Thursday, 29 July 2010

AID Foundation selected as finalist for BBC World Challenge

AID Foundation: 2007 Ashden Award winner

Ashden award-winner the AID Foundation Inc. (AIDFI) has been selected from over 800 nominations by BBC World Challenge as one of twelve pioneering grassroots projects from across the world. It has been chosen for its innovative work providing water using hydraulic ram pumps to rural villages in the Philippines. The judging panel, consisting of the Heads of international development, news and banking organisations, has recognised the hydraulic ram pump is an idea whose time has finally come.

Voting for the overall winner will be on from 27 September until 12 November 2010.

For people living in villages in the mountainous regions of the Philippines, the back-breaking work of travelling down steep slopes to collect water is a daily necessity. With a limited water supply, cooking and drinking are prioritised over using water for agriculture and hygiene which leads to greater illness and more limited economic activity. The ram pump uses a very simple mechanism, without the input of electricity or fossil fuels. It works by using the power of a river’s flow to literally push water uphill. And it has revolutionised life for people living in rural Philippines. Ram pumps are saving villagers both time and money when they replace expensive diesel-powered or electric pumps as well as being better for the environment. So far AIDFI have installed ram pumps in over 170 villages in the Philippines and has started installations in Cambodia and Afghanistan.

For information on AIDFI and to view a film of their work, visit our website.

Ram pump installed in Cambodia

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Friday, 16 July 2010

Jeremy Leggett on transitioning to a low-carbon world - in 60 seconds!

We have asked past Ashden award-winners to answer tough questions on what is needed to transition to a low-carbon world – and we’ve given them just 60 seconds to do it in! Jeremy Leggett, founder and Chairman of Solarcentury, gave us some quickfire answers on three key topics.

The new government says it will be the ‘greenest government in history’ - quite a bar to set. What would David Cameron have to put first on his agenda to give you faith in the future of a sustainable energy in the UK?
The UK needs a programme of rapid proactive clean-energy mobilisation consistent with the recommendations of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak oil and Energy Security. The taskforce is forecasting a global oil crunch by 2015 at the latest - around the same time that Ofgem and others are forecasting for a gas and electricity crunch in the UK. Because of the risk that oil producers will start husbanding their resources for use at home, the threat of peak oil means we have to mobilise clean energy far faster than we would have to in order to get to 80% cuts by 2050, for carbon reasons.

Do you think feed-in tariffs will revolutionise the domestic energy landscape?
They certainly hold the potential so to do. But they need to be reduced steadily year-on-year, without caps on deployment, in a way that allows a domestic industry to keep growing. Spain has shown how not to do this, and killed the industry it had begun to build. Enemies of renewables - and there are many such - will be trying very hard to repeat this insanity in the UK.

Most people in the UK have heard of climate change and the need to act, but are doing little. What do you think is the biggest thing hindering behaviour change?
The human brain. The older I get the more I lose my faith in the power in rational argument. I fear that most of us prefer comforting narratives over uncomfortable ones, whatever the evidence says. Neuroscience, with all its recent advances, is becoming a must for amateur study by those of us who seek to change the world for the better.

Solarcentury won and Ashden Award in 2007, click here to find out more.

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Tuesday, 13 July 2010

This week: Ashden India Collective launch

Suresh Prabhu_Session 4_Enabling Policy Framework
This Wednesday, sixteen past Ashden award-winners come together to launch the Ashden India Collective. The idea developed after the conference last February Building a Sustainable Energy Future for India hosted with the Confederation of Indian Industries and the Department for International Development. The group will draw on their experience to develop policy recommendations for the government to widen the use of decentralised renewable energy.

A workshop, Scaling up off-grid renewables , is also taking place on the same day. Jointly hosted by the Ashden Awards and the DfID, this session draws together policy makers, financial institutions, NGOs and donor organisations to explore new initiatives to stimulate renewable energy in India. Outcomes from this event will inform the focus and plan for the Ashden India Collective over the coming year.

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Friday, 9 July 2010

Ashden Awards winners covered across global media

The 2010 Ashden award winners are receiving well-deserved global attention for their achievements. At the start of this month, twelve outstanding projects were in London to receive an Ashden Award for sustainable energy. And none of this escaped the attention of the press- media outlets across the globe have picked up on the news!

In the UK, the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust was covered in The Guardian, The Telegraph and and The Scotsman. BBC News Online featured Willis Renewables’ solar device in Northern Ireland whilst D.light Design and the Rural Energy Foundation were covered for their international success. TECNOSOL appeared on BBC Mundo, MARD/SNV was recognised on BBC Vietnam and CRELUZ was covered on BBC Brasil as a news and and blog item.

