blueEnergy works to create a more equitable, sustainable world


Newsletter June 2008

blueEnergy Newsletter: Turbine design conference / Grants / Presentations... and more!

Design conference: Otherpower in another world

blueEnergy hosted a wind turbine design conference at its facility in Bluefields, Nicaragua, in late February, 2008. The main goal was to create and study several design options to increase the robustness and efficiency of blueEnergy’s small wind turbine, then make some decisions on which design to hone in on moving forward. The conference was a success and two new turbine models, with 11% and 18% increases in efficiency, were completed and preliminary tests conducted.
blueEnergy was honored to host the crew (Dan Bartmann, Dan Fink, Rich Carlsen and George Clous) in Nicaragua and to have the remote advising of Hugh Piggott of Scoraig Wind Electric and Christian Casillas of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at UC Berkeley, among many others, for the duration of the conference. For, the conference provided an insight into the challenges of operating in an environment like the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua while for blueEnergy the practical knowledge imparted by the team represented a tremendous asset to its local employees and volunteers. blueEnergy’s goal is to make Bluefields the capital of small-scale wind power in Central America and this conference certainly strengthened its case.
Grants from Good Energies, NetSuite, ETDE, BP Solar and La Guilde
blueEnergy would like to acknowledge recent support received from Good Energies, NetSuite, ETDE, BP Solar and La Guilde.
Good Energies is a leading global investor in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industry, focusing on investments in solar, wind, project finance and development as well as energy efficiency and green building. Good Energies is funding a one-year blueEnergy project to strengthen blueEnergy’s operational capacity and to bring energy, water and communication services to a community, with a special focus on gender issues.
NetSuite is the first and only company to give growing and midsize businesses on demand Web-based business applications to run their entire company. NetSuite provides blueEnergy with enterprise class licenses to its online software platform to meet blueEnergy’s accounting and light manufacturing needs.
ETDE is an electrical engineering company that is part of France’s largest construction company. ETDE has given blueEnergy a general grant and has delivered high-quality shop equipment to Nicaragua to strengthen blueEnergy’s operational capacity.
BP is one of the world’s largest integrated energy companies and BP Solar designs, manufactures and markets solar electric systems for homeowners, businesses and governments. BP Solar recently donated nearly 1 kW of solar panels for blueEnergy projects in Nicaragua, which will be installed in late May or early June.
La Guilde is a Frech nonprofit organization that helps fund and place volunteers in international projects in the developing world. La Guilde has funded three blueEnergy projects, the most recent one to develop an advanced lightning protection system for its wind turbines, and more importantly has helped place many French nationals in volunteering positions with blueEnergy in Nicaragua.
Energy Globe Country Award for Nicaragua
blueEnergy submitted a project to the 2007 ENERGY GLOBE Awards entitled, “blueEnergy: Locally made Wind Turbines for Sustainable, Low-Cost, Environmentally-Sensitive Energy Service in Poor Areas”; the submission was among a total of 853 projects from 109 nations.
blueEnergy was recently informed that the International Jury judged its submission as the national winner for Nicaragua. The ceremonious presentation of the winner’s certificate is planned prior to the international television gala for the 2007 ENERGY GLOBE World Awards:
26 May 2008, 11:00 European Parliament in Brussels Members Restaurant, ground floor
The national Awards will be presented by high-ranking representatives of the European Parliament and the final World Award winners with be announced and honored during the live television gala broadcast from the Plenary Hall of the European Parliament in Brussels.
Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI)
The Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI) provides an intensive two-week residential program at Santa Clara University that enables successful technology innovators to scale their endeavors and achieve sustainability. Presented by the University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society and the Leavey School of Business Administration, the GSBI offers the unique context of a Jesuit university dedicated to social justice combined with leading resources of Silicon Valley. The invited social benefit entrepreneurs have demonstrated their commitment to applying technology to address urgent human needs throughout the world and have achieved recognition through the rigorous selection process of the prestigious Tech Museum’s Awards: Technology Benefiting Humanity, the World Bank’s Development Marketplace, the City of Rome’s Global Junior Challenge competitions, or as Schwab Fellows.
Living and learning together, participants develop common conceptual skills and the sense of community that is essential for peer-to-peer collaboration and access to mentor support following the residential program. Participants develop know-how in critical areas of business planning, including technology and service innovation, target marketing, business models, finance and organizational capacity building. The GSBI combines classroom instruction, case studies, and best practices with carefully matched mentoring on the specific scaling and sustainability challenges of each participating organization. This ongoing collaboration is supported by a distance-learning platform that also enables the Center for Science, Technology, and Society to track the progress of participants once they return to their home locations. This platform also provides venture access to MBA consulting teams. Through the access to world-class partnerships and resources, participating social benefit entrepreneurs are empowered to accelerate their technological innovations. This is a transformational program to people with the power and vision to change the world.
