Tag: Technology

solar schools study

Hot off the presses, a new report released today by SEIA, The Solar Foundation, and Generation 180 shows vast growth in solar on K-12 schools in the United States. Solar capacity on our country’s schools has nearly doubled since the last version of this report in 2014, with 5,489 K-12 schools now powered by solar, totaling nearly 1,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity.

It’s no secret that many American schools are underfunded and classrooms often lack necessary resources for students to learn. Well, with the cost to install solar plummeting, schools are making the switch and seeing their electricity bills shrink, freeing up funds to use to strengthen what schools are here to do, which is teach our nation’s children.

The cost of a solar school installation pops off the page in this report, dropping 67% in the last decade and 19% last year alone. The result is a boom in installations allowing 4 million students in the United States to receive their education in a school powered by solar.

“There’s a reason solar is spreading so quickly across America’s school districts, and it’s pretty simple — when schools go solar, the entire community benefits,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO.

These 5,000+ schools are running with much lower electricity bills, and those savings can go toward higher pay for our nation’s teachers, school supplies, textbooks and other essential resources. An investment in solar on a school is a direct investment in that community. Plus, what could be better than a science and conservation lesson right on the school grounds?

“When schools go solar, the entire community benefits.” – SEIA CEO Abigail Ross Hopper

California schools lead the way in solar adoption with nearly 2,000 schools making the switch. But it’s notable that other states have picked up the pace including New Jersey, Arizona, Massachusetts, and New York. These states are setting an example and laying the groundwork for other states to follow.

When a school goes solar and cuts their energy costs, that puts investment back into what matters most: the students. Learn more about the report here and see if your community’s school has made the smart choice to invest in their community and go solar.

CleanTechnica

Wind and solar energy are the lowest cost options in most of the U.S., and that’ll make it very hard to stop the renewable energy freight train from running over fossil fuels.

Utilities that need to build new power generation facilities or replace old ones are going to have a hard time justifying anything but renewable energy in 2017 and beyond. Investment bank Lazard recently released its 11th analysis of the cost of new electricity generation, titled Lazard’s Levelized Cost Of Energy Analysis–Version 11.0, and showed that wind and solar energy are now cheaper than diesel, nuclear, coal, and in most cases natural gas.

Utilities and regulators are going to be hard-pressed to justify anything but renewable energy generation in the future. From Maine to Hawaii, the U.S.’s energy future is renewable.

Solar farm with wind turbines in the background. IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

How renewable energy costs stack up today

The table below shows Lazard’s analysis of the cost, on a per kWh basis, to build new power plants with different fuel sources and technologies. You can see that the lowest cost option is wind at 3 cents per kWh, followed by gas combined cycle that’s as cheap as 4.2 cents per kWh, and solar, which costs between 4.3 cents and 5.3 cents per kWh.

Energy source Low-End Estimate High-End Estimate
Crystalline Utility-Scale Solar PV 4.6 cents per kWh 5.3 cents per kWh
Thin-Film Utility-Scale Solar PV 4.3 cents per kWh 4.8 cents per kWh
Wind 3 cents per kWh 6 cents per kWh
Coal 6 cents per kWh 14.3 cents per kWh
Natural Gas Combined Cycle 4.2 cents per kWh 7.8 cents per kWh
Nuclear 12.2 cents per kWh 18.3 cents per kWh
Diesel 19.7 cents per kWh 28.1 cents per kWh
DATA SOURCE: LAZARD’S LEVELIZED COST OF ENERGY ANALYSIS–VERSION 11.0.

What you’ll also notice is that the range of costs is much wider for fossil fuels like natural gas. That’s because construction costs can be different depending on the state, fuel prices, and how often the plant is being used. Renewable energy, on the other hand, gets to cut to the front of the line on the grid, meaning nearly 100% of its electricity production is used, allowing for predictable electricity pricing.

What’s clear is that diesel, nuclear, and coal are all higher cost than both wind and solar energy on a per kWh basis. No matter how you slice it, renewable energy is winning versus fossil fuels on economics.

I’ll also point out that there’s no fuel cost risk for renewable energy. The wind and sun are zero-cost fuel sources, unlike extracted fuels, which could conceivably spike from current levels.