National newspapers were have also been keen to share the news. D.light’s success appeared in India in the Hindustan Times, The Hindu, Asian Age and MARD/SNV were covered in Vietnam News , Voice of Vietnam, Nhan Dan and Vietnam Plus. TECNOSOL had their news shared in the Nicaraguan papers La Prensa, El Nuevo Diario and Bolsa de Noticias. CRELUZ were in dozens of Brazilian papers including Folha do Noroeste, O Globo , O Nacional and O Alto Uruguai whilst Sky Link Innovators and the Rural Energy Foundation were in East Africa’s Citizen,, the Africa Science News Service and Business Daily.

TV and radio broadcasters were no less interested in the work of the 2010 Ashden award-winners. BBC World TV, BBC radio World Update both interviewed Ned Tozun from D.light Design whilst interviews with the Rural Energy Foundation and MARD/SNV were made for BBC World Today. BBC's Science in Action explored MARD/SNV’s biogas project in Vietnam as a feature story for their radio show. Regionally, Sky Link Innovators and D.light Design were interviewed on two occasions for BBC Africa Network, whilst BBC Swahili service promoted Sky Link’s work along with that of the Rural Energy Foundation and D.light Design. The BBC Hindi service also covered D.light Design in their science magazine. CNN India covered a story on D.light, RBS TV covered a story on CRELUZ and Kenya Broadcasting Corporation covered Sky Link Innovators. Radio France International and Voice of America interviewed Rural Energy Foundation whilst Brazil's Universal FM and Nicaraguan Radio ABC featured stories on CRELUZ and TECNOSOL.

Some of the world’s leading green energy and technology publications and websites were also quick to pick up the news with stories about Ashden award-winners appearing in The New Agriculturist, REEEP, YouGen,, , Planet Green and

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Snapshots from a week with the international award-winners

2010 Ashden award-winners and Ashden staff on the London Eye (Photo: Dorcas Cheng-Tozun)

Earlier this month was a frenzy of activity in London, six UK and six international winners were in town, showcasing their work before being presented with their globally recognised award by Sir David Attenborough at the Royal Geographical Society.

For the international project representatives who had made the journey to the UK, the week was filled with judging interviews, business development meetings, media training, presentation practices, a full-day conference and the prestigious Ashden Awards ceremony - they even managed to fit in some sight-seeing! We're honoured to have had our international winners here for a week and what a week it was...

Chris Mulindwa, Rural Energy Foundation, at the Ashden Awards Conference (Photo: Dorcas Cheng-Tozun)

Ned Tozun, D.light Design, with Nova solar light at the Ashden Awards Conference (Photo: Dorcas Cheng-Tozun)

Willem Nolens, Rural Energy Foundation, and Ned Tozun, D.light Design, at the Ashden Awards Conference (Photo: Dorcas Cheng-Tozun)

Alfonso Barquero, TECNOSOL, giving presentation at the Ashden Awards Conference (Photo: Dorcas Cheng-Tozun)

Sat on a panel at the conference: (left to right) Willem Nolens, Alfonso Barquero, Vladimir Delagneau Barquero, Chris Nolans and Ned Tozun.
(Photo: Dorcas Cheng-Tozun)

Samwel Kinoti, Sky Link Innovators, and Chris Mulindwa, Rural Energy Foundation, sightseeing on the Southbank (Photo: Dorcas Cheng-Tozun)

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Monday, 5 July 2010

Will the coalition live up to David Cameron's promise to be the “greenest-ever government”? - Geoffrey Lean

Will the coalition live up to David Cameron's promise to be the “greenest-ever government”? Right now, the signals are mixed, says Geoffrey Lean, Environmental Correspondent at The Daily Telegraph.

In theory it should be. As the Prime Minister pointed out the day after the election, creating low-carbon prosperity is one of the things on which both partners most agree. He and key senior colleagues are really committed to this, perhaps even more so than Nick Clegg. And – especially after the budget – the Lib Dems really need to deliver on the low-carbon agenda if they are to retain the support of their constituency.

One good sign is that there is to be an immediate Energy Bill. This will implement a manifesto promise to provide householders with loans to introduce energy saving measures to be paid back out of the savings made. The ministerial team at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, led by Chris Huhne, is impressive - and Cameron went out of his way to show them his wholehearted support when visiting the Department as one of his first engagements. Even George Osborne has promised to make the Treasury “a green ally, not a foe.”

Yet the cuts may mean that, in practice, the Government falls far short of its intentions. It has already scrapped grants helping householders install renewable energy at home, without putting anything in its place. And it has failed to endorse a Labour commitment to introduce a 'Renewable Heat Incentive'(a kind of feed-in tarrif for heat) because of lack of support from that 'green ally', the Treasury. There is also concern that cuts may decimate grants for farmers to safeguard nature by farming in environmentally sensitive ways - tragic for wildlife and the countryside. What happens to these and, above all, the Renewable Heat Incentive, will give us some idea of how green this government is really going to be.

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