Moderator: Ellen Morris
Director of the International Energy Management and Policy track and the Sustainable Energy Policy track at the School of International and Public Affairs
Ellen Morris is the President and Founder of Sustainable Energy Solutions a professional services company that promotes the increased use and deployment of clean energy technologies and services as a means to support economic development and reduce poverty in developing countries. The focus is on energy access and links to development; end-user finance for modern energy; gender and energy; productive uses for energy to support economic development; and enabling environments for project development and investment in clean energy. Ellen is also the Director of the academic programs on International Energy Management and Policy and Sustainable Energy Policy at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, where she teaches and advises graduate students. In 2008, she founded and directed an organization called Arc Finance, where she led the development and launch of the field programs and operations to promote and expand access to end-user finance for modern energy. Since 1996, Dr. Morris has been a senior consultant for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on sustainable energy, where her work focuses on technical and programmatic support for countries seeking to advance energy as a means to reduce poverty. She has previously worked for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the Washington, DC office. Ellen is a member of numerous organizations including the Board of Directors of Empowered by Light, an organization focused on lighting solutions for schools in Zambia; the Board of Directors of Arc Finance; the United Nations Foundation Energy Access Practitioner Network, United Nations Development Programme’s External Advisory Group; the Advisory Board of Earthspark International, a solar non-profit organization operating in Haiti; and the Advisory Board of Simpa Networks, a social enterprise developing consumer financing options for clean energy. Ellen has a Ph.D. in Geological Oceanography and began her career working as an Exploration Geophysicist in the oil and gas sector.
Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University
Prof. Vijay Modi is leading the Earth Institute’s efforts that cut across energy, rural infrastructure and development. He led the UN Millennium Project (MP) effort on the role of energy and energy services in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s). Currently, he is focused on three projects: leading the infrastructure team for the Millennium Villages Project (10 countries, 14 sites across sub-Saharan Africa); developing planning and decision-support tools for infrastructure; and looking at the food-energy-water nexus in Indian agriculture.
Modi’s areas of expertise are energy sources and conversion, heat/mass transfer and fluid mechanics. In addition to the projects above, he leads projects in: energy technologies for sustainable development; energy infrastructure, design & planning; solar energy; energy, food & water nexus; technology & intervention; adoption, diffusion and impact assessment. His primary geographic regions are India and Africa. Modi also works on projects in water (with fellow Earth Institute Faculty Member, Professor Upmanu Lall), urban infrastructure and energy consumption (through the IGERT program led by Professor Trish Culligan), optics of concentrated solar energy, and software systems for m-Health with lab colleague Matt Berg. He has authored or co-authored numerous journal papers, and served as the principal or co-principal of a number of research grants from government and industry.
Stephen Gitonga has worked for 20 years in the area of energy, environment and development. He is currently a Policy Advisor on Energy with the Sustainable Energy Programme of United Nations Development Programme in New York and is currently responsible for coordinating UNDP’s contribution to the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4All). Prior to joining the SustainableEnergy Programme, he oversaw the global Climate Change activities of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme implemented by UNDP as a Programme Specialist. He also spent ten years with two international development organizations (Intermediate Technology Development Group (renamed Practical Action) with offices in the UK, Asia, Latin America, and Africa) and The Bellerive Foundation as an Energy Programme Manager and a Domestic Energy specialist respectively. Stephen has written over 42 thematic publications on the topic of energy, environment and development.
Photo by Alex Abian
Wednesday April 25,
1:00pm - 6:00pm
Low Memorial Library
435 West 116th Street, New York, NY 10027
Wednesday April 25, 1:00pm - 6:00pm
Columbia University Low Memorial Library
435 West 116th Street, New York, NY 10027