Trends are working against fossil fuels

It wasn’t long ago that Lazard’s analysis wasn’t so favorable to renewable energy. In 2010, version 4.0 of Lazard’s levelized cost of energy study had wind costs at 6.5-11.0 cents per kWh and solar at 13.4-19.4 cents per kWh. Natural gas, coal, and nuclear all beat solar on a cost basis, and in some cases beat wind.

Energy source Low-End Estimate High-End Estimate
Crystalline Utility-Scale Solar PV 13.4 cents per kWh 15.4 cents per kWh
Thin-Film Utility-Scale Solar PV 13.4 cents per kWh 18.8 cents per kWh
Wind 6.5 cents per kWh 11.0 cents per kWh
Coal 6.9 cents per kWh 15.2 cents per kWh
Natural Gas Combined Cycle 6.7 cents per kWh 9.6 cents per kWh
Nuclear 7.7 cents per kWh 11.4 cents per kWh
DATA SOURCE: LAZARD’S LEVELIZED COST OF ENERGY ANALYSIS–VERSION 4.0.

Clearly, the tides have shifted in the energy industry. Fossil fuels is at best flat and in some cases getting more expensive, while renewable energy costs are coming down every year. There’s no indication these trends will reverse course, and investors need to consider whether they’re using renewable energy’s growth as a tailwind for their portfolio or fighting the clear trends in energy. If these charts are any indication, fossil fuels’ days may be numbered.

The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), the island’s sole distributor of electricity, said it will be doubling its expenditure on energy projects by December this year in an attempt to drive down the cost of energy.

JPS views the investment as key to driving efficiencies, according to Chairman Seji Kawamura, who was appointed earlier this year, as well as incoming President and CEO Emanuel DaRosa, who takes up that position effective August 1.

The big project entails the construction of its cutting-edge storage facility, which will store energy produced at renewable plants.

“This year, we are spending US$100 million on investments on the purchase of properties and plant and equipment,” stated Kawamura following the JPS’s annual general meeting at its Knutsford Boulevard, New Kingston, head office on Friday.

The JPS spent US$56 million and US$65 million, respectively, on the purchase of property, plant, and equipment in the 2016 and 2015 financial years.

“We are making sure that when the renewables are coming in, that there must be a storage system to accommodate them,” Kawamura said.

In June, the JPS announced plans to build a 24.5-megawatt facility to store energy as a safeguard against power outages. It was described as the first of its kind in the Caribbean.

ACTING LIKE A BATTERY

The light and power supplier plans to build the facility next year, but no cost was disclosed at the time. It will act like a giant battery that charges when solar or wind-energy plants generate energy. It then kicks into action to feed the grid the power these renewable plants generate when there is cloud cover or low wind speeds.

“This represents the confidence of shareholders in the future of the business,” Kawamura said, explaining that renewables would reduce the reliance on oil imports, the cost of which are passed on to customers.

“So we will charge less fuel on the bill to you, so we are not making it more expensive,” he added.

Kawamura and DaRosa lauded the outgoing president and chief executive officer, Kelly Tomlin, and indicated that she had put the company in a good position for growth.

The JPS made US$24 million net profit on revenues of US$712.5 million for its 2016 financial year or 9.4 per cent less net profit than a year earlier.

“We are taking up from where Kelly has left off. We are not ignoring what she’s done,” said Kawamura.

He added that the major Asian-based shareholders want to raise the return on equity, which hovered at six per cent for its 2016 financial year (US$24 million over total equity at US$395.4 million). Japanese-based Marubeni and Korean-based East West Power each own 40 per cent of the JPS, while the Government of Jamaica holds 19 per cent and individual investors owning the remainder.

“At this moment, we cannot say that we are satisfied. There are things to do before we can achieve that target,” Kawamura said, adding that investment in equipment and plant remains a priority, along with maintaining the quality of service to customers. “Then the return that we want will be gained. But we have to earn it.”

Tomblin served as JPS president and CEO for five years after joining in 2012, following the departure of Damian Obiglio, who, himself, served for five years in the position. Obliglio led the organisation during period of oil spikes, which led to costly light bills, which reduced customer goodwill for the utility.

