As an Engineering for Development Research Fellow, it was an honour to present my work on the role of communities in energy resilience at the Royal Academy of Engineering Fellows’ Day on 17th May 2022. The event was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the Academy’s work, especially on sustainable society and inclusive economy.
It was a pleasure to speak in the webinar on ‘Setting the Scene: Maximizing the impacts of energy access on people’s development opportunities’ hosted by WISIONS of Sustainability and the ACCESS Coalition on 24th March 2022.
This webinar is the first part of the Webinar Series on how to maximize the development effects of energy access. It is increasingly recognized, that energy is inextricably linked to virtually all the SDGs. While there is an active debate on approaches to accelerate the achievement of universal energy access goal, there has been less attention to the question of how to maximize the development effects of energy access. This first webinar set the scene for the whole webinar series by exploring crucial aspects for maximizing contributions to multiple SDGs.
Read about the discussion and download further resources here.
It was wonderful to join the discussions at Engineering to build back better, the 2021 annual conference of Euro-CASE, the European Council of Academies of Applied Sciences, Technologies and Engineering. I took part in a panel discussion on ‘Engineering a resilient future’ on 25th November 2021. Panelists included:
Professor Roger Kemp MBE FREng, RAEng Engineering X Safer Complex Systems Advisory Board Chair
Anne-Marie Eklund Löwinder, Swedish Academy of Engineering
Carsten Orth Gaarn-Larsen, Senior Vice President, Technical University of Denmark
Dr Long Seng To, RAEng Engineering for Development Research Fellow, Loughborough University
Dr Elena Fersman, VP, Head of Global AI Accelerator, Ericsson
Access the conference programme and recordings here.
Community-based and inclusive renewable energy systems in underserved and marginalized communities are advancing rapidly around the world. The global initiative “Let communities lead” is an advocacy effort for increased empowerment, local ownership, and self-governance capacities. The initiative is launched by the Center for Energy and Society of the Arizona State University (ASU) and the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).
I am delighted to be appointed Co-Director of the new Centre for Sustainable Transitions: Energy, Environment and Resilience (STEER) at Loughborough University. STEER was launched during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow on 4th November 2021. Our mission is to accelerate the transition to inclusive, sustainable and resilient energy systems through innovative research, analysis and capacity building.
It was a great honour to speak at the SDG7 Pavilion at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 1st November 2021. The session focused on ‘How do we scale low carbon cooking?’ and was hosted by Sustainable Energy for All. I highlight how the UN Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) can help to scale low carbon cooking and shift investments into the sector. The session was chaired by Steven Hunt (FCDO) and speakers included:
Ambassador Dr Monica Juma (Cabinet Secretary Energy, Kenya),
Joint Secretary Ram Gopal Kharbuja (Joint Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation (MoEWRI), Nepal),
Anne Songole (ACCESS Coalition),
Simon Batchelor (Modern Energy Cooking Services/Gamos),
Ben Jeffreys (ATEC*),
Irene Wanjohi (Kenya Power)
Long Seng To (Loughborough University/UN Expert Group on Resource Management).
Watch the session here (starting from 18:30 in the recording).
It was wonderful to present a seminar on ‘Energy resilience in the Global South’ hosted by the School of Chemical Engineering, part of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Birmingham on 27th October 2021. I really enjoyed meeting staff and students working on energy and other topics.
Clean energy is emerging as one of the key strategic industries of the 21st century, with global trade in solar and wind related products rivalling that of the trade in oil and gas. International trade in clean energy products and services represents a major opportunity for Global Britain to support partners across the world in tackling climate change.
Going Clean aims to bring clarity to how the clean energy sector is governed, looking at the structure of the markets, the intricacies of the supply chains, the geopolitics of trade, and the expert networks that drive deployment.
Our talk was about ‘A Participatory Approach for Visualising Energy Resilience in Nepal from a Whole-System Perspective’.
Understanding how and in what ways to foster resilience within energy systems is a complex issue, encapsulating a diversity of factors. This complexity creates barriers to effective decision-making towards resilience, where a whole-systems approach is required amidst a relatively siloed governance landscape.
To support decision making in this area, this talk discussed how a bottom-up participatory approach can be valuable in enabling decision-makers and key stakeholders to visualise the complexity of energy systems resilience, and in turn help facilitate the application of a whole-systems approach to the design of sustainable policy interventions towards more resilient systems.
The talk outlined the participatory causal loop mapping approach, highlight the method’s value in identifying the variables and visualising interconnections affecting energy resilience in Nepal, as a case study. Nepal has experienced energy supply disruption from both long-term energy supply deficiency and short-term shocks. The outcomes of our bottom-up participatory workshop with key stakeholders show the significant benefit of using this approach to enable participants visualising the complexity of energy systems resilience and creating a shared understanding of ways in which resilience can be improved.
It was a pleasure to present a webinar on ‘Energy resilience in the Global South: the vital role of communities’ at the Centre for Data Science at the Coventry University on 14th May 2021. The talk covered the need for research on energy resilience, the vital role that communities play in creating solutions and an overview of my current work in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
I was delighted to join for the Renewable Energy Workshop at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s (UNECE) Resource Management Week 2021 on 26 April. The workshop focused on integrated water-energy management and I contributed to a panel on ‘Should integrated energy companies have integrated information systems?’. The panel discussed the value that the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources brings to different stakeholders.
