Camillo Stubenberg is a PhD candidate in the Department of Global Development at Cornell University. Before his PhD Camillo worked in regional development in the tri-border region of Austria, Switzerland and Germany. Camillo’s research examines the social aspects of the rushed transition towards off-grid solar energy in Lebanon. For his dissertation project “Under the Patronage of the Sun? the techno-politics of Lebanon’s solar energy boom” he is conducting 10 month of ethnographic field research in Lebanon. His project explores the question how the rapid shift in energy technologies affects social and political power relations.
Not just in Lebanon, but across the globe the energy technologies and resources have become a focal point of social, political and environmental controversy. Previously slow in the adoption of renewable energy, the dual breakdown of state-grid and backup generators in 2021 led to a scramble for off grid solar systems in Lebanon: In a single year, Lebanon added more solar capacity than it had in the previous 10 years. Scholarship building on STS (Science and Technology Studies) and Energy Geography argues that energy and society are closely intertwined systems. In order to better understand the social and political implications of a rushed energy transition, this research project compares different energy systems in Lebanon: from the ailing state’s grid, to generator subscriptions, solar home systems, mini-grids, to municipal utilities.