Tomblin entered the market as a personable CEO who focused on customer service. Her leadership also coincided with a reduction in oil prices since summer 2014.

BIG HEART

DaRosa, a Canadian, prior to his appointment at the JPS served as the CEO of the Northwest Territories Power Corporation.

“The reason we chose him is because he has a big heart. The perception of the customers might be different due to gender. But still, love is love,” said Kawamura, referring to DaRosa.

DaRosa pledges to lead the energy distribution monopoly with compassion. “Every organisation has to have a heart, otherwise it will fail,” DaRosa told Gleaner Business.

Tomblin did a “fantastic job” for the people of Jamaica, reasoned DaRosa, adding that he will certainly continue down that path without any major course correction.

“My number-one priority is the health and safety of the general public, employees, and contractors. That’s imperative for JPS as a utility. Number two is that I will focus on efficiency to ensure that JPS is the most efficient organisation that it can be. Number three would be the socio-economic development for the people of Jamaica,”he said.

The JPS can have a positive impact on the economy through conservation, he added.

Outgoing JPS President Kelly Tomblin.

Power utility Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) plans to build a 24.5-megawatt facility to store energy as a safeguard against power outages.

It’s described as the first of its kind in the Caribbean.

JPS plans to build the facility next year, but no cost was disclosed up to press time. It will act like a giant battery that charges when solar- or wind-energy plants generate energy. It then kicks into action, the less power these renewable plants generate due to cloud cover or low wind speeds.

“The proposed initiative will allow JPS to provide a high-speed response when the output from renewables is suddenly reduced to mitigate stability and power quality issues that cause outages to customers,” stated JPS in a release.

The company did not respond immediately to questions seeking more details. It initially said the release, which appeared on the Jamaica Stock Exchange’s website, was not meant to be made public until Monday.

Peak energy usage in Jamaica starts at 6.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m, which represents a leisure peak, rather than an economic development peak. That becomes important as solar plants reduce power generation just as the peak period starts.

PROVIDING VALUE

Additionally, wind farms optimally generate power at nights but after peak periods. The storage facility would, therefore, provide value as it comes into effect at peak periods utilising the power already stored.

The facility requires regulatory approval from the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) but in anticipation, the JPS board of directors last week signed off on the hybrid energy storage solution, the release stated. The project involves construction of a 24.5MW facility at the Hunts Bay Power Plant Substation, and will be a combination of high-speed and low-speed flywheels and containerised lithium-ion batteries. Once approved for construction, it would become operational by the third quarter of 2018.

“The innovation will help to secure grid stability and reliability in the face of increasing intermittent renewable energy. The energy storage solution will have power readily available in the event that solar and wind renewable systems, suddenly lose power due to cloud cover, reduced wind or other interruptions,” stated the release.

It will also provide a much faster, cost effective and environmentally friendly spinning reserve or backup as an alternative to traditional generation spinning reserve which is required by the company.

INCREASED FLEXIBILITY

Additionally, the JPS is seeking to convert more generating units to use liquefied natural gas (LNG). This will result in increased flexibility of the generating units, as the JPS moves to ensure that customers have a more reliable, affordable and sustainable quality service. JPS continues to steadily diversify from solely heavy oil fuel to include natural gas and some 115MW of renewables.

Energy efficiency is now an integral part of JPS’ push to become a more modern and cleaner energy provider.

Jamaica has an energy intensity of approximately 4,800 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per US$1,000 of gross domestic product. To put that into perspective, last December outgoing JPS president Kelly Tomblin described it as one of the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean. She indicated that such inefficient use of energy constrains Jamaica’s growth.

The country, however, has made some gains in its efficiency drive. It ranked 92nd in the World Economic Forum’s Global Energy Architecture Performance Index Report 2017, up from 98 the year before.

The rise in rank was attributed to the 80MW of renewables added in 2016 and plans for an additional 100MW of renewable this year.

In Jamaica last year, Wigton Wind Farm III added 24MW of renewable capacity, BMR Windfarm added 36.3MW, and WRB Content Solar, 20MW. The country saved around US$18 million (J$2.3 billion) in oil imports based on the 80MW renewable energy projects.

