Dr Chapman Receives PhD For Energy Research

April 22, 2014

Dr. David Chapman – who recently earned his PhD through the Royal Holloway University of London following research on renewable energy and its role in sustainable development in small island states —  is continuing to share the results of his studies in order to help to positively focus the current developmental trajectory of Bermuda and other similar nations and territories.

Dr. Chapman began his PhD thesis in 2008 with the title of The role of renewable energy towards sustainable development in Small Island States: A Bermuda case study, focusing his attention on Bermuda and its place in the global push towards the use of renewable energy resources, finding that small island states are at an increased risk of facing sustainable development challenges regarding energy sustainability in comparison with larger continental urban areas.

His research included conducting more than 50 interviews with local residents, small and large businesses, the utility, and both government and non-government organizations, compiling and studying more than 150 questionnaire surveys, and quantitatively analyzing environmental data on local solar irradiation, wind, wave, and biomass resources.

According to Dr. Chapman, “Small Island States, particularly Small Island Developing States, are seen as particularly vulnerable in regards to development and sustainable development as it is seen internationally and historically as a strategy to address these vulnerabilities.

“In regards to issues relating to energy sustainability, renewable energy integration has been recommended as a sustainable development strategy towards achieving greater energy security for Small Island States, especially Small Island Developing States [SIDS], but also for more developed states like Bermuda.”

Dr. Chapman receives the Commonwealth Scholarship in 2009 with Professor Tim Unwin, Chair of the UK Commonwealth Commission:

David Chapman - Commonwealth Scholarship

“In 2006, Bermuda endorsed a strategy of renewable energy integration as part of its National Sustainable Development Strategy in regards to increasing energy security. Much effort was made towards developing Bermuda’s National Sustainable Development Strategy through a comprehensive approach inclusive of public consultation and participation from a wide cross section of local stakeholders.

“However, there is some suggestion of hegemonic influences in the promotion of a global sustainable development agenda. This may be supported by the fact that, internationally, concepts of sustainable development, in particular those that encourage the uptake of renewable energy as an approach to solving environmental problems is one that has historically emanated from downward supra-national and international trajectories rather than upward indigenous ones.

“Indeed, in 2005, former Premier Alex Scott, who was responsible for initiating Bermuda’s move towards the development of a national sustainable development strategy, cited meeting targets set in the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development [Earth Summit 2002] as necessary to making Bermuda’s own national sustainable development strategy “comprehensive.”

“It was found that the role that renewable energy can play in Bermuda differs significantly than other Small Island States due to Bermuda’s unique developmental profile. Unlike many other Small Island States which are classed as ‘developing’, Bermuda’s high population density, high per capita GDP, and other factors indicating development such as intense energy use, high technology, and internet penetration and usage, universal education availability, and high literacy rates mean that Bermuda and other small islands such as Malta, Mauritius, and Singapore, need their own unique developmental category.

“As a result, islands like Bermuda with these types of developmental characteristics need to be assigned as being ‘urban and developed’ Small Island States, signifying a distinct developmental model differing from other small island counterparts designated as Small Island Developing States and where most of the past research on sustainable development has concentrated.”

Dr. Chapman taking samples at the airport landfill:

David Chapman Airport Landfill Collection

“In fact, urban and developed Small Island States like Bermuda are more likely to face sustainable development challenges regarding energy sustainability akin to larger continental urban cities rather than those endured by seemingly more geographically similar small islands like our Caribbean neighbours to the south.

“Although urban and developed Small Island States like Bermuda still share many of the same vulnerabilities in regards to energy like other islands, such as being vulnerable to reliance on energy importation, the existence of energy provider monopolies and suffering from very low diversity in energy production, the urban and developed characteristics of Bermuda mean that many of these vulnerabilities are exacerbated.

“For example, although all Small Island States are less adaptive to renewable energy integration due to inabilities to engage in technical energy infrastructural reform, Bermuda’s urban and developed nature means that energy intensity is particularly high and the reliance on energy to maintain this development status quo means that unsustainable energy consumption based on fossil fuel dependency becomes ‘locked-in’.

“Interestingly, this means that the urban and developed nature of Bermuda and the lock-in effect it creates acts more as a barrier rather than an incentive to renewable energy integration.

“Socio-economic status such as wealth and privilege was found to not only influence energy needs but also influence who might benefit from increased integration towards renewable energy. This means that more well-off residents are more likely to see financial benefits from the increased integration of renewable energy first.”

Dr. Chapman is the author of the Daddy and I Explore children’s book series 

“Having said this, government- and utility-based financial incentives such as rebates and energy buy back schemes towards increasing the uptake of renewable energy would seem to benefit those who need it less from an economic point of view unless such programs are specifically tailored to provide opportunities for those less well-off to engage in renewable energy uptake.

“In reality, this suggests a far greater role of energy efficiency towards lowering vulnerabilities associated with energy sustainability and possibly an area where more national focus should be placed on rather than on encouraging renewable energy integration alone.

“In the business arena, socio-economic factors again proved influential on the role that renewable energy might play to these stakeholders. For large businesses, it was high salary costs associated with labour and staffing that were seen to be more important concerns than energy costs.

