Energy Diversity: Options and Stakeholders

  • Michael GochfeldEmail author


Energy, climate, food, and economic development are intertwined at regional, national, and global levels. There are large international disparities in the availability of, and demand for, energy which will be exacerbated in the near future as world population increases and per capita demand grows. The traditional energy chains from fossil fuels to electricity, heat, and transportation are being diversified by increased reliance on renewable energy sources, as well as new technologies in varying stages of development. As fossil fuel reserves dwindle, thereby becoming more costly, and carbon and climate considerations grow, diversification to low carbon renewables becomes more attractive and cost-effective. Layers of stakeholders include owner–investors, workers, consumers, and regulators, each with different stakes in different energy chains. Issues of economic, ecologic and aesthetic consequences, footprint, emissions, and costs challenge stakeholders to agree on energy options. Often overlooked in stakeholder discussions, investors play a powerful role in the invention, design, demonstration, and implementation of new technologies. Often undervalued, workers facing health and safety hazards are stakeholders influencing the design, construction, and operation of energy chains. As energy dispersion (rather than large centralized power plants) becomes more popular or necessary, siting issues will confront larger numbers of neighbor stakeholders. Certain groups like the United Nations and the U.S. Department of Energy are positioned to facilitate stakeholder input on the international and national scale, achieving a diversity of energy chains.


Switch Grass United Nations Environmental Program National Renewable Energy Laboratory Spend Nuclear Fuel Nuclear Facility 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I have benefited greatly from the discussions with colleagues in the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute and the Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation (CRESP), particularly Joanna Burger, David Kosson, Paul Lioy, Chuck Powers, and Michael Greenberg. Part of this synthesis was funded by the Department of Energy through a grant to CRESP (DE-FC01-06EW07053) and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences grant (P30ES005022). I very much appreciate Joanna Burger’s patience, advice, and encouragement.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental and Occupational MedicineEOHSI, Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation (CRESP), and UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical SchoolPiscatawayUSA

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