Two Indian firms have won the prestigious Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, considered as the “Green Oscar“.
A cash prize of 20,000 pounds each was also given to them at a ceremony held here last night.
Pankaj Patel, Chief of the Abellon Clean Energy, Gujarat, received the International Award and cash prize of 20,000 pounds on behalf of the company for producing biomass pellets from crop waste to fuel Gujarat’s industries and for giving farmers a market for their waste products.
Sarah Butler-Sloss, Founder director of the Ashden Awards and chair of the judging panel said: “Abellon has devised a system that relies on a local clean source of energy to reduce Co2, by replacing dirty industrial fuels, drive economic growth, improve crops yields and support farmers.”
“This is a showcase example of how the use of local, clean energy can provide effective and commercially viable solutions to local challenges. We hope others can learn from this exciting and successful initiative,” Butler-Sloss said.
Abellon currently produces over 65,000 tonnes of biomass pellets a year and aims to open two more pellet plants in Gujarat in the next five years, trebling its production and expanding operations into international markets.
Gyanesh Pandey received the award and cash prize on behalf of Husk Power Systems, Bihar, which has built 65 power plants across the state fired by gasified rice husks, embedded local grids and hired local people to help run the operations.
They now supply electricity to around 180,000 people.
Pandey said that the company would expand its work in other villages in India and later go abroad.
“There is bound to be great demand for our project as our plant is the cheapest capital intensive plant,” he said.
Asked whether it was getting any other support, he said the Ministry of New and Renewable energy is subsidising to the extent of 40 per cent of capital cost.
He said that “more villages are clamouring to be connected as the main grid only meets around 10 per cent of demand. The business is growing fast with 270 people trained and employed and HPS is aiming for over 2,000 plants by the end of 2014.”
Ghanian firm Toyola Energy Ltd won the top prize of 40,000 pounds Gold Award for its success in making stoves that burn less charcoal than traditional models and that are accessible to low-income families.
Pakistan’s Aga Khan Planning and Building Service was also awarded for helping families in mountain villages save energy and make their homes warmer through a range of locally-produced devices.
The Awards, started in 2001, aim to encourage the greater use of local clean energy and to address climate change and alleviate poverty.