Concurrently, those renewable projects saved 800,000 metric tonnes in toxic carbon emissions, according to the energy ministry.

From left: Renford Smith, Marcus Grant and Alan Searchwell connecting the electrical components of a solar panel at the Wigton Renewable Energy Training Lab in Rose Hill, Manchester, recently.

As the debate intensifies over the possible rate increases which could face Jamaicans as more and more customers leave the Jamaica Public Service Company’s (JPS) grid, there are calls for a collaborative approach to the issue.

Manager of the Grid Performance Department at the JPS, Lincoy Small, says the various stakeholders must engage in dialogue to find an approach to provide the cheapest source of electricity to Jamaicans.

According to Small, it cannot be a matter of either renewable energy (RE) or staying on the JPS grid but a combination of the two.

“JPS is not telling people that renewable is not the way to go, because JPS even operates renewable facilities, but the key thing is to get them (grid and RE) working together in tandem to come up with the best synergy of what is best for the customer and what is best for the country,” said Small.

His comments came as Robert Wright, president of the Jamaica Solar Energy Association, told The Sunday Gleaner he has no desire for Jamaicans to leave the JPS grid.

Grid Stability

Wright said he strongly believes RE should be maximised and not just limited to large systems scattered across the island, but smaller systems distributed right across the country.

“When you have these smaller systems spread across the country it provides for better grid stability, and also it allows for more people to participate in clean energy as opposed to simply relying on large solar farms,” said Wright.

But Small said, based on experience due to the unpredictability of RE, the JPS sometimes has to resort to load shedding when customers jump on and off the grid.

He reiterated that JPS’s customers could face additional cost if the impact of RE on the grid is not handled carefully.

“So we are accepting solar power from the customers and as soon as something happens it drops off, and does so much quicker than the grid can even respond on some of those occasions, and as a result you have to be running expensive machines that are quicker to deal with those sun drop-offs or have to shed people’s light,” argued Small.

“And if you run these expensive machines or shed people’s light it means the overall cost to run the grid is going to be absorbed by the customer; you are going to have to pay for a more expensive energy source.”

The JPS executive said the company is actively seeking to incorporate new technology to deal with the loss of the intermittent renewable resources.

But Wright argued that the good news for Jamaicans is that the cost of RE is declining rapidly, enabling it to compete with traditional sources of energy.

“A system that a typical household would need in Jamaica two years ago would cost $1 million; that same system today cost $500,000, so we have seen a significant drop in prices,” said Wright.

“Also what is revolutionary is that the cost of batteries has gone down a lot, so now, even more than before, we will be able to offer that to residential customers at an affordable price.

“What is becoming more available now are systems called micro-inverters, and these allow you to install a very simple rooftop system which is cheaper, faster to install and is more appropriate for affordable housing developments, and so on.”

Batteries Expensive

But Small countered that with solar and wind on average only available for 20 and 35 per cent of the day, respectively, and the cost of buying and replacing batteries being expensive, it might be cheaper for customers to get their power from the JPS grid when RE is not available.

“It (solar) is a good thing to have, but it cannot be operated in isolation, and that is something a lot of people in the solar business not telling their customers,” said Small.

“Because even if you get a panel or a wind turbine and you get the battery, you are going to need a grid to at least charge up that battery for the 80 per cent of the time you are without solar or the 65 per cent of the time you are without wind.

“Plus, you will have to be replacing the battery every two to three years for full value, and batteries cost much more than solar panels.”

Small said the JPS is focused on supplying power as cheaply as possible so persons can take the cheap power from the grid rather than go buy a battery and use the solar power and the wind when it is available.

With Jamaica being a signatory to the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the utilisation of more RE forms part of the National Energy Policy which sees the country aiming to have 30 per cent RE penetration by 2030.

The country is currently at approximately 10 per cent of the quota, with roughly 300 net billing customers (those who have solar systems which allows them to consume energy and sell surplus) and around 10 larger customers.

Gleaner

A smart meter is seen on display at the launch.         Ricardo Makyn

The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) launched their nationwide smart meter roll-out at the JPS headquarters on July 7.