Read more about the UNECE Resource Management Week 2021 here.
I was delighted to organise and present a session at the 2nd Urban Resilience Asia Pacific Conference (URAP2) online on 4th December 2020. The session focused on ‘Energy resilience and disasters in the South Pacific: political economy dynamics, community responses and planning’. The session presented a synthesis of three workshops on Energy Resilience in Pacific Island Countries in 2020 concerning planning and investing in more resilient energy systems, energy resilience and the political economy of off-grid solar and community energy resilience strategies in response to disasters. The session was presented in collaboration with Dr Anna Bruce (UNSW), Dr Iain MacGill (UNSW), Dr Paul Munro (UNSW) and Dr Atul Raturi (University of the South Pacific).
You can watch the URAP2 session below (starting at 17:16:05 on the recording).
Resilience in an energy system can be defined as its ability to resist, absorb, accommodate, adapt to, transform and recover from shocks and stresses. Energy resilience in the Asia-Pacific region is shaped by dynamics relating to energy security, transitions, reliability and recent disasters, such as coastal flooding, volcanic eruptions, cyclones and COVID-19. This interactive workshop series on 1-4 December 2020 will open up dialogue on energy resilience focusing on the experience of Pacific Island Countries, as well as exchange experiences with other regions. Case studies will include Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Tokelau, as well as drawing experience from Australia and a range of other countries. The aim of the series is to jointly identify research priorities for increasing energy resilience using grid and off-grid renewable energy in Pacific Island Countries. The three workshops are:
I really enjoyed taking part in the Royal Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Development Symposium on Disaster Resilience in Istanbul on 2-4 March 2020. The symposim brought together about 60 early- to mid-career researchers and practitioners from industry, academia, government and NGOs from around the globe in a multidisciplinary workshop.
It was a pleasure to host an international workshop on Community Energy Resilience at Loughborough University in October 2019. The workshop brought together representatives from the partner organisations from Nepal, Malawi and the UK involved in my Engineering for Development Research Fellowship funded by The Royal Academy of Engineering. Loughborough University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Bob Allison, opened the workshop and featured our collaboration in his newsletter to the university as ‘research story of the month’. During the workshop, we shared experiences from each country, and made progress towards a framework for measuring community energy resilience. We also spent time planning our exciting collaboration in the coming years.
I was delighted to present a paper on ‘Community energy resilience in the era of climate change’ at the New Climate Urbanism workshop on 4-5 September 2019 hosted by the Urban Institute, University of Sheffield. The international workshop explored the changing relationship between cities and climate change.
It was wonderful to take part in the first Humanitarian Energy Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 31 July to 1 August 2019. The conference brought together a diverse group from across the globe, including representatives from NGO’s, international organisations, funders, businesses and academia, working to improve and expand energy access for displaced and crisis-affected people.
It was a pleasure to host a session on ‘Energy Resilience’ during the Low Carbon Energy for Development Network annual conference at the University of Stratclyde, Glasgow on 2-3 May 2019.
The session was a deep dive into energy resilience from a community perspective. The short presentations by Collen Zalengera (Mzuzu University), Aran Eales (University of Stratclyde) and myself focused on Malawi as a case study. We reflected on the impact of Cyclone Idai, which affected the southern part of Malawi, on energy access. The presentations were followed by discussion on research questions identified during a recent workshop in Malawi.
The third workshop for the Collaborations for Community Energy Resilience in Low-Income Countries project took place in April 2019. The Malawi workshop was held in collaboration with Mzuzu University and the Civil Society Network on Climate Change. The workshop aimed to identify research needs and collaboration opportunities, and included participants from Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was a very timely discussion as the region recovers from Cyclones Idai and Kenneth.
I was really pleased to be at the launch of the Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) programme in April 2019. Loughborough University and the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme will lead this £39.8 million UK aid research programme to find innovative, clean and modern alternatives to biomass fuels, such as charcoal and wood.
The second of three workshops for the Collaborations for Community Energy Resilience in Low-Income Countries project took place in February 2019. The South Asia workshop, held in Kathmandu in Nepal, aimed to identify research needs and collaboration opportunities to increase community energy resilience in on-grid, mini-grid, and stand-alone electricity systems. It was great to hear from experts in disaster risk reduction and energy access in the region.
Read more about the workshop on the Energy and Economic Growth website here.
I’m looking forward to speaking at the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) Annual Assembly at the University of Sheffield on Thursday 12th July 2018. Join me at the Networking Fund session for an update on the Research Collaborations for Community Energy Resilience in Low-Income Countries project.
Learn more about the UKERC Whole Systems Network Fund which supports the project here.
Long Seng To speaking at the LCEDN Annual Conference 2018. Photo by Joni Cook.
I was delighted to launch the Research Collaborations for Community Energy Resilience project on 1 June 2018 with two conference sessions at the LCEDN Annual Conference held at Loughborough University, UK called ‘Under the Grid’ and ‘Resilience Concepts for Energy’. I gave a presentation about community energy resilience in Nepal after the 2015 earthquake.
Participants of Practical Challenges of Sustainable Electrification in Africa workshop, Oxford University
I was very pleased to represent my Nature Energy paper on ‘Mapping synergies and trade-offs between energy and the Sustainable Development Goals’ at the Practical Challenges of Sustainable Electrification in Africa workshop at the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment, University of Oxford on 7th June 2018.