Dr Rebecca Ford is a transdisciplinary scholar whose research focuses on energy and the emerging technologies that facilitate transition to a more sustainable future. She is the Deputy Director and a Senior Research Fellow of the Centre for Sustainability at the University of Otago, and an Honorary Research Associate at Victoria University of Wellington.
Rebecca leads the University of Otago’s research in the GREEN Grid project, which explores how consumer demand for electricity is changing, and the impact that this may have on the grid. In particular, the team is investigating the increasing consumer demand for rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV), electric vehicles (EVs), and more active home energy management technologies. They are also exploring how households consume energy at home, the activities that drive demand, and the potential opportunities for demand side management and demand response.
Rebecca co-led the Lighting Vanuatu project with Dr Sara Walton. Together they investigated the transition from kerosene to solar lamps in Vanuatu, exploring the various factors that came together to enable this rapid transition, the role of the NGOs in facilitating the transition, and the shift in household energy culture that emerged.
Rebecca also co-led the Transport Transition workstream of the Energy Cultures project. This workstream focused on early adopters of new transportation technologies in New Zealand and evaluated the characteristics that marked this transition space.
Rebecca hopes that the findings from these projects will be of use to policy makers, technology developers, industry, businesses and communities involved in energy transitions, to help them understand the opportunities available as well as the potential impacts on infrastructure, energy culture, and climate.
In her spare time Rebecca enjoys going for a run along the beach, getting out into the New Zealand countryside, and spending time with her family and friends.