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Issue 1 - January 2007 What are realistic options for alternative energy?

The first issue of the IDEAS journal has four abstracts of full papers by Fletcher 2006 graduates and another student on alternative energy. Many thanks to Professor Harris and his Sustainable Development: A View from the South (DHP P259) class for providing these thought-provoking papers.

Biomass: An Appropriate Renewable Energy by K. Celeste Chudyk


  • What lessons can be learned from the record of biomass energy development in India and elsewhere?

  • Are current biomass and biogas production techniques generally replicable elsewhere in the developing world?

  • What are the incentives for technology transfer?

  • Can biomass energy programs depend mainly on agricultural wastes or will they compete with the food supply?

  • What incentives are there for nations to emphasize biomass development?

  • Can additional incentives be provided under the Kyoto Protocol?

The Kyoto Protocol and Sustainable Energy Development in the Republic of Korea by Seimin Kuan (Fletcher MALD 2006)
Seimin Kuan is currently working for Accenture consulting on projects for Russian, Nigerian, and Korean energy companies.


  • What role should newly industrialized countries such as Korea play in the Kyoto Protocol process?

  • What problems and opportunities are associated with their special status?

  • What is the economic basis for subsidies to nuclear power?

  • Would fully internalizing economic externalities make nuclear power uneconomic?

  • What kinds of price-related and quantity-related policy measures can be effective in promoting renewable energy?

  • How would the implementation of such policies be different under a regulated versus deregulated power regime?

  • What would be the incentive for private industries to participate in schemes using tradable renewable energy certificates?


Sustainable Development and Solar Water Heating Systems by Sam Milton (Fletcher MALD 2006)
Sam Milton is currently the Project Coordinator for the Energy Technology Innovation Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

View full paper here 


  • What are the economic incentives that affect the decision by a household or business to install solar water heating?

  • What is the potential for solar water heating to become widely accessible in low-income developing areas?

  • What role should governments and international development agencies play in promoting distributed-energy systems including SWH?

  • How can the benefits of SWH, including local pollution reduction and global carbon reduction, be assessed and “internalized” into the market?


Rice Husk Power in Thailand with Japanese Investment by Shotaro Sasaki (Fletcher MALD 2006)
Shotaro Sasaki is currently working for the Asian Development Bank as an Energy Specialist.

View full paper here 


  • What are the economic incentives for adoption of renewable energy sources including biomass?

  • What economic factors impede adoption of renewables?

  • What government policies can promote renewables?

  • Are government subsidies justified? Will new renewables displace fossil fuels, or simply add to fossil fuel capacity?