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Setu was born in New Delhi, India in 1988, and emigrated with his family to Melbourne, Australia in 1995.
After obtaining his Victorian Certificate of Education (University Entrance Diploma), he began a double degree in Mechanical Engineering and Business Management at RMIT University. Setu maintained a strong interest for renewable energy technologies throughout his studies, and as a result wrote his final year thesis on the "Passive cooling of photovoltaic panels utilising organic phase change materials". After completing his studies in 2010, Setu joined the renewable energy industry, gaining experience as an engineer in the onshore and offshore wind energy sector, first in Australia and later in Europe. Due to his childhood experiences in India, Setu continued to consider the role decentralised energy generation could play in alleviating energy poverty, and enabling socio-economic development for communities in developing countries. Towards the end of 2014, in pursuit of this interest, Setu left his career in the wind industry to consult for RVE.SOL, a start-up building solar mini grids in East Africa. This enabled him to gather practical experience in Kenya and investigate first-hand the challenges of financing and planning decentralised energy generation projects in developing countries. From mid-2015 Setu worked at MicroEnergy International in Berlin, focusing on the topic of Energy Poverty and innovative solutions such as Swarm Electrification through the daughter company ME SOLshare in Bangladesh. It was in this interdisciplinary context that Setu developed his research approach, which thanks to the Reiner Lemoine-Stiftung he currently pursues at Europa-Universität Flensburg.
The inclusion of energy access in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG7) specifically outlines a global commitment to achieve universal access to modern energy services by 2030. However, at the rate of proposed investment in energy sector decarbonisation as stated in the Bridging Strategy, the International Energy Agency estimates that almost one billion people will still be left without access to electricity in 2030 alongside over two billion people who will continue to rely on traditional use of biomass fuels for cooking. Research into energy technologies aimed at solving these challenges; such as renewable electricity systems and improved cookstoves, has and is being conducted. Nevertheless, there is a growing body of empirical evidence showing that technology development alone will not suffice. A sustainable energy transformation requires an enabling environment supported by effective policy decision making and evidence-based planning. The Multi-Tier Tracking Framework (MTF) developed by the World Bank's Energy Sector Management Assistance Program is the latest global energy access measurement method for tackling this challenge. However, the MTF is reliant on in-person questionnaires that do not take full advantage of advances in Information and Communication Technologies prevalent in other development projects. The interdisciplinary research proposed seeks to develop a methodology for the smart measurement of household energy development pathways. This involves adapting and validating methods for continuous energy poverty measurement, modelling and predictive analysis. These methods will leverage Internet of Things sensors and GSM based surveys to provide real-time information that enables insightful analytics. The aim of this research project is improving energy poverty assessment and providing better evidence for energy access policy decision-making on the path toward a global renewable energy transformation.