Friday, 29 May 2009

Ashden Awards Imperial College conference - 10 June 2009

There are still a few spaces available at this event, so if you'd like to come, please send your name, organisation and email address to:

Local solutions to climate change
The Ashden Awards Imperial College Conference

10 June 2009

The conference will bring the achievements of the 2009 International and UK Ashden Awards finalists to a specialist audience of practitioners, academics and students with a practical interest in sustainable energy. We will show short films about each finalist’s work, and then you will hear from them in person, talking about what has made their work so successful. With Q&As built into each session, and time during breaks to meet the finalists, there are ample opportunities to find out what you really want to know.

The Ashden Awards promote the widespread use of local, sustainable energy which can address climate change, alleviate poverty and improve quality of life. Find out more about us and our work at

We are delighted to be running this conference in partnership with Imperial College, London, and we are most grateful for significant support from the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

There is no charge for the conference or lunch, but numbers are limited, so please confirm names, positions and email addresses of people attending, by email to If you subsequently find that you are unable to attend, please let us know so that your place can be offered to someone else. The lunch provided will cater for vegetarians; if you have any other dietary requirements, please mention them when you confirm attendance.


09:30 Registration and refreshments

10:00 Welcome and introduction to the day
Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College

10:10 Session 1: Buildings for the future

  • Jonathan Hines (Architype, UK) Reducing energy demand through people-focused building design
  • Vincent Stauffer (GERES, India) Solar greenhouses producing fresh vegetables in the Himalayan winter
  • Questions

10:50 Session 2: Green energy businesses
  • Max Lacayo Cortes (ECAMI, Nicaragua) Supporting rural development with photovoltaic power systems
  • Abasi Kazibwe Musisi (Kampala Jellitone Suppliers, Uganda) Agricultural residues fuelling industries and institutions
  • Patrick Sherriff (Geothermal International, UK) Design and installation of ground source heating and cooling systems for the commercial sector
  • Questions
  • Refreshments

12:15 Session 3: Mobilising communities
  • Samson Tsegeye (Solar Energy Foundation, Ethiopia) Bringing affordable photovoltaic lighting to communities
  • Melanie Sealey (Devon County Council, UK) Renewable Energy 4 Devon: generating employment by supporting renewable energy businesses and customers
  • Richard Davies (MEA, UK) Motivating communities to reduce carbon emissions
  • Questions
  • Lunch

14:00 Session 4: Radical carbon cuts
  • John Doggart (Sustainable Energy Academy, UK) Old Home Superhome: Inspiring people to retrofit through practical exemplars
  • Vivek Gupta (Saran Renewable Energy, India) Replacing diesel generators with biomass gasification systems
  • Richard Dunne (Ashley C of E Primary School, UK) Antarctic expedition inspires carbon saving at a primary school
  • Questions
  • Refreshments

15:30 Session 5: Scaling up
  • Phil Webber (Kirklees Council, UK) Rolling out insulation across a large metropolitan borough
  • Dean Still (Aprovecho Research Center and Shengzhou Stove Manufacturer, USA/China) Mass production of efficient fuelwood stoves
  • Amitabha Sadangi (IDEI, India) Treadle pumps increasing income and quality of life for poor farmers
  • Questions
  • Closing presentation and networking time

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Thursday, 28 May 2009

India's activists push their government to put a price on carbon

Harish Hande, of Ashden Award winner SELCO, is one of a coalition of Indian entrepreneurs, activists and academics campaigning for their government to take action on climate change, as reported by the New York Times:

In two days of talks with U.S. lawmakers and policy experts in Washington, D.C., the group said Indian society is starting a serious internal discussion about its role in addressing global warming.

"This is about recasting the debate," said Malini Mehra, founder of the Centre for Social Markets, a nonprofit based in India and the United Kingdom that promotes entrepreneurship and sustainable growth.

"The Indian government's agenda will not change until Indians want it to change," she told a U.N. Foundation forum. "I will not rest until we have a radically different position on the Indian government's side."
Read the full story here

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Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Powering our way out of poverty

2007 Outstanding Achievement Award winner, Harish Hande of SELCO, has written an article on the BBC News website

As the world's leaders consider how to finance our battle against climate change, the financing of practical, affordable solutions for poor people in countries like my own, India, appears to be of little interest.

