Matthew Herington
Matthew Herington
8 October 2015

A University of Queensland PhD student who is investigating sustainable energy solutions for developing communities has secured a prestigious fellowship from the American Australian Association.

Matthew Herington from UQ’s Energy Initiative will collaborate with researchers at Washington University in St Louis (WUSTL) to look at ways of overcoming energy poverty.

Mr Herington said 1.1 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity and a further 2.9 billion people continue to use traditional fuels for light, and heating and cooking such as wood, animal dung, coal and crop residue.

“Using these traditional means to attain the most basic of human needs results in a number of significant problems – contributing to four million premature deaths each year, lifelong disabilities, deforestation, gender inequality and income poverty,” he said.

“Furthermore, time spent gathering wood for fuel means less time is available for more productive activities such as education or income generation, particularly for women who typically carry this burden.

“The benefits of achieving universal access to the energy services that sustain modern life are broad and transformational.”

Mr Herington said despite global efforts, progress to provide communities in developing countries with modern energy services has been slow, with many projects failing to deliver sustained and meaningful outcomes.

“Reasons for such failures are often investigated, with projects and initiatives reviewed to ask why these have seemingly failed, but very few explore the motivations and the behaviours of individuals who succeed in making a sustainable shift in their energy choices,” he said.

Media: Madelene Flanagan, or +61 7 3365 8525