Today the world’s leading green energy prize announced that pioneering renewable energy projects from Africa, Asia, and Latin America will each receive prizes of up to £20,000, with an overall Energy Champion winning up to £40,000. Winners will be revealed at a ceremony in London in June.
Worldwide, two billion people still have no access to modern forms of energy. Every year 1.6 million women and children are dying from respiratory diseases because they are cooking over open fires. The finalists’ efforts highlight how simple design innovation, commitment, and relatively small financial outlay can bring huge benefits to large numbers of people in terms of health, education, social welfare, and finance. The projects recognised and rewarded this year—which include small and large scale solar, mini hydro power schemes, and fuel-efficient stoves running off waste products—transform lives and reduce poverty in their communities.
Among the seven international finalists is the Gaia Association of Ethiopia, for providing clean, safe ethanol stoves for refugee homes. The Kebribeyah refugee camp is home to 17,000 people who have fled conflict in bordering Somalia. Refugees in Ethiopia, as in many countries, rely on fuelwood for cooking. Women who spend long hours collecting fuelwood outside refugee camps are frequently attacked, and there is extensive deforestation. The Gaia Association has provided ethanol-fuelled stoves to 1,780 refugee families, enabling clean, comfortable cooking and preventing wood use. The ethanol is produced from locally-available molasses, a sugar by-product which previously caused pollution. The Gaia Association is starting to supply stoves and ethanol for other refugee camps and also for new housing developments in Addis Ababa, and a local factory is producing the stoves. (News from HEDON Household Energy)