Ashden Awards 2007: Celebrating Global Innovation in Practical Clean Technology

TreeHugger tends to cover some pretty high-end, glamorous technologies, but we are constantly reminded that much of the technology (and the know-how) needed to get us out of our present crisis is already here. While we may gawp over space age electric cars such as the Tesla, or the latest in thin-film solar, ultimately, much of the work needing to be done is in arguably less 'sexy', but equally important, fields such as home insulation, energy efficiency advice, and simple, small scale power generation. We are delighted, then, to be once again covering the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy (see our previous posts on the 2005 and 2006 awards, or our coverage of specific previous finalists here, here and here). We have just heard that this years' short list has been announced, and it looks as impressive as ever. Divided into a UK section, and an international section, this prestigious award sets out to be "an annual competition to identify and reward organizations which have carried out truly excellent, practical, yet innovative schemes, demonstrating sustainable energy in action at a local level." And this years' crop of nominees represent, without doubt, a perfect example of the broad spectrum of fronts on which the battle against climate change is currently being fought - while some nominees are purveyors of fancy solar panels, or the latest in wind-turbine technology, they stand alongside simple micro-hydro schemes, basic ram pump technology, efficient wood stoves, and basic energy efficiency advisors. All have their place in securing a brighter, more secure future for our planet.

This year the prizes are to be presented at the Ashden Awards ceremony held at the Royal Geographical Society, London, on 21st June by none other than Al Gore, and the event will be attended by grassroots, public sector and business enterprises from around the world. In a statement of support, Mr Gore said:

"The Ashden Awards are a powerful reminder that well designed and managed local sustainable energy initiatives can tackle climate change while meeting the needs of local communities. Tackling these issues simultaneously - in both rich and poor countries - is critical to addressing the twin planetary challenges of climate change and sustainable development."

On the UK front, organizations put forward include green energy pioneers Ecotricity (see also our interview with Ecotricity CEO Dale Vince here) and wood heating specialists Wood Energy. Cumbria Energy Efficiency Advice Center have also been nominated for their promotion of home insulation, as have ENWORKS for their online resource efficiency advice service, and Nottinghamshire County Council for their work in converting school heating systems from coal to wood. Finally, in this category, another TreeHugger favorite is in the running, namely London-based Solarcentury — the UK's leading provider of solar energy systems (see our interview with CEO Jeremy Leggett here, and our post on their recent expansion to Spain here).

In a separate 'sustainable schools' category, the Ashden Awards are this year recognizing Seaton Primary School, and Woodheys Primary School for their promotion of green energy, both in their buildings, and in their curriculum.

Finally, the international awards also offer an equally impressive array of nominees, including Peruvian micro-hydro developers Practical Action, Philippino NGO Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc, nominated for their work in promoting ram pump technology to remote rural villages, and the Centre for Rural Technology, which was short listed for its efforts to upgrade water mills in Nepalese villages. Various solar companies are also up for awards, including Sunlabob Renewable Energies Ltd in Laos, Deng Ltd in Ghana, Zara Solar in Tanzania, and Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha in Bangladesh. Finally, in the biogas category, the nominees are BIOTECH in India, SKG Sangha (also in India), and Beijing Shenzhou Daxu Bio-energy Technology Company Ltd in China.

All in all we are very pleased to see such a broad range of practical, down-to-earth, clean technology providers working across the world to reduce emissions. We are also delighted to see the Ashden Awards working so hard to gain recognition for these groups.::Ashden Awards::

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