According to President and CEO of JPS Kelly Tomblin, “the future of energy is bright… Jamaica and JPS are embedded in a phase of unprecedented progress”. Gary Barrow, chief technology officer at JPS, underscored the importance of smart meters and the benefits to the current national grid.

“We’re actually putting more intelligence in the grid to provide the stability and reliability that is going to be necessary when we start to integrate mass amounts of these renewables and that is really the start of our smart grid, the primary driver,” he said. “This year, we’re going to be launching three applications … those are going to be smart-phone applications.” On these applications, customers will be able to get outage notifications, restoration times, and real-time consumption and see their bill online and pay it.

“All of our appliances in a short while will become Wi-Fi-enabled and it will mean that you will be able to use your smartphone wherever you are, whatever time, to actually look at your devices, to get access to your devices and turn them on and off,” he said. The company is also investing in other smart grid technologies and services, including smart LED street lighting, smart parking and smart vehicle-charging stations for electric vehicles. This is all part of building a smart energy economy.

A pilot programme was launched three years ago in sections of the Jacks Hill and Barbican communities and Barrow said the company learned much from both customers and on the technical side.

“Already, we have over 50,000 smart meters in the field right now that we’re able to control remotely and we’re able to get usage patterns, but we don’t have the software that actually allows our customers to dial in.”

This year, the company is targeting to roll out over 20,000 smart meters on that network at a cost of approximately US$5 million. Seven parishes will be covered: Kingston, St Catherine, Clarendon, St Ann, St Mary, St James and Westmoreland. JPS technicians will visit customers over the next four to five months and will change the current meters free of cost

NCB Group headquarters, The Atrium, at Trafalgar Road, New Kingston. The banking group’s energy initatives have cuts its electricity bill by 20 per cent across its network.

National Commercial Bank Jamaica (NCB) has cut its energy consumption by 20 per cent over the past four years and is projecting half-billion dollars of new savings over the next four.

By tinting its windows, changing its light and air-conditioning units, and installing some solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, the bank hopes to cut its electricity bill by another eight per cent in 2016.

If it achieves its latest goal, NCB would spend $140 million less on energy this year than it would if it had not implemented any of the energy-saving initiatives that started in 2011.

Back then, the financial institution forked out over $600 million to keep the lights on. Air conditioning accounted for more than 60 per cent of the energy use while lighting accounted for another 20 per cent, so it was decided that light-emitting diode (LED) lights would be installed across its locations, while high efficiency air-condition units and solar systems have been put in place at select sites, such as NCB’s head office on Trafalgar Road.

Reflective tinting on windows, roof insulation, and automated light controls have also helped protect the bank’s buildings from heat infiltration and have enhanced the energy-saving process.

This year, NCB plans to “continue implementing projects to install high-efficiency air-conditioning systems at relevant locations and increase the use of LED and PV panels,” according to the latest annual report.

So far, it has spent $500 million to implement various energy-reduction initiatives.

“We have an energy portfolio that is continuously being assessed, and our expenditure is guided by our environmental policy and, therefore, is subject to variations,” said NCB in reply to Sunday Business queries.

With the energy-saving expenditure, the banking group has so far avoided some $300 million in energy cost over the past four years, and expects to save another $500 million over the next four, based on current energy rates.

NCB can also boast a positive contribution to the environment. By reducing its energy consumption by 2.7 million kilowatt-hours – which is equivalent to the electricity used by 1,350 homes in Jamaica – it has reduced its footprint by approximately 1,800 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. That’s the equivalent of the emissions given off by a plane making 25 round trips to and from New York, or by 100 cars driving from Kingston to Mandeville and back every day for a year.

Yang Xiaorui (left) shows Phillip Paulwell, minister of science, technology, energy and mining, an area of the oil and gas exploration vessel that docked at the Port of Kingston yesterday.

International oil and gas explorers are once again in Jamaican waters with the blessing of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and promises to the local fishing community.

This time, the explorers are venturing on a data-collection exercise.

The first exploration company in 10 years to re-energise the search for oil offshore, the United Kingdom-based Tullow Oil has brought the gamut of data-capturing equipment for the second phase of its venture.