It is nearly 130 years since Thomas Edison gave us the electric bulb, yet more than two billion people on this planet still do not have the luxury of electricity.

Up to 50% of households in India still have no access to modern lighting. Millions of street vendors, whether in the hi-tech city of Bangalore, India, or Kampala, Uganda, still resort to kerosene or candles to sell their meagre wares.
Read the full story here

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Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Putting the D into the CDM: Acquiring Carbon Finance for Development Projects

This post is to publicise a workshop that Gold Standard Project Developer CarbonAided, the Hedon Household Energy Network and Imperial College are holding on 15th June 2009

CarbonAided is helping Ashden Award winner SKG Sangha to access carbon finance to build bio-digesters to supply the cooking needs of 20,000 families in rural India
Later this year a landmark UN meeting will be held in Copenhagen to determine how the World will continue to combat global warming when the current regulatory period, under the Kyoto Protocol, ends in 2012. Many features of global carbon policy after 2012 have yet to be finalised, however policy makers in both the industrialised and developing world are emphasising that the Clean Development Mechanism will continue but must be improved to genuinely promote investment in projects that have real sustainable development benefits for the world’s poor.

The sentiments of UN policy makers and existing EU climate regulations have created a significant growth in demand and premium prices for credits created by projects with real social benefits, such as Gold Standard projects. Both the voluntary and compliance carbon markets have seen a growth in carbon finance available for development projects, as buyers demonstrate a preference for credits created by projects with identifiable positive social impacts.

CarbonAided and The HEDON Household Energy Network a project of Eco Ltd and Ch4nge have been working with companies, NGOs, charities, project developers and policy makers over the past few years helping them to participate in carbon markets and to increase the number of development projects that are able to access carbon finance. We have found that there is lack of understanding of the potential for carbon finance. We have also discovered a number of myths surrounding the process of developing projects and obtaining finance from carbon credits to implement them.

We will draw from our expertise to deliver an intensive one day workshop that will enable entities thinking about participating in carbon projects with social benefits to understand:
  • The project cycle for carbon credit based projects
  • How carbon markets work
  • Carbon regulations, voluntary carbon markets and regulatory issues after 2012
  • Whether or not carbon markets represent a viable source of funding for their activities
  • The different carbon accreditation standards and those that should be sought
  • Choosing between CDM and voluntary carbon accreditation
  • Choosing between programmatic and non-programmatic approaches
  • How carbon funding can be accessed - the processes, timelines and costs involved
  • The risks and hurdles that project developers will face and how these can be overcome
  • Sources of technical assistance and upfront funding
The workshop will be of benefit to:
  • Companies, charities and NGOs that are interested to use carbon finance for their activities
  • Low carbon technology providers that are looking to export their technologies to the developing world
  • Sustainable investors
  • Policy makers

Businesses: £740
Public sector and NGOs: £592
Students: £296
Developing country attendees: £148

The workshop will be held in London, UK, on 15th June. Spaces for this workshop will be limited to 30 so please indicate your interest in attending by completing the form as soon as possible. Please note that places will only be guaranteed on receipt of payment. Register your interest now and qualify for a 10% early bird DISCOUNT when it comes to booking your place!!!

Click here for more info

Click here to register your interest

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Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Global green awards’ 2009 finalists selected

On 11 June 2009 sustainable energy champions from Ethiopia, India, Nicaragua, Uganda and the US will be recognised with cash prizes by the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy for their life changing solutions to poverty and climate change. One will be crowned global Energy Champion, with an associated prize of £40,000. An Outstanding Achievement Award will also be made to a previous Ashden Award winner who has forged ahead in the field at the Awards ceremony, held in Central London. The finalists will present their work to their peers and other experts at the Ashden Awards Imperial College Conference, to be held on 10 June.

This year’s final six demonstrate massive potential for growth and replication:

Ladakh, India: A highly insulated, heat-retaining greenhouse powered only by the sun enables villagers to grow vegetables through the winter, even when outside air temperatures fall below -25C. Since 2005 nearly 600 greenhouses have been built cheaply by masons using mainly local materials.

