Earthspark, a renewable energy NGO, has expanded Haiti's first pre-pay solar micro grid in the town of Les Anglais. It has a 90 kW solar PV array which is enough to provide clean, reliable power to 430 households and businesses. Earthspark will hold two launch events – one on June 1st in Les Anglais and a fundraiser on June 11th in Washington DC. More information is attached and below.
The Inter American Development Bank (IDB) has announced that it will significantly expand investment in renewable energy throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB intends to spend one billion in Haiti to help develop a new energy infrastructure powered by wind, solar, and hydroelectricity. The current fuel shortage in Haiti underscored the importance of renewable, domestic energy for the country's long term development. Click here for a video clip of IDB President Moreno explaining the new initiative. A fact sheet is also attached. I'll include more information as I find it.
Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald wrote a very interesting piece on the UNDP facilitated program in Carrefour Feuilles that turns trash into an alternative, affordable fuel source in the form of briquettes. This initiative, featured in the BBC 2009 World Challenge, cleans up Port au Prince while creating jobs, including for former charcoal vendors. Simply put, there is no solution for rural deforestation without addressing Port au Prince's energy needs. Until that time, cargo truck after cargo truck of wood charcoal will travel to Haiti's largest city every day. This program is ripe for expansion, and eventually, replication. Click here for the article and videos.
InterIntel, an organization devoted to the diffusion of alternative energy technology in Haiti, recently released its first quarterly report, copied below. InterIntel has developed a number of interesting, new partnerships with the private sector and other non profit organizations operating in Haiti. If you would like to learn more after reading the update, take a look at the InterIntel website/blog, which covers a number of issues related to alternative energy in low resource settings.
Haiti is a beautiful country but it would certainly be more so if there were a functional waste management system. What if waste, rather than winding up in the street, ocean, or a landfill could be converted into energy? Port au Prince would become a very clean city in short order. The New York Times carried an article stating that virtually any material containing hydrogen, carbon and oxygen could potentially be converted into fuel. This include plastics, construction debris, forest and lawn trimmings, wood chips, wheat straw, and agricultural waste. This approach could someday help Haiti meet its energy needs without being at the mercy of oil.
Denise Green, a Haitian friend and colleague, wrote a blog in November 2007 urging Haiti to go solar. Over the past year, there has been a tremendous increase in coverage of solar energy. With new interest, developments, and possibilities solar energy could make a real difference in countries such as Haiti where oil fluctuations are felt acutely. Haiti is predictably hot and sunny but apart from traffic lights and a handful of schools and homes, it is not widespread. This could change. Perhaps Haiti can learn from the experiences of other countries.