“This is a major deal for Jamaica’s oil-and-gas exploration,” asserted Phillip Paulwell, minister of science, technology, energy and mining, during a tour of the vessel, BGP Challenger, yesterday at the Kingston Port.

Paulwell, who was accompanied on the tour by State Minister Julian Robinson, said: “For them to start this work, they had to get approval from NEPA, and they have signed an important agreement with our fisherfolk in the event of any matter for full compensation.”

In November 2014, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) signed a production-sharing agreement with Tullow Oil (Jamaica) for oil and gas exploration in Jamaica’s offshore areas.

“We first started (explorations) in the 1980s when the then Government of Jamaica was responsible for funding,” said Paulwell.

He asserted that it has gained momentum with the private sector coming on board with Tullow Oil signing an agreement.

Paulwell told The Gleaner that US$70 million was committed to the project.

“They have so far spent US$10 million, and this exercise will cost them another US$4 million to acquire additional data.”

He added: “Although we are convinced that we have oil and gas in and around Jamaica, we really have to pinpoint the location before drilling can take place.”

He continued: “They have demonstrated a firm commitment, in spite of the fact that the price of oil has plummeted.”

The minister noted that when the agreement was signed 15 months ago, the price of oil was well over US$100 a barrel.

“Today, it is about US$30, but they are still committed, and not only them, since we signed the agreement, others have approached PCJ.”

NEGOTIATIONS ONGOING

Paulwell disclosed that negotiations are ongoing with another major firm.

“Shortly, we are going to sign another agreement,” he said.

“It means that there is a high level of ‘prospectivity’ and there is tremendous confidence in what we have done so far,” he added.

John McKenna, external affairs manager of the London-based Tullow Oil, who has been involved in the project since its onset, said the second phase related to the imaging of the seabed.

“This is the second part, which is the two-dimensional seismic expedition programme.”

He noted that it involves the acquiring of more than 3,000 kilometres of additional data.

“We are focusing initially on the eastern part of the offshore where very little data has been acquired in the past.”

The Gleaner

Khan … I would say to the private sector, look at investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The new global climate deal, reached after two weeks of intense negotiations, is a signal to the private sector, local and international, of the need to reassess current investment flows.

Jamaican negotiator Dr Orville Grey said the private sector will be critical, given the stated goal of the new deal of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 28C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.58C above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change”.

“The private sector will at some point have to take the lead because the technologies that are likely to take us to carbon neutrality will likely come from the private sector and not the public sector, at least as it relates to technology,” Grey, coordinator for adaptation for the Alliance of Small Island States during the negotiations, told The Gleaner.

If the world is to meet the ‘well-below-two’ target, it will require a significant shift in the current high levels of consumption of fossil fuels, including coal and oil, towards renewables such as solar and wind.

Colonel Oral Khan, chief technical director in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change and himself a member of the Jamaica delegation to the talks, was in full agreement.

“The private sector is encouraged under this agreement to support the mobilisation of finance to support adaptation and mitigation,” he said.

On Jamaica’s private sector, Khan said: “The State has submitted its intended nationally determined contribution commitment to [reducing greenhouse gas emissions] to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) Secretariat. Our commitment is consistent with the goal of our National Energy Policy. I would say to the private sector, look at investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency. In time, I hope that we will see more entities entering into public-private partnerships.”

A Historic Turning Point

Neither Grey nor Khan is alone in their thinking; international leaders in business have echoed their sentiments.

“The business case for eliminating greenhouse gases by 2050 is irrefutable. Indeed, solving climate change presents the greatest economic and social development opportunity of our time,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, in a release to the media on Saturday.

“The new climate agreement is a historic turning point. Now business can and must innovate to lead the transition to a clean economy. Together, it is our duty as human beings, responsible citizens and business leaders to protect the environment. A transition to a clean and green economy will lift millions out of poverty, and ensure the planet’s health for generations to come,” he added.

Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, mirrored his comments.

“This is truly a turning point in human history. We now have the chance to advance the well-being of people everywhere, while creating millions of new jobs and ending our reliance on fossil fuels,” she said in the same release.

“This will help us build a safer, more peaceful world for all. This is exactly what business needs in order to thrive in the long run,” added Huffington.

