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How Liberia will get its groove back. Writing the story of electrification through Agent Based Modeling and Role Playing

Event Type
Jose Alfaro
School of Natural Resources and Environment
March 21, 20113:00pm - 4:00pm
room 1046 Dana Building

Abstract: There is no Millennium Development Goal on electrification yet all of the UN development goals are dependent on the supply of clean energy and fuel in developing countries. These countries are all different but their energy sectors share unique characteristics that allow us to model their possible paths towards electrification.

This presentation introduces an Agent Based Model designed to engage policy makers and researchers while creating possible scenarios for the electrification process of least developed countries. In doing this the model does not predict the future but allows the interested parties to analyze the way in which they will write the story and the role they will play in it. The result is a methodology for policy makers to explore the consequences of their decisions before enacting them, a tool that increases accountability and draws light on the different faces of energy poverty. In this talk you will see the model applied to the case of Liberia, West Africa., and how it's people can build their energy sector from scratch.


Bio: Jose Alfaro is a native of the "almost developed" country of Costa Rica. He obtained his B.S. at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in Chemical Engineering.  For more than 12 years he has been involved in community development programs around the world in places like Guatemala, Mexico, Costa Rica, Zimbabwe and Liberia. After his time in Tennessee he worked for Mitsubishi Plastics with global responsibilities on research and development projects. He decided to go back to school to focus his research on his passions for the environment and the countries at the bottom of the pyramid. After a Masters in Environmental Engineering at Clemson University he came to Ann Arbor as a NSF Graduate Student Fellow to work on his PhD in the Center for Sustainable Systems under Shelie Miller.