Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Why blueEnergy

blueEnergy (bE) is a non-governmental organization (NGO), a not-for-profit entity with the mission of providing sustainable rural development through the installation and long-term support of hybrid renewable energy systems: wind turbines and solar PV panels coupled to battery banks, which normalize power availability. bE also supports social and economic development as communities evolve as a result of this electricity.

The current focus of bE’s efforts are remote communities on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua: the poorest regions of the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. These communities will serve as benchmarks and dynamic learning environments to move forward and better inform broader plans to expand to other locations in Nicaragua, central America, and throughout Africa. A huge percentage of people in developing countries lack basic electricity access, due to inaccessibility or financial infeasibility of expanding an existing electrical grid, and sustainable, renewable energy sources can provide much needed support for improved heath care, education, access to clean water, and economic opportunities such as micro-enterprises in fishing, manufacturing, and food production.

The turbines and PV panel supports are manufactured in coalition with a Bluefields-based technical school, using locally sourced materials and labor. The day-to-day activities and facility management of bE are supported through the employment of local staff members.

From our point of view, the central element that makes bE different from many other organizations that install similar renewable energy systems is their dedication to community involvement and long-term follow-through. It’s one thing to dump money somewhere and leave with a lightened heart. It’s another entirely to promote active community involvement and commitment to the technology, to provide training to energy commission members to operate and maintain these systems, and to help secure wider investment from outside sources to help insure lasting project sustainability.

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