The Gleaner

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 11.52.08

A solar panel on a thatch roof in Sub-saharan Africa is part of the Azuri PayGo Energy project, which provides eight hours of emission-free lighting each day and enough power to charge cellphones. Users pay a one-time installation fee and top-up as their needs demand.

PARIS, France (UNFCCC) – Sixteen game-changing initiatives from around the world were honoured as winners of a prestigious United Nations climate change award at a special ceremony at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, on yesterday evening.

“These ‘Lighthouse Activities’ shine a light on the groundswell of climate action around the world,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a keynote address. “As the world moves toward a future built on low-emissions sustainable development, these bold ideas can inspire leaders to be more ambitious in their own policies and actions.”

The Momentum for Change initiative is spearheaded by the UN Climate Change Secretariat to shine a light on some of the most innovative, scalable and replicable examples of what people are doing to address climate change. This year’s winning activities range from a seriously cool smartphone that puts social values first, to an initiative that is enabling 40 Latin American cities to take concrete climate action.

“I am honoured to celebrate the leadership shown by the people, organisations, companies, and governments recognised as winners of the 2015 Momentum for Change Awards tonight,” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said.

“By showcasing these remarkable solutions and the people behind them we can strengthen efforts that must not only start with an agreement here in Paris, but must continue to build, as we accelerate the global transition to a low-carbon, highly resilient development path,” she said.

To help celebrate and recognise the achievements of the 2015 Lighthouse Activities, attendees at the gala event were treated to powerful photos, inspirational videos and a lively musical performance by Sean Paul.

M Sanjayan, a conservation scientist, writer and Emmy-nominated television news contributor, introduced Conservation International’s newest video in its critically acclaimed Nature for Speaking series, titled Home. Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse CEO and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador, served as the evening’s master of ceremonies.

“Modern clean technologies have transformed the expensive problem of climate change into a profitable opportunity,” said Dr Piccard. “A global economy that is powered by renewable energy, implements energy efficient and minimises waste will not only tackle climate change, but will also generate health, job creation and profit in the communities where they take place.”

Each of the 16 winning activities touches on one of Momentum for Change’s four focus areas: Urban Poor, Women for Results, Financing for Climate Friendly Investment, and ICT Solutions. All 16 were showcased at a series of special events during the UN Climate Change Conference.

They are:

Urban Poor

•E-waste: From Toxic to Green, India: Creating jobs to keep e-waste out of landfills

•Solvatten Solar Safe Water Heater — Kenya: Reducing emissions while securing access to safe drinking water

•Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative | Latin America & the Caribbean: Supporting sustainable growth in emerging cities

Women for Results

•Fostering Cleaner Production — Colombia: Reducing emissions in manufacturing

•Harvesting Geothermal Energy — El Salvador: Generating income with geothermal waste-heat

•Planting Trees to Save the Mangrove — Guinea: Establishing women-led groups that protect forests and generate income

•SELF’s Solar Market Gardens — Benin: Empowering women farmers through solar drip irrigation

Financing for Climate Friendly Investment

•Azuri PayGo Energy — Africa: Innovating pay-as-you-go energy systems for rural homes

•Deforestation-free Cocoa — Peru: Using a carbon-asset-backed loan to protect forests and produce cocoa

•Microsoft Global Carbon Fee — Global: Transforming corporate culture by putting a price on carbon

ICT Solutions

•ChargePoint Electric Vehicle Charging Corridors — United States of America: Building a network of electric vehicle express charging stations

•Enabling Farmers to Adapt to Climate Change — Uganda: Using ICT solutions to build resilience

•Fairphone — The Netherlands: Producing a phone that improves lives and the environment

•Lifelink Water Solutions — Kenya and Uganda: Using ICT tools to provide safe, sustainable and affordable water

•Mapping Exposure to Sea Level Rise — Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea: Preparing for risk with online spatial tools

•Mobisol Smart Solar Homes — Rwanda and Tanzania: Powering homes with solar energy

The 2015 Lighthouse Activities were selected by an international advisory panel as part of the secretariat’s Momentum for Change initiative, which is implemented with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation, and operates in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative.

Jamaica Observer