2021 International Switch Energy Case Competition

Financing Solutions to Energy Poverty

The second annual International Switch Energy Case Competition was brought to you by Switch Energy Alliance with additional support from Chuck & Cathy Williamson and the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.

2021 Case Competition

During the fall of 2021, Switch Energy Alliance, with additional support from Chuck & Cathy Williamson and the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering at UT Austin, held the second annual International Switch Energy Case Competition. The 2021 Case Competition surpassed the first in terms of student registrations, with over 1000 university students from 37 countries registering. The prize package for this year was also substantially increased from $10,000 to $25,000, with the winning team alone taking home $10,000. One hundred and sixty energy professionals from around the world generously volunteered their time as mentors and judges.

Similar to the 2020 Competition, energy poverty was the focus of the 2021 Case Competition, but with an emphasis on how to finance solutions to energy poverty. Developing nations face real challenges when attempting to secure funding for infrastructure projects like enhancing and expanding their energy grids. Students in this year's Case Competition had to work within a maximum budget for each country based on that country's GDP and existing energy budget. Students also had to specify where their funding would come from, how it would be used, and how they would pay their investors back.

The 2021 Case Competition problem (aka the prompt) focused on three countries: Nepal, Nicaragua, and South Sudan. Teams chose one of the three countries, thoroughly researching the existing energy landscape and the challenges of how to update the energy infrastructure. Though the focus of the Competition was on financing solutions to energy poverty, teams also had to take into account economic and environmental impacts from their plans. The 10-minute video and PDF presentations created by the teams reflected deep thought, extensive research and creative solutions. See the Finalists' presentations below.

2021 Competition Results

1st Place

Urjaffinity (India)

Team: Ayush Kumar Jha, Anurag Bhattacharya, Apurv Shandilya, Umang Tulsan

View Video View Presentation
Ahmed Merzoug, Yousri Kenouna, Habib Ouadi, Kenza Ait Larbi
2nd Place

Energy Caribbean Alliance (Colombia)

Team: Jose Basto, Camilo Conde, Sofia Cubillos, Cristhian Riascos

View Video View Presentation
Fabian Díaz, Rubén Herrera, Irvany Petit, José Tovar
3rd Place

Print('Energy') (Algeria)

Team: Imad Smaini, Merouane Sbaihi, Ahmed Guembour, Ibrahim Elkhalil Hadjadj

View Video View Presentation
Anjali Patel, Ishan Shah, Karen Sculley, Rishi Ponnekanti
4th Place / Live Final Audience Favorite

Energizers IIII (Egypt)

Team: Abdullah Mohamed Hamed, Yasmine Abd El-Moniem Ahmed, Youssef Mahmoud, Mariem Elkholy

View Video View Presentation
Logan Welsh, Luke Cantrell, Mason Fiedler, Atharva Kulkarni
5th Place

ZAAS (Egypt/UAE)

Team: Salma Khaled Shahwan, Abdelrahman Yasser Zaghloul, Aren Mosad, Ahmed Shokry Abdelmegeed

View Video View Presentation
 
2021 Finals Video

2021 Finals Video

Watch the seven finalist teams of the 2021 International Switch Energy Case Competition participate in a Q&A session with a panel of judges.

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Student Testimonials

Student Testimonials

This year we asked students who did not make it to the Final round to record themselves giving an optional testimonial about what the Case Competition taught them and how the experience benefitted their academic and professional goals. This video showcases three of those students and their experiences.

View Video

2021 Competition Finals Judges

The 2021 Case Competition could not have happened without the generous support of 160 energy professionals who gave their time as mentors and judges. The mentors virtually met with their assigned teams once a week for a minimum of 30 minutes, providing general guidance and encouragement. The judges remotely reviewed and scored their assigned teams' 10-minute video presentations. Energy professionals from all energy fields, countries, and organizations (business, academic, government, nonprofit) participated.
Lorena Moscardelli

Lorena Moscardelli

Bio

Dr. Moscardelli is a Research Scientist and leader of the State of Texas Advanced Resource Recovery program, also known as the STARR program, at the Bureau of Economic Geology. Her expertise is in seismic geomorphology and interpretation, sedimentology and stratigraphy, and geoscience data integration. She received a degree in Geological Engineering from Central University of Venezuela and a PhD in Geological Sciences from The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to working at the Bureau, Dr. Moscardelli worked as an exploration geologist for PDVSA and was a Principal Researcher at Equinor. Her Bureau career includes the co-funding and co-direction of the Quantitative Clastic Laboratory and serving as the leader of the STARR program. Most recently, Dr. Moscardelli has taken a strong interest in understanding the role of geoscience research as part of the ongoing energy transition while contributing to STARR’s main mission of conducting geologic research resulting in the increase of production and profitability of energy resources in the State of Texas.

Amod K. Pokhrel

Amod K. Pokhrel

Bio

Dr. Pokhrel teaches Environmental Health Sciences in the MPH curriculum at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. His research has focused on environmental and occupational health-related to household energy generation and uses in developing countries. His research has appeared in many high-impact, peer-reviewed journals. Recently, he led and completed the Clean Cooking Alliance/UN Foundation-funded action research, “Maximizing the health benefits of clean cooking in peri-urban Nepal.” He has appeared on TV interviews and the Switch Energy Alliance educational Documentary SwitchOn. Dr. Pohkrel’s SwitchOn appearance can also be seen in the SwitchOn The Series episode 1, “Modern Cooking Fuels,” which shows how developing countries, including Nepal, are transitioning to modern fuels.

Rob Stoner

Rob Stoner

Bio

Dr. Stoner is the Deputy Director for Science and Technology at the MIT Energy Initiative, and Founding Director of the MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design. He also serves on the MIT Energy Council, the Science and Technology Committee of the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Rockefeller Foundation funded Global Commission to End Energy Poverty, and as President of the International Conservation Fund. Dr. Stoner earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from Queen’s University in Canada, and his Ph.D. in condensed matter physics from Brown University. Dr. Stoner is a serial entrepreneur and the inventor and co-inventor of numerous computational and ultrafast optical measurement techniques. From 2007 through 2009 he lived and worked in Africa and India while serving in a variety of senior roles within the Clinton Foundation, including as the CEO of the Clinton Development Initiative. For the past decade his research at MIT has been at the intersection of energy technology, society and computation, with an emphasis on power system design, optimization, and regulation in developing countries.

2021 Competition Student Leadership

Switch Energy Alliance is grateful for the leadership of these students, who were instrumental in organizing and running the 2021 International Switch Energy Case Competition.

Olivia Richert

The University of Texas at Austin, USA

Environmental Science (Geography) & Government - 2024

Syed Talha Tirmizi

The University of Texas at Austin, USA

Petroleum Engineering - 2023

Switch Energy Alliance is also grateful for the guidance provided by the following students.

Phillip Boltan

The University of Texas at Austin, USA

Chemical Engineering - 2022

Preston Bomchill

The University of Texas at Austin, USA

Chemical Engineering - 2022

2021 Competition Sponsors & Supporters


  

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