‘Bad-ass business women’ bring solar empowerment to Nepal

By Lucy EJ Woods | Published on 15/06/2017 | 4:57 PM |

NGO that helps women overcome cultural taboos and start their own clean energy businesses to be awarded prize in London ceremony

“People talk here when a woman talks to men. They say things like how a woman should not leave the house,” says Runa Jha, a solar entrepreneur in Janakpur, eastern Nepal. “But I don’t care.”

A widow, Jha lives in one room with her three teenage children. In rural Nepal, widows are treated as social outcasts. They are seen as predatory, potential husband-stealers and their interactions with men are frowned upon.

“You should do what you want,” says Jha, who received training from Empower Generation – an NGO that on Thursday will be awarded a £20,000 Ashden award for promoting the role of women and girls in the clean energy sector.

Another Empower-trained solar entrepreneur, Lalita Choudhary, also faced cultural barriers. “Individuals are going to say all sorts of things” about business women in rural Nepal, she says. Choudhary lives not too far from Jha, in Lahan, Siraha, just 17km from the Indian border. Most people in the area work in agriculture, growing rice and corn or tending to goats and cows.

Runa Jha, in her solar shop in Janakpur, eastern Nepal (Photo: Lucy EJ Woods)

In many communities, women “hide their faces and do not talk to men” and “are not really allowed to get a job,” says Abhilahsa Poudel, Empower Generation’s communications coordinator.

But solar power’s effect on village life is inarguable. Its allows for cleaner home environments, with light into the evenings and the ability to charge a mobile phone.

The social benefits that flow from the women-run solar businesses, means that Jha and Choudhary have become admired for their work by both men and women in their communities. “Everyone wants to be like [Choudhary] and to work like her,” says Poudel.

Jha and Choudhary are two of the 23 women that NGO Empower Generation has trained to be renewable energy entrepreneurs, who in turn, employ and manage a further 170 sales agents. Some of the agents are men, but most are aspirational young women, creating a ripple effect of empowerment through sustainable, profitable employment.

“Before, women were not allowed outside the house, and were told not to study as they have to do the housework,” Jha says.

Empower Generation mentors and supports women registering their own businesses to sell solar lanterns, solar home systems, clean cook stoves and water filters. The trainee entrepreneurs are given lessons on climate change and the adverse effects of fossil fuels, becoming leaders in their community for promoting renewable energy and environmental awareness.

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As women do not traditionally work in energy, Empower Generation’s work aims to “really move the needle on how women are valued,” and change the rural Nepalese culture of women being considered to be the property of their husband’s families, says Empower Generation co-founder Anya Cherneff.

The “priority is to create bad-ass business women,” says Cherneff.

Since owning and running a solar business, Jha has taken on other leadership roles, including leading a community clean-up group. “I feel like I want to lead now; I like to lead,” says Jha.

Many of the women working with Empower Generation apply their skills and confidence to further business ventures and other arenas of public life. Choudhary is currently running as a candidate in local government elections, and Sita Adhikari, Empower Generation co-founder is now a United Nations adviser.

The Ashden awards ceremony on Thursday will host former US vice-president Al Gore as keynote speaker.

Adhikari said that receiving the award “encourages us to work even harder to cultivate more women entrepreneurs who are providing reliable, affordable clean tech solutions.”

Article Disclaimer: This article originally appeared on Climate Home News and was retrieved on 01/17/2018 and republished here for information and educational purposes only. The views, contents, and materials of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability, accuracy, and consistency of the republished article. If you need additional information about the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM INCORPORATED accordingly. If you have any question or concern, please send us an email at info@indeseem.org.

Maximizing potential for healthy rivers and low-carbon energy

Source/Credit: ©-Michael-Yamashita at the International Water Association

MAY 24, 2017

As the global population climbs toward 9 billion, rivers will experience tremendous pressure. To provide the necessary resources for our growing communities, more river flows will be diverted for agriculture and industry, stored for drinking water and harnessed to meet rising energy demands.

Global forecasts suggest a doubling of renewable energy sources by 2030, and hydropower currently offers nearly twice the generation of all other renewables combined. Hydropower’s contributions will grow as the world commits an estimated nearly US$2 trillion of investment between now and 2040.

Meeting our resource needs while keeping the climate in safe boundaries presents a number of complex challenges and tradeoffs. For instance, completion of hydropower dams currently under construction and those that are planned will affect 300,000 kilometers of rivers globally through fragmentation or changes to river flow patterns. This threatens freshwater fisheries that feed hundreds of millions of people and presents other social and environmental risks.