blueEnergy Executive Director, Mathias Craig, was recently accepted to the summer 2008 GSBI program and will spend two weeks in August on the Santa Clara University campus honing the vision for blueEnergy’s growth.
For more information on the GSBI program
UC Berkeley, ER291: design for sustainable communities
On april 23rd, Mathias Craig gave a presentation at UC Berkeley to a group of students from Professor Ashok Gadgil’s "ER291: Design for Sustainable Communities" class. Prof. Gadgil is the inventor of UV Waterworks water disinfectant system and was a key inspiration to Mathias Craig in his early years at Berkeley.
ER291 provides conceptual and hands-on experience in design and implementation of innovative products and processes for improving sustainability of resource-constrained communities (mostly poor ones in the developing countries). Teams of three or four students each take on separate practical projects, with guidance from subject experts, to help mature innovations into useful products or processes and to assess social and business opportunities for real-world dissemination of these products.
Global Social Venture Competition symposium
On April 19th, Mathias Craig participated in a panel discussion at the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) Symposium on Social Entrepreneurship.
Held in conjunction with the Global Finals of the 2008 GSVC, the GSVC Symposium on Social Entrepreneurship brought together leaders and innovators in social entrepreneurship, business, and academia for a full-day symposium on Saturday, April 19 in San Francisco, California.
As the GSVC expands and builds an increasingly international network of students, entrepreneurs, academics, investors, and social venture professionals, there is a growing need and opportunity to create dialog and community around the competition. The 2008 symposium provided a platform for discussion of the evolving field of social entrepreneurship, as well as an opportunity for investors, entrepreneurs, and nonprofit leaders to meet and interact with faculty, students, and GSVC finalists. Speakers and panel discussions addressed the most recent issues in the field of social entrepreneurship and the international movement of enterprises driving social change.
World bank conference on sustainable, responsible tourism
Mathias Craig, Executive Director of blueEnergy and Guillaume Craig, Director of blueEnergy Nicaragua, were featured presenters at the World Bank conference "Responsible, Sustainable Tourism in Latin America and the Caribbean", held in Washington D.C., April 13 & 14. blueEnergy was invited to the conference to participate in a discussion on how to address the energy issue in remote eco and cultural tourism projects developed by indigenous communities.
CubaSolar conference
Director of blueEnergy Nicaragua, Guillaume Craig, and Associate Director of blueEnergy Nicaragua, Ismael Castillo, attended CubaSolar’s annual energy conference at the Hotel Morón in Cuba, the week of March 24th. The conference was a gathering of organizations working on sustainable energy service in the Caribbean and Central American region and was hosted by CubaSolar. blueEnergy was invited to participate by Hivos, a Dutch organization funding blueEnergy for 2008-2010 that also funds many other energy development initiatives in the Caribbean and Central America region.
Cuba is a leader in the rural electrification movement and has built over 2,300 rural schools with integrated solar-electric systems. As part of this movement, Cuba has taken the lead in developing training programs to develop the long-term capacity needed to sustain the remote energy systems. CubaSolar is a nonprofit organization working within this movement since 1994 and blueEnergy is looking to partner with CubaSolar to share documentation and experience between the two organizations.
For more information on CubaSolar
Water purification initiative
The original vision for blueEnergy at its inception was to use micro-wind turbines to power UV water purification equipment. For practical reasons blueEnergy needed to focus on the energy aspect in its first years, but always had the intention of returning to water purification when the time was right. That time is now. blueEnergy has been aggressively assessing the water purification landscape in Nicaragua for the past several months to gain an understanding of who the stakeholders are and what technologies are being deployed. This assessment initiative, headed up by blueEnergy staff member Bruno Borgarino, has led blueEnergy to form a new partnership with the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST). blueEnergy will be hosting a CAWST-led workshop on bio-sand water filter technology at its facilities in Bluefields, Nicaragua, during the first week of May. This will mark the beginning of a pilot project consisting of building bio-sand water filters and distributing them to the homes of blueEnergy staff members in Bluefields for beta testing.
Operator training
In the second week of May, blueEnergy is hosting 12 community energy system operators from Punta de Aguila, Monkey Point, Kahkabila and Set Net for a week-long training workshop. The workshop will take place in Bluefields at blueEnergy’s facilities on the IPCC-INATEC campus. The initiative is headed up by blueEnergy staff member Marie Roussel, and is the first such workshop out of 6 funded by blueEnergy’s Dutch partner Hivos and the company Good Energies. This capacity building initiative is critical to blueEnergy’s long-term goal of sustainability, which rests on community members ability to operate and maintain the installed systems.
Nicaragua staff coming and goings
blueEnergy would like to welcome Shona Dean Martin and Giselle Johana Morales to the Nicaragua team! Both Shona and Johana are working in the Bluefields office - Shona as blueEnergy’s new Nicaragua bookkeeper and Johana as blueEnergy’s new Nicaragua executive assistant.
In addition blueEnergy would like to welcome and thank its latest class of volunteers in Nicaragua: Sébastien Lohr, Julie Zarka, Marie Roussel, Maxime Goursaud, Charles d’Argencé, François Racapé, Bruno Borgarino, Stephanie Buerrot, Ben Hyman, and Stephanie Judd. blueEnergy would also like to thank recent departures Rémi Oudoul and Sarah Mayles for their hard work, dedication and friendship.