The Ashden Awards recognise that industrialised and developing countries alike urgently need to make more use of local sustainable energy to ensure a liveable future.
As communities in the developing world face an increasingly difficult battle against deforestation, soil erosion and pollution, the case for renewable energy – especially in areas that have no electricity supplies – becomes ever stronger.
The Awards recognise that for such communities, renewable energy is not a green luxury: it’s often their best hope of breaking out of poverty, giving their children an education, and improving their health and wellbeing. And, crucially, it can do so while reducing local environmental impacts and tackling climate change.
The UK awards aim to demonstrate the value that local sustainable energy projects can bring to a community within an industrialised country. As the main contributors of greenhouse gases, such countries have a clear responsibility to rethink the way they use energy. The fact that the UK and many other developed nations face increasing concerns over energy security adds to the argument for shifting towards more sustainable sources.
With oil prices hitting record highs, and climate change forcing its way up the political agenda, there’s more focus than ever before on the need for locally-sourced clean energy – which makes this coming year’s Awards particularly relevant.
OVERSEAS (DEVELOPING COUNTRY) WINNERS
Biogas Sector Partnership, Nepal, wins the award for Health and Welfare (£30,000) for demonstrating how domestic biogas for cooking and sanitation can be implemented on a massive scale. [more details]
SELCO, India, wins the award for Enterprise (£30,000) for building a thriving business and financial network to bring quality electricity to those without it.
KIST, Rwanda, wins the Special Africa Award (£30,000)for underlining the vital role which small-scale sustainable energy can play in tackling both climate change and poverty in Africa.
NEST, India, wins the Award for Light (£30,000) for developing a small solar lantern which makes safe, smoke-free light affordable for the poorest people.
Nishant Bioenergy, India: and Trees, Water and People / AHDESA, Honduras: both win the Climate Care Award (£30,000)for demonstrating convincing ways of reducing carbon emissions while benefiting local people.