So, how do we balance our development goals with retaining the values free-flowing rivers provide? And how do we ensure that investments in hydropower are lower risk and realize a broader portfolio of benefits?

It requires reframing the challenge between development and rivers as one of system design–meaning, we must consider a comprehensive management system that balances the needs of energy and industry with what river basins need to remain healthy and thriving. A new report, The Power of Rivers: A Business Case, published by The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with McGill University, the University of Manchester and PSR, brings decision makers a first-of-its-kind global analysis to help yield better economic, social and environmental outcomes in hydropower planning and management. This is the foundation of a system-scale approach we call Hydropower by Design.

Source/Credit: A distributary in the Atchafalaya River Delta, Louisiana, USA © Carlton Ward Jr.

The business case builds from the 2015 Power of Rivers report and draws from the Conservancy’s 65-year history of providing evidence-based, bottom-line oriented solutions to balancing conservation and development needs. Key findings suggest that the potential global economic benefits of widespread adoption of a system scale approach to hydropower planning and management are significant: even a 5 percent improvement in other water-management resources in hydropower-influenced basins would produce up to US$38 billion per year in additional benefits, a sum comparable to average annual investment in hydropower.

Another financial value for investors lies in improved risk management. Hydropower by Design can guide site selection toward a portfolio of projects with a lower percentage of significant delays and cost overruns due to environmental and social risks.

System scale thinking: essential to increasing investment benefits, minimizing risk

Across renewable energy sources, it’s critical that we consider early planning and holistic approaches to avoid or mitigate impacts to our productive lands and waters. While site-level mitigation of hydropower impacts can help, a number of issues cannot be addressed effectively at the scale of single dam. System-wide processes and tools are needed to identify development and management options that are both strategic and low impact, as well as financially competitive.

Countries facing urgent demands to increase electricity generation are understandably hesitant to embark on a strategic planning process if they believe it will delay delivery of projects that can meet rising demand. By drawing from integrated water-management, energy and financial models, Hydropower by Design (HbD) can deliver useful insights about development and management options for governments, investors and developers in a relatively short period of time. And the potential to capture economic values beyond energy generation is substantial.

In a set of nine case study basins, HbD approaches increased the level of other values—including water supply, flood-risk management and habitat for migratory fish—by 5 percent to more than 100 percent, compared to business-as-usual approaches. This occurred generally with no or limited reduction in energy generation—in some cases, there was a considerable increase in generation.

The powerful insights that an HbD approach can provide in the short-term, can deliver long-term, positive outcomes capable of maintaining connectivity on hundreds of thousands of river kilometers while realizing a broad range of other financial and economic benefits.

To learn more, and explore a series of quantitative case studies through download of the business case report, visit www.nature.org/powerofrivers.

Header Photo: © Michael Yamashita

Article Disclaimer: This article was published by a contributor at the International Water Association and was retrieved on 06/08/2017 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only.The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.


Your Pot Habit Is Making Climate Change Worse

Photo Credit: stdesign/Shutterstock

India Looks to Battery Storage to Supplement Its Solar Boom


Image Source: Green Tech Media
Image Source: Green Tech Media








Written by: Mike Stone. Posted on: March 14, 2016

For the first time ever, India is putting out the call for energy storage developers.

The state-run Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) is seeking bids for a 750-megawatt solar park at Ananthapuramu in Andhra Pradesh. In order to supplement the massive series of projects, SECI is looking to procure 100 megawatts of storage capacity.

It’s a small step for solar storage in a country that currently has little capacity. But if batteries are regularly added to future tenders, it could add up to a large market, given India’s ambitious solar targets.

The government is planning 20 gigawatts of solar installations over the next few years and 100 gigawatts by 2020 or 2022 — amounting to a $100 billion opportunity for solar, according to Ernst & Young’s renewable energy attractiveness index.

Madhavan Nampoothiri, founder of RESolve Energy Consultants, thinks solar-plus-storage will benefit.

“The opportunity is huge in India, mainly in the rooftop/off-grid space,” he said. “Power outages are rampant in India, and energy storage can help reduce the outages. On the utility-scale projects side, grid balancing and grid integration become increasingly important in order to counter the [intermittent] nature of solar.”

Large companies are preparing to do business in the sector. General Electric recently announced that its energy consulting business was chosen by IL&FS, one of India’s leading infrastructure developers and financiers, to examine the feasibility of integrated wind, solar and energy storage projects at sites in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

“Energy storage can be particularly helpful for integrating variable renewable generation in India since the technical infrastructure and market mechanisms available at the disposal of many other power grids are not yet available in the country,” said Sundar Venkataraman, GE Energy Consulting’s technical director. “As the costs start to come down, energy storage will become an integral part of India’s grid.”

