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Paul Bertheau

Paul Bertheau


  • RLS-year 2016
  • Dissertation view

CV from Paul Bertheau

Paul Bertheau

Paul Bertheau was born in 1986 in Berlin where he grew up.

After the acquiring of his Abitur, he completed a voluntary ecological year in a conservation centre in Brandenburg where he developed his interest in environmental topics. He then went on to study his Bachelor in landscaping and conservation as well as undertaking zoological research. The prominence of climate change as a global environmental issue further expanded his interest in broader questions of global responsibility and justice. These were the focus of his master's degree in "Global Change Management" where he was able to acquire specialised knowledge in the field of renewable energy. After studying, he also gained important practical experience in the design and application of renewable energy projects in developing countries.
Since compiling his master thesis (2012), in which he examined the global potential for the hybridization of diesel systems with renewable energy solutions, he has addressed the topics of rural electrification and decentralized energy systems from many angles. While working as a research assistant at the RLI on energy access and electrification strategies, he was also involved in the implementation of various projects. In recent years was also able to gather regional experience in many countries including those in South-East Asia.

Short description of the doctoral thesis:

It could be considered a point of global consensus that economic, social and political transformations are needed to facilitate sustainable development. This has been entrenched by the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (2015). The transformation of global energy supply systems, from the use of fossil fuels to renewable sources, is of particular importance (to SDG7). In the industrialized countries, this discussion is conducted at a societal level and supported by scientific studies. In developing and emerging countries such as the Philippines, the imminent transformation process has so far been insufficiently studied and analysed.
The Philippines is undergoing a rapid transformation from a developing country to a newly industrialized economy. However, the upsurge of economic growth is limited only to a few central regions, while the remaining parts of the country lag far behind in terms of living standards, security of supply and economic development opportunities. In addition, the country faces major challenges from the effects of climate change and globalization, sustained social inequality and rapid urbanization. A particularly important task within the Philippine archipelago is to implement a reliable and sustainable power supply on the smaller and remote islands to improve the local living conditions. Currently, supply quality is very poor and mainly based on environmentally damaging and expensive diesel generators. At the same time, there is a great potential for exploiting renewable energy resources, which would allow the sustainable transformation of these diesel-based systems to renewable hybrid systems. However, most investments in the transformation of renewable energy systems in the Philippines have proved unsustainable (even in the short term). Studies suggest that the reasons for the shortcomings are largely due to the complexity of transforming energy systems and not due to a lack of reliability of renewable energy.

The aim of this doctoral program is to shed light on how transformation processes might be designed to enable a successful integration of renewable energy in the Philippine archipelago. Recommendations for action and solutions will therefore be developed which could be transferred to other regions seeking to support the implementation of a sustainable energy supply. An interdisciplinary approach is used to answer the questions arising from different societal systems and to address the relevant actors, as elaboration of working approaches is only possible with the involvement of all interest groups.

The project is divided into three phases. Firstly, a theoretical analysis of the transformation processes and the underlying mechanisms, dynamics and success factors will be conducted. Secondly, the knowledge gained on the successful design of transformation processes will be transferred to the investigation area - i.e. the Philippines. To enable this, country-specific barriers and drivers for the transformation of the energy systems must be identified and the success factors must then be evaluated with the help of an interdisciplinary method set. Thirdly, concrete recommendations for the acceleration of this transformation will be developed for the Philippines as a whole.

The scientific goals of the project are driven by a necessary shift to sustainable energy systems. However further research into the means to this transformation are still required. This is especially true for countries with highly dynamic economic and demographic developments as observed in the Philippines. Developing and understanding the inter-relationship between individual systems and the publication of active recommendations could contribute to a broader social discussion and inspire further research into renewable energy systems in the Philippines.


The role of renewable energy for lowcarbon development on small Philippine islands – a mixed methods approach

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