Collective residences


From Monday, 5 March 2018 to Sunday, 18 March 2018

Assistant Professor
The Hague (The Netherlands)


Paul Behrens is an Assistant Professor in Energy and Environmental Change at Leiden University in the Netherlands. He explores the ways in which human societies can flourish within environmental constraints, with a focus on energy, food, and water. Paul has recently looked at the environmental and impacts of renewable energy subsidies, the energy system under climate change, and the environmental impacts of diets. He is currently working on evaluating the impact of European Union energy policies, investigating the developments in the Chinese energy system, and exploring the international interactions between energy, food, and water.

Paul is passionate about science outreach and his research has appeared in newspapers such as The New York Times, The Independent, Newsweek, and The LA Times. He has been interviewed for the BBC, Scientific American, and National Public Radio (NPR, United States).


Renewable energies are the future. Along with other technological improvements, and social solutions, they will provide a key solution to many of the environmental issues we face. However, they need far more space than existing fossil fuel technologies due to the amount of renewable energy available. This will have implications for the way in which we use land, and land-use competition. At the Faber residency I will work on using large-scale environmental and economic models to investigate the influence of the energy transition on land use.

Transitions in Olot

I applied to the Faber residency to continue work on how much land will be needed during the energy transition – since renewables tend to require more land than conventional fossil fuels. However, my experience was so much richer than this sounds! It was wonderful to meet the other researchers, who had come from all over the globe to work on issues about energy. We shared movies, presentations, inventions, and beers! We chatted for ages about, among other things, the huge changes in the environment, the way societies interact, how we can use art to highlight energy use, and how design can improve energy and material uses. 

Visiting local businesses which were taking the energy transition so seriously was a true inspiration. Their enthusiasm coupled with their success shows that there is no need to choose between the environment and profits. It showed that there is a lot of activity in Olot and surrounding regions. Delivering a class to local school children was a true pleasure, the were so engaged, and so quick to understand the issues. It was great to see the interesting classes on energy they were taking.

Olot, and the hotel Riu Fluvià, is a wonderful place to stay, the people are amazingly friendly, the hotel fantastic, and the friendships made between the residents were deep. I have been telling everyone at work about the residency and how beautiful the town and surroundings are. It was a superb experience made easy, enjoyable, and rewarding by the Faber team, thank you very much!

Notícies, articles i activitats

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