Bihar, India: A new biomass gasification system generates electric power for eight hours per day, providing a popular alternative to an unreliable grid supply. Electricity is currently sold to ten businesses which previously used diesel generators. Most of the biomass is ‘dhaincha’, a local woody plant which grows in water-logged areas where crops cannot be grown.

USA/China: A cheap and efficient stove saves 40% fuelwood and reduces polluting emissions by 50-75% compared to traditional cooking. It is manufactured in a factory in China and used in programmes as widespread as South Africa, India, and Argentina. 60,000 stoves have been sold.

Nicaragua: 2,000 solar home systems and 560 larger solar energy systems have been sold and installed in rural areas by a 25-year-old family-run business, for uses including light and communications for schools and police stations; vaccine and blood refrigeration for clinics; pumps for village water supplies; and power for mobile phone masts.

Ethiopia: A village scheme pioneering rented small photovoltaic (PV) solar-home-systems in each of 1,100 homes was successfully trialed to replace kerosene lighting and dry cell batteries. It has now supplied a further 1,000 systems to outlying areas, and has established a centre providing training for solar technicians.

Uganda: A business started making briquettes from agricultural waste for its own use, but now sells over 100 tonnes per month to schools and other businesses, and has installed over 1,300 large, efficient stoves for cooking using briquettes. Briquettes replace fuelwood and charcoal, thus reducing deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.

click here for the full press release in PDF format

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UK finalists for Ashden Awards 2009 selected

On 11 June 2009, local sustainable energy champions from around the UK will compete for the Ashden Awards 2009 at a ceremony in London. Finalists offering climate change
solutions will take part – from Birmingham, Coventry, Devon, Herefordshire, Milton Keynes, Scotland, Surrey, and Yorkshire. International schemes will also be recognised for their work. The contenders will present their work to their peers and other experts at the Ashden Awards Imperial College Conference on 10 June.

This year’s eight UK finalists in four categories demonstrate massive potential for growth and replication:

UK Business Award finalists

Architects put environment at heart of building design

A firm delivering low-energy architecture in close consultation with their buildings’ end users has beaten 2006 building regulations standards by at least a third on both energy and CO2.

Business booms for carbon-cutting heat pumps
A fast-growing company has installed nearly 800 heat pumps for heating and cooling buildings in just six years. By using renewable heat from the earth they are saving tens of thousands of tonnes of CO2 per year compared with gas boilers and conventional air conditioning.

UK Charity Award finalists

Galvanising communities to adopt low-carbon lifestyle

A local Energy Agency runs the gamut of inspirational and practical support to communities, reaching households, businesses and local groups through tailored programmes.

Low carbon show-homes demonstrate how to green older houses
A network of pioneering owners of hard-to-treat, low-carbon homes shows how to reduce carbon emissions by 60%, inspiring more than 36,000 visitors.

UK Local Authority Award finalists

Insulation scheme blanketing metropolitan borough

Ward by ward, a local authority is offering to provide and install free cavity-wall and loft insulation to every home that can use it. So far the scheme has created 140 jobs and installed insulation in more than 21,000 households.

Boosting local renewable energy businesses
A county council scheme stimulating rural regeneration has created 55 jobs and safeguarded 16 more by supporting both supply and demand for renewable energy. So far it has led to 109 renewable energy installations, with a capacity of over 2 MW in SMEs, community organisations, and homes.

UK Schools Award finalists

Antarctic expedition inspires carbon-saving headteacher

The head of a 270-pupil primary school has worked with the whole school community to change behaviour and achieve sustainable carbon savings, including an overall reduction in electricity use of 48%.

Scottish school embraces sustainable energy
A 900-pupil secondary school has taken big steps to reduce energy use over the past 10 years, from auditing and changing regular building maintenance and upgrades, to installing a wind turbine and solar thermal system. Pupils enjoy cross-curricular learning on sustainable energy and lead campaigns at school and in the community.

click here for the full press release in PDF format

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Thursday, 7 May 2009

MD of Ecotricity appears on Rich List 2009

Dale Vince, Managing Director of Ecotricity is listed for the first time on the infamous Sunday Times Rich List 2009, in 657th position. As he hastens to add "I’ve not suddenly got an awful lot of money, this £85 Million is what the Sunday Times team reckons Ecotricity is worth".

