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Senior Policy Associate, Energy Access Project, Duke University

Rob Fetter is an economist with expertise in energy, environment, and economic development. He works as a Senior Policy Associate at the Energy Access Project at Duke University (EAP@Duke), a program of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. He works on a wide range of issues related to energy access and energy transitions in low- and middle-income countries. Current projects include an analysis of conditions that contribute to the productive use of power; a project to identify the effects of unreliable electricity on household cooking decisions in India, and resulting health impacts for women and children; and an analysis of the potential for solar-powered irrigation to enhance household and community resilience in Ethiopian agricultural communities facing climate change. He also works with experts in machine learning to create novel tools for automated analysis of satellite and aerial imagery to enhance the effectiveness of energy access investments.

Dr. Fetter is currently leading a team of consultants to develop a comprehensive global assessment of electrification in healthcare facilities, including compiling available data on health facilities' access to reliable, high-quality electricity. The assessment will also analyze supportive policy frameworks, effective business models, and pros and cons of different solutions, both grid-based and off-grid electrification technologies.

Dr. Fetter joined the Nicholas Institute after completing his Ph.D. in environmental policy at Duke. His dissertation focused on global energy consumption patterns and energy transitions, as well as on environmental regulation and social learning in hydraulic fracturing. Prior to his doctoral studies, he worked in environmental policy consulting for more than a decade. He also co-founded a social enterprise company that created an independent, stakeholder-based certification standard for responsibly produced energy, and co-led the strategic engagement of NGOs, indigenous communities, and other stakeholders.


  • –present
    Senior Policy Associate, Energy Access Project , Duke University