Green pioneers rewarded
A new stove design for China that replaces coal by burning crop waste, high quality solar panels for the rural poor and a fleet of boats using the sun’s energy to bring education to remote regions of Bangladesh are among the winners of the 2007 Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy.
Former US President Al Gore praised them and other pioneers in creating sustainable energy for developing countries for “illuminating the path to a sustainable future”.
Cash prizes of up to £30,000 were made to a range of organisations who demonstrated how sustainable energy can be used to improve access to light and power, to food, to education and welfare, to promote enterprise and to address the challenges of lack of access to essential energy resources in Africa.
“No one can attend an event like the Ashden Awards and fail to be inspired,” said Mr Gore at an awards ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London. “We must find a path from an unsustainable present to a sustainable future. What impresses me most about these projects is they truly are becoming the change that’s needed in the world. These awards tell us how to illuminate the path to a sustainable future together. I hope that we can make it quickly”.
Sarah Butler-Sloss, chair of the judging panel, said that the winners show how sustainable energy can improve health, education and livelihoods and at the same time reduce carbon emissions.
“If these technologies were expanded and replicated on a large scale, they would play a significant role in helping us to tackle climate change and poverty. What we need now is the political will to scale-up and roll-out these solutions.”
CHINA Beijing Shenzhou Daxu Bio-energy Technology Company Ltd (Daxu) wins the Enterprise Award (£30,000) for developing and marketing an innovative stove design that replaces coal by burning widely available crop waste as well as burning wood much more efficiently.
INDIA BIOTECH wins the Food Security Award (£30,000) for developing and installing biogas plants in Kerala that use food waste which is often left out in the streets to rot, to generate gas for cooking.
LAOS Sunlabob Renewable Energies Ltd wins the Light and Power Award (£30,000), sponsored by Climate Care, for developing an innovative and commercially viable business model which provides high quality solar PV systems to the rural poor at a price they can afford.
BANGLADESH Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha (pictured above) wins the Education and Welfare Award (£30,000) for building up a fleet of 88 boats that use solar energy to bring education, training and renewable energy supplies to over 400,000 people living in the remote Chalanbeel region of Bangladesh.
TANZANIA Zara Solar Ltd wins the Africa Award (£30,000) for providing high-quality, reliable solar-home-systems at affordable prices to communities lacking access to a reliable source of energy.
INDIA Harish Hande from SELCO wins the Outstanding Achievement Award (£15,000) for, in the words of the judges, “the way in which this visionary individual has demonstrated beyond doubt that it is possible to run a renewable energy business which is both a striking commercial success, and which lifts people out of poverty, too.” SELCO is a private business committed to providing the highest quality solar energy services to poor people on financial terms they can afford.