Ecotricity were 2007 UK business winners of the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy for their role in helping boost the wind energy sector in the UK, particularly for their emphasis on community consultation.

Read Dale's comments on his blog

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Wood Energy go big with biomass

Wood Energy Ltd based in Exeter, Devon, has installed large biomass boilers at two prestigious sites - the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh and the Devon County Hall in Exeter.

The John Hope Gateway, Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh (RBGE) new biodiversity and information centre, will open in summer 2009. The new building, set to be a shining example of sustainability, has many green features including a 200kW biomass boiler provided by Wood Energy Ltd.

Devon County Council is reducing its energy costs and carbon emissions at County Hall with a new biomass boiler installed by Wood Energy. The 840kW Binder wood chip boiler uses sustainable woodchip fuel supplied locally, rather than conventional non-renewable fossil fuels such as gas, oil, coal and electricity and will be one of the biggest boilers of its kind in the southwest. The boiler, which will reduce heating carbon emissions by 60% and save upwards of £20,000 a year, replaces the original 40 year old boilers which produced 269 tonnes of CO2 a year and cost over £55,000 to run. County Hall already has an energy efficiency rating of 'C' on scale of A to G (A being the best), which is above average for an older building. The new biomass boiler will improve the Council's energy efficiency even further, with a rating of B predicted.

"Everything about this investment makes good sense" said Cllr Brian Greenslade, Leader of Devon County Council. "It's good for the environment by significantly cutting our heating carbon emissions and good for Devon's economy by using a local suppliers. This is an integral part of Devon County Council's commitment to reducing its energy consumption, and to our goal of making Devon the greenest county."

John Wilding, Forestry Manager at Clinton Devon Estates agrees: "We are delighted that Devon County Council has chosen to switch to a wood-fuelled biomass boiler. Where it leads, many others will no doubt follow as there are many environmentally aware, commercial and public sector bodies who looking for green technology which is also practical, cost-effective and comes with a reliable ongoing source of sustainable fuel."

The wood chip boilers and “real time” graphical representations of the boiler used as display and educational material at both sites were supported by the Ashden Awards prize money won by Wood Energy Ltd in 2007.

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Bangladeshi ventures aim to build solar PV industry

Stories appearing in the Bangladeshi media indicate that plans are afoot to create a capacity for solar panel manufacture in the country over coming years. Companies are vying with each other for a share of the action.

Two of the Ashden Award's previous award-winners - Grameen Shakti and Rahimafrooz - are key players in rolling out solar power in Bangladesh and are mentioned in the plans.

The Financial Express article "Bangladesh-US venture to build country's first solar plant" says the move by Star Group to build a solar plant comes as solar power makes inroads in a vast swathe of rural areas left untouched by the national electricity grid, achievements that Grameen Shakti has played a large part in, backed by soft-loan refinancing schemes by IDCOL.

In the article, the MD of Rahimafrooz, which sells batteries to the charities, said the plant would speed up the growth of solar systems in the country. He said Rahimafrooz is also pursuing its own plan to build a photovoltaic panel factory, as he sees Bangladesh emerging as a top solar-powered nation within a few years.

"Solar power systems are changing the face of rural Bangladesh. And it would be a billion dollar industry within a few years," he said.

The article in The Daily Star focuses on IDCOL's plan to establish solar plants, in collaboration with partners such as Grameen Shakti. They currently import panels from India and China.

More info:
Financial Express Bangladesh
Daily Star article
Daily Star opinion on sustainable energy

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New study boosts hopes for offshore wind in SE England

A recent story in The Observer (26.4.09) reports a study by Atmos Consulting that shows wind speeds in the area of East Anglia and Essex are increasing, boosting the hopes of proponents of offshore wind farms along the coast and potentially making the economics more feasible.

According to the research wind speeds in these areas have been rising so much that wind farms site there could generate 50 percent more electricity than previously envisaged.

The data is based on NASA satellite images that shows wind speeds increased from 7.5 metres per second in 1990 to 8.5 metres in 2008. The images measure the size of tiny capillary waves on the ocean's surface, which indicate the wind's strength.

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