blueEnergy works to create a more equitable, sustainable world


Newsletter October 2007

blueEnergy a Tech Award laureate / lightning strikes... again / CNN Espanol / hurricane Felix / SF Chronicle / Social Edge

Tech Awards
blueEnergy is one of 25 Innovators from around the world applying technology to benefit humanity
(SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. and BLUEFIELDS, Nicaragua) Sept. 18, 2007 –
blueEnergy, a nonprofit organization manufacturing micro-wind turbines for remote electrification in Nicaragua, was today named one of 25 innovators from around the world to be honored by this year’sThe Tech Museum Awards: Technology Benefiting Humanity. Sponsored by The Tech Museum of Innovation, one of the country’s premier science and technology museums, and presented by Applied Materials, Inc., The Tech Museum Awards honor individuals who are applying technology to benefit humanity and spark global change. blueEnergy was selected from hundreds of nominations sent from 68 countries.
Lightning strikes a third time

blueEnergy suffered its third major lightning strike in less than two months on September 12th. The lightning struck blueEnergy’s shop on the IPCC-INATEC campus in Bluefields in the middle of the night and exacted a large amount of damage. Lost were our internet setup, a host of metering equipment and our large sine wave inverter providing primary power to our workshop and backup power to the school. Lost in the second strike, which occurred previously at the shop in early September was some metering equipment and our second largest inverter, also providing primary power to the shop and backup power to the school. blueEnergy employs standard lightning protection equipment but the three strikes we all abnormally large and overwhelmed the protections. In over 3 years of operations in Nicaragua these are the first strikes to have affected blueEnergy. blueEnergy has understaken a major initiative to re-design its lighting protection system in anticipation of further large strikes.
While the turbines themselves are ok, the power system at INATEC today sits idle since there are no inverters to convert the battery bank’s energy to usable AC energy. When the grid power cuts now, everything comes to a grinding halt.
In total the three strikes over the last two months have cost us over $10,000 in losses and repairs. Unfortunately we are unable to budget these kind of unpredictable losses in our grant proposals – at this time, we are relying on the generosity of our supporters to help us get back on our feet. Please consider making a donation today.
CNN Español
Mathias Craig, executive director of blueEnergy, was profiled as a CNN Hero in June 2007. The Spanish version of the profile was just released and is viewable on the CNN Español television station as well as online here.
End of the first round of the CNN heroes campaign
Again, thank you to everyone that took time out of their busy schedules to support blueEnergy in the first round of voting of the CNN Heroes Viewers’ Choice Awards. Voting closed at 12 noon EST on the 29. october and blueEnergy was leading the second place candidate by over 4,000 votes. We are now awaiting an official tally from CNN.
The vote was a sprited competition and Mathias and blueEnergy would like to acknowledge fellow candidate Josh Sundquist and his organization for their impressive campaign and the work they do building an online, supportive community for amputees all around the world.
hurricane Felix

Hurricane Felix hit the northeast region of Nicaragua on September 4th with winds of up to 260 kilometers per hour, making it a Category 5 hurricane, the most severe on the Saffir-Simpson scale. The worst hit was Puerto Cabezas, an impoverished city of 40,000 where officials said 90 percent of infrastructure was wrecked. Debris of houses smashed up by the storm, downed power lines and uprooted trees litter the ground.
We were fortunate that the storm did not have a strong impact in the Southern Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS) where we are located. We took the precaution of lowering all of our turbines in and north of Bluefields and none were damaged.
Our thoughts are with those in the Northern Region who suffered heavily from this storm. The damage to the infrastructure is now having ripple affects that will affect people adversely for some time.
Puerto Cabezas is our most likely first expansion location on the Coast and they will now need energy and other basic infrastructure development more than ever.
San Francisco Chronicle

Guillaume Craig, associate director of blueEnergy was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle in Sunday’s edition on September 16th. The article was mentioned on the front page and was featured on the cover of the international section. The article can be viewed here.
Social Edge interview

blueEnergy’s executive director Mathias Craig was recently interviewed by the socialedge’s Global X initiative, a program that highlights the work of social entrepreneurs. The interview went live on socialedge’s website on August 14th, with the intro "Watch Mathias Craig as he tells Global X how he felt (not too good!) the day he came back to Nicaragua only to realize that the community was using electricity to watch Mexican telenovellas (soap operas). That is, until his brother walked by the school...". See the interview here.
Support blueEnergy
blueEnergy is expanding its infrastructure at a rapid rate to meet the tremendous demand for its services in Nicaragua. In the last month blueEnergy expanded it’s shop space by 25%, acquired full use of a truck and brought its number of local workers to 11 and number of international volunteers in Nicaragua to 10. As with many early stage organization, blueEnergy works hard to stretch every dollar to the limit and we have indeed achieved tremendous results with very limited funding. The future holds great promise for blueEnergy but public support is needed to help us get there.
The past two months have been difficult for blueEnergy due to the 3 lighting strikes (one at the office/house and two at the shop) that caused over $10,000 in damage. If you have read this far down in the update, you probably care about our work. I urge you to consider making a contribution today to help us get back on our feet. The Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua needs our services, more now then ever since the ravaging of Hurricane Felix earlier this month. Together we can have a tremendously positive impact on the lives of so many.