A Switch in Time


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The Solar Sell – China

With the largest population in the world and a rapidly growing economy, China faces many problems with electricity supply. Not only is the existing coal-powered electricity grid damaging the environment, it is also failing to meet the needs of millions of rural dwellers. The Chinese Renewable Energy Development Project, implemented by the World Bank’s Asia Asia Sustainable and Alternative Energy Programme (ASTAE), is acting to help resolve this problem. By advocating and supporting the adoption of good quality solar home systems, the aim is to provide a reliable, environmentally sound source of electricity to those who have been left without.

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Tapping the Wind – India

For the impoverished people of Muppandal, lacking the electrical power needed to work their way out of poverty, the answer may be blowing in the wind. The local people are thanking Varuna, the Hindu God of the wind, for blowing unexpected good fortune their way. However, the Indian government has financed their good fortune with tax breaks for foreign firms looking to establish fields of wind turbines in the southern region of India. The turbines not only produce a renewable and environmentally friendly source of electricity, they also spawn investment in the local community, which has raised incomes on a wider scale.

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Switched On Women – Bangladesh

Women char dwellers in Bangladesh face some of the most demanding conditions of any human settlement. Living on remote islands that move from year to year because of monsoon rains, female char dwellers are left with few opportunities for gaining access to electricity. ‘Opportunity for Women in Renewable Energy Technology Utilisation in Bangladesh’ is a project that has established a system to empower women at the same time as providing much-needed electricity. The Coastal Electrification and Women’s Development Co-operative construct solar lamps to provide char communities with off-grid, renewable energy.

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Plant Power – India

India is the world’s sixth largest energy consumer, consuming about 3 per cent of the world’s total energy per year.? With a population of over one billion people living in an area of just under 3?million km2, it is the second most populous country in the world, behind only China.

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Home Grown Loans – Sri Lanka

In a globalised world, small communities are exposed to social and economic marginalisation on an unprecedented scale. As part of the Energy Services Delivery Project in Sri Lanka, the Sarvodaya Economic Enterprise Development Services is attempting to prevent severe marginalisation of remote communities. The mission is to ‘eradicate poverty by promoting empowerment for a sustainable livelihood’. One approach has been to establish a credit scheme to enable local people, who have no grid electricity access, to gain access to solar home systems.

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Electric Revenue – Sri Lanka

Fossil-fuel-powered electricity production and its dissemination via a central electricity board are becoming increasingly expensive in Sri Lanka. Decentralised, renewable energy production is therefore becoming more acceptable and widely used. In Sri Lanka, ITDG’s village micro-hydro projects are helping to deliver decentralised hydro-powered electricity to marginalised communities that have no access to grid-supplied electricity.

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