Husk Power Systems have won this year’s International Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy. The prestigious award was made at an official ceremony in London, England last night.
Husk Power Systems (HPS) is a rural electrification company in Bihar which generates electricity through the gasification of rice husk, an abundant agricultural waste product found throughout India’s rice belt. The company competed with seven other finalists from Africa, India and Pakistan for prize money of over £120,000 as Ashden continued its ten-year tradition of shining a spotlight on the most effective innovations in the provision of sustainable energy across the world.
In the last two years, HPS has been working with Shell Foundation to scale-up operations to bring affordable electricity to many more rural villages in Bihar. Shell Foundation’s support has helped the fledgling company to refine its business model and apply entrepreneurial thinking to India’s huge energy deficit. This partnership has now resulted in the creation of over 60 gasification plants – providing over 1.5 lac households with access to clean, reliable and affordable electricity. HPS aim to serve more than 5000 villages, save 750,000 tons of CO2, create 7,000 local jobs and generate savings of US$50M in cash for 5 million people (by replacing kerosene and diesel with renewable energy) by 2014.
Gyanesh Pandey, CEO of Husk Power Systems said: “Winning the Ashden Awards is a big achievement for Husk Power Systems. Almost a third of India’s population have no access to electricity and the role of energy is vital in catalysing economic development in India. HPS is now scaling rapidly with a goal of reaching over 2000 plants by 2014. We’ve adopted a new business model to expand effectively and efficiently, and this international recognition will certainly be a source of inspiration for everyone who is – and will be – involved.”
Anuradha Bhavnani, Regional Director at Shell Foundation, said: “ Over 125,000 villages in India are not connected with the electricity grid. Existing options like kerosene lanterns and diesel generators are expensive, difficult to disseminate in remote areas and negatively affect air quality, thus contributing to indoor air pollution. Our partnership with HPS is about creating a financially-
Many homes have access to energy for the first time in their lives. The electricity is sold on ‘pay as you go’ basis to local communities with a single connection costing around Rs.100 a month.
A New model
In order to impact the maximum number of people in the least time, HPS is pursuing 'Operating Partnership' and 'Franchising' models to set up new plants and create employment opportunities.
In the "Operating Partnership"
In the 'Franchise Model', HPS sells power plant equipment to partners, including technical and business training to buyers and their team. To ensure successful operation, HPS transfers technical and operational knowledge to buyers whilst charging a nominal fee to provide maintenance and repair service.
Notes for the Editor:
About Husk power Systems
Established in August 2007, HPS has designed 100% biomass-based power plants that use discarded rice husks to generate electricity. HPS today has over 60 mini-power plants that power around 25,000 households in more than 250 villages, impacting the lives of over 150,000 people in rural India. On an average, each power plant serves about 400 households and replaces approximately 42,000 litres of kerosene and 18,000 litres of diesel per year. As of August 2010, HPS has already sequestered 50,000 tons of CO2, employed and trained more than 300 local people for running and managing power plants, and saved a total $1.25M in cash for its customers.
About Shell Foundation
Shell Foundation is an independent UK-registered charity, established by Shell Group in 2000, that catalyses enterprise-based solutions to global poverty and environmental challenges. It pioneers sustainable business models that can be scaled up to improve the lives and livelihoods of billions of people across the developing world. In India, Shell Foundation is focusing on four key programmes which include reducing Indoor Air Pollution, helping poor rural farmers by promoting ethical trading, providing energy access for the poor and developing sustainable urban transport solutions to reduce urban congestion.
About Ashden Awards
The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy were founded in 2001 to encourage the greater use of local clean energy to address climate change and alleviate poverty. Since then they have recognised over 120 winners across the UK and the developing world. The Ashden Awards work to show-case and celebrate best practice, encourage the expansion and replication of winners’ work, raise awareness of the potential of local sustainable energy, and advocate on behalf of winners.
For more information, please contact:
Ira Arora/ Ritu Pant
Landline: +91 124 4283939
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