Mr. Nicholas Wertsch is a graduate from Georgetown University with a major in Government and a minor in English. He most recently worked at Smart Power, a nonprofit promoting clean energy and energy efficiency in communities across the country using marketing techniques and community organizing strategies. Before joining SmartPower, Mr. Wertsch worked as a Field Organizer for the Obama campaign in 2008 and ran a field office in rural Missouri. Recently he served as an intern for the White House Office of Public Engagement and worked primarily on outreach to energy and environment groups. From 2009-2010 he was with Samata, a non-governmental organization in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India that focuses on development issues and land rights for tribal communities. He led their grant-writing program, coordinated volunteers, and took a few adventurous field expeditions with Samata's local field organizers. While still in India, he wrote pieces for the St. Louis Beacon online newspaper on mining issues, linguistics, the Indo-Pak border, and the Indian train system.|
As a Fulbright-Nehru scholar Mr. Wertsch is affiliated with the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His research titled "Energy and Democracy in India: Balancing Community Rights with Energy Infrastructure Development," will study the processes of democratic discourse in communities as they address the challenges of constructing new energy plants in India, which will surpass China as the most populous nation on earth by 2050, is already facing an energy crisis. Even now, 400 million Indians, mostly in rural areas, live without electricity. In its 11th Five Year Plan, the Indian government declared the goal of adding 90,000 MW to its electrical capacity by 2012. The expansion of energy capacity poses exciting opportunities and serious challenges, particularly for communities affected by new power plant construction.