IL&FS, also one of the biggest independent wind power producers in India, last year secured funding from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to look into utility-scale integration of wind, solar and storage in India. The grant is part of $2 billion in trade investment that USTDA has earmarked for renewable energy projects in India.

GE’s contribution to the research will include designing a power plant combining wind, solar, energy storage and controls. The company will then look at the costs incurred and build a business plan in order to make the project commercially viable.

At this stage, it is unclear what battery chemistries will dominate in India’s market. It will likely be lithium-ion; however, according to Madhavan Nampoothiri, there will be a place for vanadium redox flow batteries in the longer term.

For example, SunEdison ordered 1,000 vanadium storage systems from Imergy last year for use in solar-powered microgrids in rural India.

Despite its bold plans, India doesn’t have much solar to speak of yet. At the moment, its 3 gigawatts of installed solar account for only 1 percent of the country’s total generating capacity. To put that into perspective, China and Germany already have roughly 40 gigawatts each.

India’s storage sector may depend on how quickly solar scales up in the country.

Article Disclaimer: This article was published at Green Tech Media and was retrieved on March 16, 2016 and posted here at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the post remains those of the author. Please cite the original source accordingly.



Super solar cells collect higher energy photons 30 times better


Bathing the Earth with enough energy in one hour to meet human needs for an entire year, the sun represents the ultimate source of clean, green sustainable energy.

Energy from waste tech offers on-site scope

By David Appleyard
Contributing Editor

Testing is underway of a prototype pyrolysis technology that could extend the range of waste materials that may be used to generate energy.

The Pyrofab system is based on ‘Pyroformer’ technology, developed by the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) at Aston University in the UK. Using this intermediate pyrolysis process, the tests are determining the potential of different waste materials and residues to be processed into low carbon fuel. Previously hard to treat sources of waste now have the potential to be used as a feedstock to produce low carbon energy and feedstocks being tested include food waste, domestic waste, agricultural waste such as pig manure, industrial waste and even baby wipes.

The Pyrofab converts carbon from organic waste materials to produce carbon neutral fuel and biochar, a commodity that can be used to improve soil.

In addition, the Pyrofab is transportable and can work with existing generation technology meaning waste can be locally sourced.

Professor Tony Bridgwater, Director of the European Bioenergy Research Institute at Aston University, said: ‘The Pyrofab unlocks the potential of waste, producing sustainable carbon neutral bioenergy and biofuels. This has the potential to change a significant liability for businesses and local authorities across North West Europe into a home grown resource, to reduce waste management costs and generate new revenue streams through the derived products.’

Source: http://www.cospp.com/articles/2015/07/energy-from-waste-tech-offers-on-site-scope.html Retrieved on 8/23/2015

Largest grid-connected African biogas plant comes online

Largest grid-connected African biogas plant comes online

By Anna Simet | August 24, 2015

Tropical Power has brought online a 2.4-MW biogas power plant in Kenya, reportedly the largest grid-connected biogas plant built in Africa to date.

Located at Gorge Farm, an 800-hectare vegetable farm owned by VP Group, the $6.5 million, two-stage George Farm AD plant will take in waste from the operations as feedstock, around 150 metric tons per day, according to Tropical Power. As a byproduct, the plant is estimated to produce over 35,000 metric tons of fertilizer for use on the farm, displacing an estimated 20 percent of synthetic fertilizer.

The plant was manufactured by German technology supplier Snow Leopard and utilizes a two GE ecomagination qualified Jenbacher J420 biogas engines. Other key component suppliers include IET Siemens for switchgear and transformers, SAR GMBH for instrumentation and control systems, BioG for material handling and Paulmichel for agitators and stirring equipment, according to Topical Power.

The plant took less than 12 months to construct, and Tropical Power estimates its payback period to be around 5 and a half years, on account of grid sales and higher-tariff energy supply to Gorge Farm.

Biojoule Kenya, an Independent Power Producer, will own and manage the facility.

In statements issued when the plant was being commissioned, Mike Nolan, operations director of Tropical Power, said the plant is 50 percent owned and has employed 50 Kenyans in its development. “It will provide a great shop front for other African project developers to view cutting-edge biogas technology and skills,” he said.

Soon to be added to the facility is 10-MW, grid-connected solar PV plant run by Solarjoule.

Source: http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/12340/largest-grid-connected-african-biogas-plant-comes-online. Retrieved on 8/24/2015