Indian company wins world's leading green energy prize

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{image-green energy_20062008.jpg}London, Jun 20: An Indian organisation has been named 'Energy Champion 2008' for its role in supporting small businesses by encouraging them to use safer and clearer forms of energy.

The top accolade was awarded to Bangalore-based Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (TIDE) at the glittering Ashden awards ceremony here last night. The prize of 40,000 pounds was presented to TIDE Chief Executive Svati Bhogle by Kenyan Nobel Prize laureate Wangari Maathai. TIDE began its sustainable energy project in the states of Karnataka and Kerala, and is now expanding to Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Ashden awards chairman Sarah Butler-Sloss said, ''Our judges were impressed that TIDE provide much-needed support to small businesses across Southern India, assisting a sector that is often overlooked and involving them in the design of affordable, practical and appropriate technology.

TIDE's stoves and boilers are highly fuel-efficient, improve working conditions and bring great environmental benefits, as well as saving money. The scheme has huge potential to expand, and the Ashden Awards is delighted to be supporting TIDE in bringing these manifold benefits to thousands more small industries.'' Ms Bhogle, while accepting the award, said it was not just an acknowledgement of past success but acceptance of a responsibility and gives us the motivation to venture into uncharted terrain, to first break new ground and then develop it into a beaten track.

''There is serious energy crisis in rural India, but access to energy and its efficient use, accompanied by well-conceived and well-implemented enabling mechanisms, has the potential to transform rural areas,'' she added.

Solar energy pioneers Aryavart Gramin Bank (AGB) in Uttar Pradesh, won a 20,000 pounds Ashden Award. The AGB is expanding access to electricity in villages by offering small loans to its off-grid customers to help them buy solar home systems (SHS).

The rural bank has a bulk supply and an installation agreement with TATA-BP Solar. The scheme is promoted through 289 branches by holding 'credit camps' where customers are invited to sign up. So far, 8,000 systems have been installed and 10,000 customers have joined the scheme, benefiting over 40,000 people.

Accepting the Ashden Award, AGB chairman NK Joshi said, ''I had a sweet dream to light up 25,000 small households with solar power by October 3, 2008, the second anniversary of the bank. I dedicate this award to all the employees of the Aryavart Gramin Bank who have made it their mission to turn my dream into reality.'' Nobel prize-winning environmentalist Wangari Maathai said, ''We celebrate these wonderful energy pioneers, who are responding to the needs of their communities. They have decided to take action in the face of huge challenges, displaying not just patience and persistence, but a sense of urgency and determination.'' We salute these sustainability champions and the Ashden Awards, who help to make their work better-known so that they can continue to inspire others, he added.

The Prince of Wales, Patron of the Ashden Awards, personally congratulated the winners at a separate meeting. A Clarence House spokesperson said, ''The Prince of Wales was deeply encouraged to learn of the solutions demonstrated by the Ashden Awards that can reduce our dependency on a carbon economy. His Royal Highness was particularly impressed by the local sustainable energy initiatives recognised and promoted by the Awards, which not only meet the needs of communities, but tackle climate change and further sustainable development.''


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