Exploration and Design of Student-led International Rural Electricity Access Projects (2015-2016)

Worldwide, 1.2 billion people lack access to electricity and the development benefits that it brings, and an additional one billion people have limited electricity access through unreliable electricity grids. Electricity is central to nearly every major developmental challenge and opportunity that the world faces today. Sustainable, accessible electricity for all is essential to strengthening economies, protecting ecosystems and achieving global equity. It influences job quantity and quality, issues of national and international security, climate change, food production and global prosperity.

This project team’s efforts extended the work of the Energy Access Project at Duke, led by Rubenstein Fellow and former Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers. Team members explored the creation of new off-grid electricity access endeavors and partnered with DukeEngage to consider freestanding projects, as well as efforts that could be incorporated into existing DukeEngage project sites, to achieve low-cost, reliable and renewable off-grid electricity solutions for rural – and often poor – populations. The team also considered how DukeEngage’s efforts could reduce greenhouse gas emissions through replacement of carbon-emitting fuels currently in use, in fulfilment of Duke’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2024.

In Summer 2016 two members of this Bass Connections team joined five other students for related DukeEngage independent projects. One project partnered with WindAid, a nonprofit based in Trujillo, Peru, where students helped to build wind turbines for distribution to communities in need of electricity. Afterward, the students moved to Playa Blanca, a small fishing village, where they assessed the impact of the wind turbines while engaging with the community to educate residents on the importance of the turbines. A second project took place in Jakarta, Bandung and Kamanggih, Indonesia, where students partnered with IBEKA to complete an assessment of an electrification project.


Fall 2015 – Spring 2016

Team Outcomes

Bass Connections in Energy: Energy Access Project (poster by Ipchita Bharali, Rebekah Givens, Sreeram Dhurjati, Abhishek Upadhyaya Ghimire, Blair Lanier, Geoff Luke, Harry Masters, Leighanne Oh, Jim Rogers, Tim Profeta)

DCID-RTI Professors and Practitioners Power for All Panel Discussion, Sanford School of Public Policy, October 30, 2015

Tyler Wakefield. 2017. “Electrifying Rural Indonesia: One NGO’s Approach to Community Empowerment.” Energy & Development (Global Energy Access Network Case Studies, Vol. 1). (based on related DukeEngage project)

Aashna Aggarwal, Katherine Guo, Danielle Holt. 2017. “WindAid in Playa Blanca, Peru.” Energy & Development (Global Energy Access Network Case Studies, Vol. 1). (based on related DukeEngage project)


Vamos a la Playa (Katherine Guo on her related DukeEngage project)

Looking Back (Aashna Aggarwal on her related DukeEngage project)

This Team in the News

Duke University Introduces Energy Access Project in D.C.

Former Utility CEO Brings Solar Power to Africa

Bass Connections Students Contribute to Volume on Energy Access in the Developing World

New Duke Project to Address Energy Needs of World’s Poor

Student Team’s Success in Energy Case Competition Is Powered by the Unique Duke Experience

RIPP Summer Fellows to Build upon Previous DukeEngage Experience

Indonesia 2016: Empowering Communities with IBEKA

Join Duke Students in Supporting Energy Access Projects in Peru

Power for All: Energy Access for the Rural Poor

Team Leaders

  • Irina Adams, DukeEngage
  • Timothy Profeta, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
  • James Rogers, Sanford School of Public Policy
  • Erika Weinthal, Nicholas School of the Environment-Environmental Sciences and Policy

/graduate Team Members

  • Ipchita Bharali, MIDP 2 Year Masters
  • Sreeram Dhurjati, Master of Engineering Mgmt-MEG
  • Rebekah Givens, Master of Environmental Management, Environmental Economics/Policy, International Development Pol
  • Blair Lanier, Business Administration-MBA, Masters of Public Policy
  • Geoffrey Luke, Master of Environmental Management, Energy and Environment
  • Harry Masters, Master of Environmental Management, Energy and Environment
  • Leighanne Oh, Biomedical Engineering-MS

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Abhishek Upadhyaya Ghimire, Electrical & Computer Egr(BSE)