11 June 2009

Two Indian schemes in finals for global green energy awards

Two pioneering schemes in India are among the finalists for this year's Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, the organisers of the awards have announced. First finalist, French charity Groupe Energies Renouvelable Environnement et Solidarites (GERES), which works with local groups in Ladakh to help farmers grow fresh vegetables year-round in simple passive solar greenhouses. The result is the availability of spinach, coriander, onions, garlic and strawberries in the markets of Leh even when the temperature is well below freezing point. The other finalist from India, Saran Renewable Energy Pvt. Ltd in Bihar, one of the finalists, has installed a new gasification system that generates electric power for 11 hours a day using locally-sourced biomass, providing a popular, sustainable, and cheap alternative to an unreliable grid supply. The 220 MW of electricity produced in a year is currently sold to 10 businesses which previously used diesel generators, as well as farmers, a school and a clinic. The result is a better-quality and more reliable electricity supply that also prevents the emission of about 200 tonnes of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide every year from the 77,000 tonnes of diesel that would otherwise be used, and helps to secure income for the 100 local farmers who supply the biomass, the organisers of the London-based awards committee announced. Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy recognises the efforts of individuals or organisations in the deployment of locally-available renewable energy in the developing world with the aim of combatting climate change and reducing poverty. The Award carries a total prize tag of £350,000 ($567,000), which will be used to expand and promote these projects. Other finalists are from the US, China, Nicaragua, Uganda and Ethiopia. The winner will be declared June 11.
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