Tag: Energy

How Power Shutoffs Cause Economic Damage

How Power Shutoffs Cause Economic Damage

How Power Shutoffs Cause Economic Damage


“How do power shutoffs cause economic damage?”


Power shutoffs are common in the developing world and are becoming frequently more common in the industrialized one due to climate change. When these do occur, all modern society of operations ground to a halt. Food goes rotten from lack of refrigeration,  shops and workplaces have to close due to a lack of power access, and even interdependent infrastructures such as transportation and water can go down. All of these combined lead to great economic damage through lost commodities and working hours. This is How Power Shutoffs Cause Economic Damage.

Elad Orian, Co-founder of Comet-ME

Elad Orian, Co-founder of Comet-ME

Elad Orian, Co-founder of Comet-ME

We here at Isaac’s Science Blog are pleased to be hosting our sixth professional interview, this time with Elad Orian! Elad is the co-founder of Comet-ME, an Israeli-Palestinian organization providing renewable energy and clean water services to off-grid communities in some of the most marginalized parts of the Palestinian Territories using environmentally and socially sustainable methods.

1. Tell us about yourself and your educational/professional background.

I studied physics and later environmental science/policy. I’ve been doing my current work for 10 years now.

2. What inspired you to work in energy?

I’m a political activist along with my partner (Noam Dotan). We started thinking about something more proactive and using our abilities and know-how and energy was a very natural conclusion

3. Why did you help found Comet-ME

We actually started doing this type of work before we officially established Comet. It just so happened that these activities were relatively successful and grew really fast to the point that we needed an organization/framework that can handle this. As a result, Comet-ME was born.

4. Tell us about some of the challenges that of the Palestinian residents that you worked with.

We work with Palestinian communities in Area C of the West Bank. In the Oslo accords the West Bank was divided into three areas (A under control of the Palestinian Authority, B under Palestinian civil control and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control, and C, which happens to be the majority of West Bank under control of the Israeli government). We work in an area where the Palestinian Authority cannot provide electricity/water to communities. There are communities in A/B that have no electricity but we made a strategic decision to not replace the position Palestinian Authority.

5. What does the life-cycle of an average project look like?

One of the first things we do is to build trust with the community. We know what we do and why we do it, but the people we work with need proof. It is important that we go into a community when we know that we have the funding. We are lucky to have so many long-term donors trust us so when we start a project/budget cycle we don’t know where we are going to work because we need to do a survey of the community, conditions of each place, and then we do a detailed design of system and then we will purchase all the equipment that is required. There are some long-lead items so we do work in houses of the villagers and then once we have everything we install it. Once the installation is finished the hard work is started when service is provided. Because Comet is about providing service and we make sure service is running for a long period of time. In this way, we are like a utility. Every system brings service.

6. What technology does Comet-ME use to help communities establish energy independence?

We always use solar systems. Sometimes wind/diesel hybrids. Our systems can be designed to work from 1 family up to 40/50 families.

7. Tell us about your water program

After a few years of working exclusively with electricity, we decided that we had the organizational capacity to do something else. This is a very different program since many of them already have water, just not enough. Our system is a pump attached to a filter to obtain clean water, it’s a simple single-family system that collects rainwater and pumps it. We developed a system that pumps and filters rainwater using electricity when the batteries are full. There is also a stewardship component where water quality is sampled from all the users on a regular sample schedule to make sure systems are doing what they are meant to do.

8. Is Comet-ME looking at the Water-Energy Nexus and if so how is it?

Very much. Our water systems are dependent on our electricity systems for operation.

9. Have you received any interest from universities on the work that you do?

We have some collaborations with some universities. We also have a few students that have written master’s degrees with us. We don’t do much advertisement so we’re not really a household name.

10. Is Comet-ME looking at how to deal with climate change resilience?

Although we don’t title it, our work is directly tied with climate resilience due to providing an independent source of energy

11. How do you see your organization fit into a long-term Israeli-Palestinian peace partnership?

If there is a peace agreement signed and the West Bank becomes a Palestinian state then we would gladly hand over systems to a Palestinian organization to handle it. I don’t think it would be a problem.

