Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Building a Sustainable Energy Future for India: Learning from our award-winners

Earlier this month (8th-9th February) the Ashden Awards co-hosted a 2-day conference in Delhi, ‘Building a Sustainable Energy Future for India’. Delivered in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), this event brought together stakeholders involved in the renewable energy sector in the region to explore the challenges and opportunities for Indian local sustainable energy projects.

With over 100 delegates from business, government, energy enterprises, financial institutions and NGOs, the event stimulated a diverse range of ideas and proposals. Indian Ashden award-winners, as successful examples of local sustainable energy enterprises, presented and participated substantially in discussion sessions. Key figures from the renewable energy sector, business, and government also took a lead including Sumant Sinha, CEO of Suzlon Energy; Suresh Prabhu, former Minister of Environment and currently Chairman of Council for Environment, Energy and Water; Mr K Subramanya, CEO of Tata BP Solar; Andrew Steer, Director General of Policy and Research at DFID; and Sir Richard Stagg, the British High Commissioner.

The sessions raised a variety of interesting discussion topics. Finding ways of scaling up, replicating and financing energy enterprises, the challenges of end user finance and policy recommendations for the Indian Government were recurrent themes.

You can find out more about this event by visiting the conference’s microsite and you can find out more about all of our winners by visiting our website.

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Monday, 8 February 2010

LESS CO2 - Ashden Awards workshop for schools

The ‘pupils’ in Owl classroom at Ashley school in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey were a bit bigger than usual on Tuesday. The year fives who usually occupy the room had given up their desks for the morning so that heads, teachers and bursars from ten schools in Surrey could attend the second of the Ashden Awards ‘LESS CO2’ workshops on becoming more sustainable.

The schools are taking part in a pilot programme of workshops where Ashden Awards staff are joined by three winners of the Ashden Schools Award to share how they made their schools more energy efficient.

Eastchurch Primary, where the pupils closely monitor energy use.

Richard Dunne, head of Ashley School, Stephen Green Eco Coordinator from Ringmer Community College and Paula Owens former deputy head of Eastchurch primary all know how hard it can be to get schools and their communities on the path to energy saving – and to keep them there.

This was the second workshop and there was a real buzz in the room as school staff discussed the start they’d made on their journey to saving energy and cutting carbon. They had all carried out audits of their schools – from locating meters to assessing heating systems – and started weekly meter readings.

As well as guidance on the next steps to take, each participant received an electricity monitor which will enable them to see how much electricity they are using and monitor progress in reducing consumption over time.

Pupils at Ashley School examine graphs produced by their energy monitor.

Each of the Ashden award winners taking part are acting as ‘mentors’ for a group of three or four schools, available between workshops to answer questions and encourage them when things get difficult.

The next workshop will be in June when we will find out how much progress has been made.

Renewable energy generated at Ringmer Community College.

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Thursday, 4 February 2010

The first round of judging is complete...

...and the UK and international shortlists have been decided.

In the last fortnight the two Ashden Awards judging panels have met to decide the UK and international shortlists. 152 initial expressions of interest have now been narrowed down to just 18 exemplars of local sustainable energy.
Experts in their fields, the judges drew on their experience and knowledge in technology, policy, business , development and communication to make their decisions. Over two lengthy days the judges debated and determined who would go through to the next round. Their discussions scrutinised balance sheets, explored social impacts and argued technical details. Dr. Anne Wheldon, our technical director, described this part of the judging process as “always really interesting and stimulating but also very difficult”.

The judges were impressed by the applicants this year. They were pleased that, on the international side, applicants came from across three continents (Africa, Asia and Latin America), whilst in the UK there were interesting new approaches to both renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The difficult decisions, however, were finally made with the help of secret ballots. Judges will be visiting the 18 shortlisted applicants over the next two months.

To find out more about our past award winners and the judges please visit our website: www.ashdenawards.org

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Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Free energy display meter for schools!

Great news for schools in England!

The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and Partnerships for Schools (PfS) have started a scheme offering free energy display meters. The meters will:

  • Display real-time electricity use.
  • Store a history of electricity use.
  • Link into the school computer network so everyone can access and use the data.
  • Let you compare electricity use to different periods of time, to see if you have managed to reduce energy use.
  • Allow you to set targets for reductions in electricity use for the school to aim for.
The meters are on a "first come, first served" basis, so be quick and register your interest on the website: www.energydisplaymeter.co.uk

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