment and is affiliated with the Graz University of Technology (TU Graz), Payne Institute of the Colorado School of Mines, and the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) at the University of Amsterdam. His main research interests are long-term patterns of technological change and economic development, particularly evolution of the energy system. His present research focuses on global and national strategies for limiting climate change and for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He is a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Integrated Assessment Modeling Consortium (IAMC) and has co-led and coordinated a variety of different international community research efforts, including for example the development of the RCP-SSP framework for the integrated assessment of climate change. He is a regular advisor to national government organizations, energy and environment ministries, and the Industry. He has been appointed as a coordinating lead author in Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, and served on various other assessments, including the Global Energy Assessment (GEA), The World in 2050 (TWI2050), and the IPCC Special Report on 1.5C Warming. Dr. Riahi has repeatedly been acknowledged as Highly Cited Researcher Worldwide in two categories between 2016 and 2020.

- Richard A. Roehrl is a scientist, economist and policy analyst. At present, he is a Senior Economic Affairs Officer in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs where he is responsible for science, technology and infrastructure issues. He works towards strengthening the science-policy interface and has supported the creation of a number of new entry points for science and technology stakeholders at the United Nations. In particular, he initiated the UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism and the UN Global Sustainable Development Report, among others. Mr. Roehrl has advised governments, supported negotiations and engaged with science communities on a wide range of issues. He has led analytical work and assessments on sustainable development, technology change and foresight, emerging science, cross-border infrastructure, energy, climate and scenario analysis. Mr. Roehrl received his education from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, the University of Oxford, the University of London, and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.

- Siddharth Sareen is an associate professor in energy and environment at the Department of Media and Social Sciences at the University of Stavanger, Norway and a researcher at the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation at the University of Bergen. He works on the governance of energy transitions at multiple scales and currently leads a JPI Climate funded project on socially inclusive digitisation for deep decarbonisation in medium-sized European cities, as well as a Research Council of Norway researcher project for young talents on accountable solar energy transitions in Portugal and India. His current research focus is on socially just, low-carbon urban mobility transitions. Siddharth has published in dozens of international journals, has edited the book ‘Enabling sustainable energy transitions’ and serves on editorial boards of several journals, including Energy Research & Social Science. He is a member of the Young Academy of Norway and has worked as a researcher in six other countries.

- Mark A. Vasquez (moderator) is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) with over 25 years of experience in association management at IEEE. He currently serves as the senior program manager for IEEE TechEthics, a program that drives conversations about the ethical and societal impacts of technology. In this capacity, he works to develop relationships with others in the technology ethics community, produces events, convenes thought leaders, and more. Mark is an engineering graduate of The Cooper Union.

Recorded on 11 February 2021.

About the Video: What are some promising technologies to ensure affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all? What are some of the key ethical, legal and policy-related concerns? This session addresses these key questions and more.

Speakers in this video