“For small business owners, issues regarding energy rarely featured as an isolated core business concern as most did not own their own premises and energy costs were included as part of overall facility rental charges.”

Dr. Chapman hopes to provide more detail on his research at an upcoming invitation to the Bermuda College’s 2015 Corange Science event.

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Category: All, Environment, News

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  1. Good News says:

    Congratulations! Job well done. You are a great example to all young Bermudians. You have made your homeland proud, keep up the good work.

  2. swing voter says:

    smart guy…

  3. J Starling says:

    Well done Dr Chapman!

  4. Nancy says:

    Well done, Well done, Dr. Chapman, great steps forward. High Congratulations !

  5. Change says:

    Great, now it’s time to replace the current Director of Energy so we can finally move in some direction. Been too stagnant for years, and the Department is increasingly in bed with BELCO.

    Congrats David.

    • SOBye says:

      Spoken like a true former disgruntled employee, maybe? If you going to cast barbs like that, put your name on them to make them stick…or not. It always comes back to character and credibility.

  6. mixitup says:


  7. Hmmm says:

    Congratulations Dr Chapman

  8. Nathelee Simons says:

    Congratulations Dr Chapman

    This is an excellent accomplishment, your increased knowledge in this field must be seen by all Bermudians as an advancement in the quest for ‘tangible’ sustainable development. May I humbly request (if you have not yet done so)that you read and if necessary/possible utilise the information that is in the book ‘Me One’ by Dr Pauulu Kamarakafego.

    As he quoted “I learned at a very early age that whatever knowledge I acquire from society does not belong to me. Therefore, my philosophy in life is that we should always give back to society wherever we are – be it Bermuda or some other place in the world. Giving back can be in many forms, e.g., teaching, informing the public of their rights and working with them and volunteer work.”

    • Steve Biko says:

      A book that should be taught in the school curriculum, but then again a Prophet is not Honored in his own country, especially in Bermuda !!!!!!!

  9. Lauren Bell says:

    Brilliant Bermudians – let’s make sure we always have a place for this brilliance to return home to.

  10. Cal Blankendal says:

    Congratulations Dr. David Chapman!

  11. Ski Jump says:

    I know you must be proud mom(Laverne Furbert). Great job raising a great man! Kudos to you also.

  12. 32n64w says:

    Congratulations Dr. Chapman! Well done!

  13. mangotree says:

    Looking forward to hearing a lecture on it.

  14. junior burchall says:

    congrats, Tesfa!

  15. PPamplin says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Chapman. The idea of sustainable energy in small island states is so integral to our success in reducing our dependence on fossil fuel, and the economic benefits that will naturally ensue.

    Your topic is both timely and very necessary. I am sure your mom must be extremely proud. Well done.

  16. Terry says:

    Credit where it is due.
    They don’t hand these Phd’s out.
    Good luck with your future work/s.

  17. LaVerne Furbert says:

    For sure, I am indeed a proud mother. As I tell people, David has worked hard and deserves all of the accolades.

    Nathelee Simons, I can’t speak for David, but I can say Dr Pauulu Kamarakafego’s book has been in my home since it was first published. In fact,I am one of the many persons whose signature is included on the inside cover of the book.

  18. LaVerne Furbert says:

    By the way, thank you for this Bernews!!

  19. Looking in says:

    Congrats to you,your mum and your dad!

  20. SOBye says:

    The rigors of doctoral studies from accredited institutions, especially at the Ph.D. level, are nothing to take lightly. Well earned, Dr. Chapman!

  21. Patricia says:

    Congratulations Dr. David Chapman. From the first time I met you as a teacher at the Berkeley Institute, I noted your interest and passion in this field. From book after book on the mangroves, etc. you always strived for more, never stopped learning. I look forward to hearing more about your research and also to your continued contribution to our island home.

    Well deserved!!

  22. Quito Swan says:

    Congratulations Dr. Chapman, I am very proud of you my brother. I would love to read your dissertation and ground over it with you when time permits. Nuff respect due.

  23. Future says:

    Congrats to Dr. Chapman! You have done, are doing and will continue to Bermuda proud. Peace.

  24. Satisfied says:

    Congrats Dr. Chapman, I can only imagine the hard work it took to achieve your goals. Kudos to your father and mother and all your family members and friends who help you in your journey.

  25. Lil' onion gal says:

    Congratulations Dr. Chapman . . . You are one Bermudian we are all very proud of! So looking forward to any lectures you might give on your dissertation at home, that we all might learn from!

  26. Prayerful says:

    Dr. Chapman,

    You stayed at the wicket and the runs are still coming.

    Good job!

  27. theo francis says:

    Congrats Dr. Chapman/Dr.Tesfa!!!
    Big ras-pect for staying on your path & completing the doctorate!

    Hopefully u will be publishing that dissertation soon so i can read some of ur research & then we can reason about sustainable development (environmental, cultural, economical, spiritual, political, etc.) u know de vibes…
    Wishing u all the Creator’s blessing in your future plans