By Emily Haves, Ashden Research Programme Coordinator
Please note we only accept email applications for the Ashden Awards.
By Carla Jones, Ashden Communications Assistant
How do you get to become the UK’s greenest hospital? A good start is to have a passionate communicator like Susan Osborne, who has succeeded in galvanising staff throughout the University Hospital of South Manchester (UHSM) to play their part in helping the hospital cut carbon and save money.
Ever thought about how much light you need to power your life? Award-winning American photographer Peter DiCampo visited Northern Ghana to find out just how hard it is to live without access to something we take for granted. His images give insight into the experience of the 1.4 billion people who currently live without electricity; people relying on candles, kerosene lanterns or torches to carry out daily activities.
With fuel prices soaring and our energy supplies running out, government plans are afoot to reform our electricity market. But what are the real issues at stake here? To get the views of someone from one of the smaller, green electricity suppliers Carla Jones spoke to Juliet Davenport, CEO of Ashden Award winning green electricity supplier Good Energy, about her perspective on this debate.
CJ: Why does the electricity market need reforming – what’s wrong with our current system?
JD: The current market is a product of another time. It is designed around using easily accessible and plentiful fossil fuel supplies to deliver cheap energy, with little consideration for the long-term impact that would have.
Last month a background paper was published for the World Bank’s World Development Report 2012. The paper reviewed what is currently known about the impact on women and girls of expanding access to energy. While we often hear about the benefits to women of gaining access to energy, it is only recently that there has been in-depth investigation into the ways in which this works.
We’ve joined a group of influential European and Sub-Saharan civil society groups in calling on the EU to achieve universal energy access and eradicate energy poverty by 2030. The initiative, “Energy for All by 2030” aims to grab the attention of European leaders and leverage European funds to bring sustainable energy to everyone, but focusing particularly on Africa, the region hardest hit.
The initiative calls for European leaders to:
As well as time-guzzling and addictive many people don’t realise electronic gadgets are also very energy-guzzling, and a new report from the Energy Saving Trust is very timely for highlighting this.
Land being acquired to grow biomass fuels could threaten local food crops and puts extra pressure on food security in the developing world – that’s the warning from a new briefing paper put out by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) this month.
European carbon reduction targets will increase demand for biomass fuels. One estimate suggests this will require an additional 90 million tonnes of biomass per year to fuel electricity, heating and cooling. This demand for biomass will quickly outstrip national supply and push companies to look for sources beyond the usual suppliers in places like Russia and North America to the developing world - largely tropical regions where plants grow more quickly. There’s no evidence that shifting biomass fuel production to developing countries will improve local energy access, and there is much concern that it could increase local vulnerability as plantations compete with food crops for the most fertile land in areas where land rights and food security are already an issue.