Contact: Bob Nelson For immediate release

(212) 854-6580 March 2, 1999

Note to editors: Working reporters, including freelancers, may

attend the conference without charge. Untranscribed audiotapes

will be available on March 22. A conference program follows.

Providing Electricity Outside the Power Grid

Is Focus At Columbia Symposium March 15-17

Solar, Wind, Fuel Cells Are Alternatives In Developing Countries


How will a local development official know whether solar cells, a windmill or fuel cells can generate enough electricity to replace the unreliable kerosene generator that has served a rural village for decades? Soon, he or she will be able to plug local energy requirements, number of sunny days a year and local wind patterns and other data into a computer program named Homer and find out.

This and other developments will be discussed at a „Symposium on Decentralized Energy Alternatives,š March 15-17 at the Columbia Graduate School of Business at Columbia University. The symposium is sponsored by Columbia business school‚s Sustaina ble Development Initiative, the Earth Engineering Center, a component of the Columbia Earth Institute, and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Registration is at 8 A.M. in the lobby of Uris Hall on the Morningside Heights campus , 116th and Broadway.

„We‚ve located some of the top companies and individuals involved in decentralized energy and asked them to bring in the most recent technical developments, emphasizing things that haven‚t even been published yet,š said Eugenie Bietry, director of the Sustainable Development Initiative.

Providing energy services, particularly electricity, to populations in

dispersed rural areas remains one of the great challenges facing developing countries. In areas where there is no well-developed electrical system, creating one can be beset with difficulties: large capital requirements, lack of service infrastructur e and long construction periods. Even where there is an established grid, it is often unreliable and may provide power for only a few hours each day.

As a result, governments are implementing decentralized energy technologies, which use renewable, locally available resources and are environmentally sound. Much of the market for solar photovoltaic panels, for example, lies in the developing worl d. Other relevant technologies include electricity generated from wind and bio-mass resources and fuel cells.

This program includes a series of presentations and panel discussions by experts on a variety of issues including recent developments in decentralized energy technologies and services; regional and global socioeconomic issues as they apply to the u se of decentralized energy sources; and barriers facing wider use of energy-efficient, renewable technologies.

Support for the symposium has been provided by ASE Americas Inc., BP Amoco, Ballard Generation Systems, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, Uncommon Sense, a nongovernmental organization based in New York City, and the United Nations.

The Sustainable Development Initiative at the Columbia Graduate School of Business works to raise the level of awareness of students and staff on issues of sustainability by encouraging research and providing information for curriculum development. It offers workshops, lectures and programs on topics related to sustainable development for a variety of audiences.

The Earth Engineering Center is the engineering component of the Columbia Earth Institute. Its objective is to direct engineering research toward industrial ecology, the reconfiguring of industrial activities with full understanding of their envir onmental consequences.

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs seeks to contribute to sustainable development by undertaking statistical and analytical work, such as integrating environmental accounting into national economic statistics; by supportin g the deliberative and normative work of United Nations intergovernmental bodies; and by providing development advisory services and

managing technical cooperation projects at the request of developing countries. Registration fees are $250 for corporate affiliates and $125 for non-profits, non-governmental organizations and academic affiliates. The fee includes three continental breakfasts and three lunches. Papers presented at the symposium will be issued in a joint publication by Columbia University and the United Nations. A series of follow-up workshops on related topics is envisioned.

For further information, please contact Isaac Nesser, Sustainable Development Initiative, Columbia Graduate School of Business, (212) 854-3489, fax (212) 316-1473, or If you provide a fax number, a registration packet will be fa xed to you. A website devoted to the symposium is at

This document is available at Working press may receive science and technology press releases via e-mail by sending a message to

3.2.99 19,485


March 15-17,1999

Conference Program


Monday, March 15

8:00 a.m. Registration and continental breakfast

8:45-9 a.m. Welcoming comments


9 - 10:30 a.m. Advantages and Challenges for Decentralized Energy

Russell de Lucia, President, de Lucia & Associates

Vinod Mubayi, Technical Advisor, Brookhaven National Laboratory

11 - 12:30 a.m. Renewable Energy and the Environment with Perspectives

On the Clean Development Mechanism

Christopher Flavin, Senior Vice President, Worldwatch Institute

Joel Gordes, President, Environmental Energy Solutions

12:30- 2 p.m. LUNCH

Charles F. Gay, president, ASE Americas Inc. and the Greenstar Solar Health Center


2 - 3:30 p.m. Advances in Decentralized Energy Technologies

Developments in Solar and Wind: Roger Taylor, National Renewable Energy Laboratories, U.S. Department of Energy

Fuel Cell Power Generation and Its Fit With the Emerging Sustainable Development Model: Jorge Barrigh, Ballard Generation Systems, and Ashok Gupta, Natural Resources Defense Council

4 - 6 p.m. Applications and Economics

Designing Technological Applications to Meet Development Needs:

Morris Miller, Adjunct Professor, University of Ottawa, former Executive Director of the World Bank, and Deputy Secretary General, 1981 UN Conference on New and Renewable Energy, Nairobi

Economics of Decentralized Energy: Shimon Awerbuch, Independent Consultant

International Presentation: V. Bakthavatsalam, Managing Director, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency

Tuesday, March 16


9 - 10:30 a.m. Fostering Business, Commerce, Technological Partnerships

Entrepreneurship and Market Development: Bruce McCrodden, Senior Vice President, BP Amoco

Financing and Market Development: Matthew Mendis, President, Alternate Energy Development Inc. (formerly World Bank and consultant to the U.N.)

11 - 12:30 p.m. Mainstreaming Decentralized Energy: Policies and Initiatives

Karl Jechoutek, Division Chief, World Bank

Mike Niklas, Innovative Design; former president, International Solar Energy Society (ISES)



2 - 3:30 p.m. Energy Efficiency

Reducing Energy Intensity through Energy and Materials Efficiency

Griffen M. Thompson, Director of Global Climate Change and Developing Country Programs, International Institute of Energy Conservation

European Energy Efficiency 2000

Ronald W. Bowes, Chairman of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe‚s Energy Efficiency Program

4 - 6 p.m. Presentations by International Participants

Zhou Fengqi, Director General, Energy Research Institute, State Development and Planning Commission, China

Manuel Martinez, Director Centro de Investigacion de Mexico, Universitad Nacional Autonomia de Mexico

Khalilou Sall, ORGARTEC, Dakar, Senegal

Ragy Farid, Technical Sector Director, New and Renewable Energy Authority, Egypt

Wednesday, March 17

9 - 11 a.m. International Presentations

Lu Weide, Director, Solar Division, China Rural Energy Development Agency

S.P. Gon Choudhary, Director, West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency

Oyuko Mbeche, Transportation Energy Planner, Nairobi, Kenya

Mohammad Berdai, Advisor to the Director of Energy, Ministry of Energy and Mines, Rabat, Morocco

11:30 - 1:30 Panel Discussions

Technology Transfer and Joint Ventures; South-South Cooperation; Conclusions;

Closing Remarks


This program is tentative and subject to change.

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