12. Do you think that the Comet-ME model has any application outside of the Palestinian territories?

There are many components that certainly are and some that are idiosyncratic to conditions/politics of the West Bank.

13. What can someone do to help out with your organization?

One can always donate money, also if you’re technically inclined and interested in such issues we do have volunteers from time to time. Feel free to reach out and join us!


So there you have it! Elad, we are very grateful for giving us your time to talk about this very important work. Your organization’s work is a textbook example of how people can apply their scientific knowledge to make the world a better place.


If you would like to connect with Elad and Come-ME, you can find their website here and their facebook page here.


Image credit DW.com

Climate Action Plans

Climate Action Plans

Climate Action Plans


“How can governments design roadmaps to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions?”


Climate change is going to affect every part of human society, whether it be how transportation infrastructure will buckle under extreme heat or how strengthened floods will harm coastal power generation. To help make sure climate conditions will not become too exacerbated, governments are looking to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of their communities. Central to this will involve creating plans and frameworks to organize all actors of their institutions to reduce their carbon footprint. The prescribed actions can vary, from designing new energy efficiency programs for buildings to replacing carbon emitting power plants with solar and wind. These Climate Action Plans will be vital to ensuring that humanity has a safe and sustainable future ahead of it.

Examples of Inequitable Heat Resilience

Examples of Inequitable Heat Resilience

Examples of Inequitable Heat Resilience


“What are examples of inequitable heat resilience?”


The rising global temperatures are putting heat resilience more and more into focus. However, if not properly implemented, there could be grave consequences for the world. There are many potential illustrations of this. If an urban area decides to plant trees in an upper-income area using species that require high volumes of water, then it might drain it off from the river banks of poorer communities. If upper-income communities install large amounts of energy-intensive HVAC systems in a power-starved region such as Lebanon or India, then it could siphon off electricity from the rest of the grid and cause brownouts in surrounding areas, making the response to heatwaves only worse. And if housing in temperate coastal or mountain areas becomes too expensive, lower-income people will be pushed into hotter areas that could prove deadly in a heat-wave, as being seen in California right now. These are just a few out of many Examples of Inequitable Heat Resilience.


Image credit blogs.ei.columbia.edu

Why Slow-Charging Electric Vehicle Stations Are a Good Assets for Residential Buildings

Why Slow-Charging Electric Vehicle Stations Are a Good Assets for Residential Buildings

Why Slow-Charging Electric Vehicle Stations Are Good Assets for Residential Buildings


“Why should communities consider placing slow-chargers in residential communities?”


Municipal governments are on the forefront of electric vehicle charger buildout. Part of this will be determining how to economically and logistically implement them. One strategy can be to consider placing slow-chargers in residential areas since they are more affordable and EVs are meant to be parked there for a long time. This is Why Slow-Charging Electric Vehicle Stations Are Good Assets for Residential Buildings.


Image credit d32r1sh890xpii.cloudfront.net

How Energy Efficiency Appliances Can Be Less Accessible to Lower Income Communities

How Energy Efficiency Appliances Can Be Less Accessible to Lower Income Communities

How Energy Efficiency Appliances Can Be Less Accessible to Lower Income Communities


“Why is it that the most advanced energy-efficient appliances are not always available in lower-income communities?”

Who doesn’t love the latest energy efficient appliances. Not only do they help save the planet, but they also look quite attractive. However, because of their higher upfront cost and complicated supply-chain logistics favoring wealthier areas, these new devices are often not available in lower-income areas at the same frequency. This discrepancy causes such communities to be stuck with higher energy bills and have greater difficulty recovering from a blackout. All of this as a result of How Energy Efficiency Appliances Can Be Less Accessible to Lower Income Communities.

Rural Electrification

Rural Electrification

Rural Electrification


“How can we bring electricity to rural households?”

Much of the developing world still has no access to electricity. More than 15% of people in India and 87.5% of rural sub-Saharan Africans are unable to enjoy the right to modern infrastructure. This can be solved with Rural Electrification, which entails expanding the grid or distributed energy resources to marginalized communities.