Clean, sustainable energy production initiatives from Brazil, China, Ghana, Mali and Senegal. Plus a look at the work of the Rural Energy Enterprise Development (REED) whose ambitious goal is to fulfil some of the enormous potential for new and dynamic businesses to deliver clean energy services to more than two billion people in the developing world outside the urban areas.

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Gas Giants – Ghana

Burning fuelwood contributes to the devastating environmental problems of deforestation and global warming. People suffer directly, too: 1.4 million deaths every year are due to smoke related ill-health. An entrepreneur in Ghana has created a practical solution by redesigning LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) stoves to suit local cooking pots and securing support from a finance company to help households invest in more efficient, clean-burning stoves.

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Liquid Growth – Brazil

Electricity grids fail to reach many of the rural regions of Brazil and farmers are restricted to growing crops in the six-month rainy season. A local company, Village Ambiental, saw the potential connection between the demand for irrigation and appropriate technology to supply water – solar powered pumps. However, they needed working capital and conventional finance institutions were reluctant to back a new business. The Brazil Rural Energy Development (B-REED) initiative came to their assistance in increasing crop yields and making good business sense.

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Biobusters – China

The Nature Conservancy has been working with people in southern China to introduce wood-saving technologies, especially fuel-efficient stoves, biogas and solar water heating. From a modest start new businesses are now ensuring that fuelwood saving and replacement technologies are really taking off.

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Pumping it Up – Senegal

Water is the source of all life. Communities in Senegal have been lacking a reliable supply of water to use at home and in their fields. Many of the wind pumps installed to address the shortage have not been maintained. A new credit scheme, devised by a local entrepreneur, means villages have access to an affordable water supply service. The entrepreneur can now buy the spare parts needed to rehabilitate the wind pumps and his clients have been able to increase their crop yields and their incomes.

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Pollen Power – Brazil

Pollen has been called the only perfectly complete food. It contains proteins, sugars and starch as the main constituents as well as various other substances, including several vitamins and minerals. The proprietor of Operarias do Mel recognised a gap in the market to supply pollen for use as a health and nutrition supplement, especially in the field of sport. Assisted by the B-REED programme, Operarias do Mel is now processing and selling pollen, using a hybrid solar-based drier that was specifically developed with the assistance of the programme.

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Rise and Shine – Mali

In a country like Mali, where the sun shines intensely almost every day, few rural people have access to electricity, and firewood supplies are scarce and depleted, it makes practical as well as environmental sense to use solar energy as much as possible. One enterprise is using the flat roof of its office for solar drying of fruit, vegetables and meat, as a method of preserving food that would otherwise spoil in the hot climate.

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REED – Supporting Entrepreneurs to Develop Clean Energy Businesses

Fulfilling some of the enormous potential for new and dynamic businesses to deliver clean energy services to more than two billion people in the developing world outside the urban areas is the ambitious goal of REED (Rural Energy Enterprise Development). REED partners recognise that accessing investment capital is the biggest constraint to the development of many small and medium sized enterprises in clean and renewable energy and have given priority to addressing this matter. However, for most of the enterprises they have supported, REED partners have not just facilitated access to loans and finance, but have also offered a more comprehensive range of business development services.

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