Col­lege to an­nounce ru­ral en­ergy project on April 17

Kent County News - - NEWS -

CH­ESTER­TOWN — Wash­ing­ton Col­lege’s Cen­ter for En­vi­ron­ment and So­ci­ety will an­nounce a new project aimed to en­sure that en­ergy in ru­ral ar­eas is clean, re­silient and demo­cratic. Grant Samms, an en­vi­ron­men­tal so­ci­ol­o­gist who stud­ies is­sues of ru­ral en­ergy re­silience and con­ser­va­tion at CES, will give a pre­sen­ta­tion on the Ru­ral En­ergy Project at 6:30 p.m. Tues­day in Litrenta Lec­ture Hall, Toll Science Cen­ter. The pub­lic is wel­come to at­tend. The Ru­ral En­ergy Project is ded­i­cated to help­ing smaller, ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties take ad­van­tage of a new, clean-en­ergy world. Through sto­ries and case stud­ies, Samms’ pre­sen­ta­tion will ex­plore the fac­tors that un­der­pin how we feel about clean en­ergy de­vel­op­ment close to home. “We en­vi­sion ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties that are pow­ered through re­new­able and lo­cal meth­ods can con­tinue to thrive de­spite the con­se­quences of a chang­ing cli­mate, and have a voice over the en­ergy de­vel­op­ment that hap­pens nearby,” said Samms, co­or­di­na­tor of the Ru­ral En­ergy Project, in a news re­lease. “Through the ap­pli­ca­tion of re­search and les­sons learned from all over the world, the Ru­ral En­ergy Project can help com­mu­ni­ties in Mary­land tran­si­tion to a new en­ergy fu­ture.” The project in­tends to ac­com­plish this in three ways, the re­lease states. First, by help­ing ru­ral gov­ern­ments an­a­lyze how much en­ergy their mu­nic­i­pal op­er­a­tions use, the project can help them find tools and re­sources to lower their en­ergy costs and cut car­bon emis­sions. Sec­ond, CES is work­ing with an al­liance of en­ergy non­prof­its to de­velop a new method of iden­ti­fy­ing com­mu­ni­ties that are es­pe­cially vul­ner­a­ble to elec­tric­ity black­outs and dis­rup­tions. With this method, ru­ral gov­ern­ments can work to in­stall emer­gency mi­cro­grids to en­sure crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture like med­i­cal and emer­gency re­sponse ser­vices can still op­er­ate in ex­treme dis­as­ters, like that re­cently seen in Puerto Rico. And third, the project will use the tools of so­cial science to re­search how to best ap­proach clean en­ergy de­vel­op­ment. When en­ergy de­vel­op­ers try to make changes in a com­mu­nity they don’t fully un­der­stand, they of­ten en­counter re­sis­tance that wastes time and re­sources for ev­ery­one. The Ru­ral En­ergy Project’s re­search will help de­vel­op­ers take a bet­ter ap­proach to­ward de­vel­op­ment that gives stake­hold­ers in com­mu­ni­ties more say over lo­cal de­vel­op­ment. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.wash coll.edu/cen­ters/ces.’

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