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  • Department of Global Development
  • Energy
  • Global Development

In the summer of 2021, a convergence of political, financial, and infrastructural crises in Lebanon led to severe fuel shortages. Without the diesel necessary to run both the state’s power plants and private backup generators, the country was quite literally plunged into darkness. As a result, households, communities and businesses were left scrambling to access off-grid and renewable energy systems.

With funding from the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, Ph.D. student Camillo Stubenberg will conduct field research examining the rushed adoption of off-grid and renewable energy technologies after the interlocking political and financial crisis led to a total breakdown of the country’s electricity sector.

The challenge:

His project "Energy Transition as Last Resort: The Adoption of Decentralized Renewable Energy Technologies in the Wake of State Absence and Fossil Fuel Shortages in Lebanon" aims to answer three related questions.

  • How does an energy transition take place in the “absence” of fossil fuels and state regulation?
  • How do emerging green energy startups alter electric connections and reconfigure existing political and social patterns?
  • How does connection to decentralized and renewable infrastructure affect end-users’ energy behavior and political outlook?

By shedding light on the ongoing dynamics in Lebanon, this research provides insights both for the design of renewable energy systems as well as policies aimed at fostering energy transitions across the globe.



  • Cornell Atkinson’s Small Grants Program for Accelerating Energy Transitions. Cornell Atkinson’s Small Grants Program is supported with generous gifts from Bruce H. Bailey ’74; Dan ’47 and Pat Cornwell; Laurie Paravati Phillips ’78 and Duane Phillips ’78; and other Cornell Atkinson donors.

Ph.D. feature

Camillo Stubenberg's research examines the adoption of decentralized electricity technologies in Lebanon, focusing on the interplay of governance and infrastructural change. 

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Camillo Stubenberg

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