Husk Power Systems Wins Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy

Husk Power Systems has been announced as one of the international winners of this year’s Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy. The award was made at an official ceremony in London, England last night.

Husk Power Systems (HPS) is an India-based rural electrification company, which generates electricity through the gasification of rice husk – an abundant agricultural waste product found throughout India’s rice belt. The company, who were awarded a £20,000 cash prize, competed with seven other finalists from Africa, India and Pakistan 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.

“Winning the Ashden Awards is a big achievement for us”, said Gyanesh Pandey, CEO of 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.”

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 company to build institutional capacity and innovate around its core gasification technology. The business has now installed over 60 power plants – providing over 150,000 people with access to clean, reliable and affordable electricity. Many homes have access to energy for the first time in their lives, with electricity sold on ‘pay as you go’ basis at a cost of around 100 Indian Rupees a month (approx. £1.45).

Simon Desjardins, Head of Shell Foundation’s Access to Energy Programme, joined Gyanesh at the awards presentation. “This is great recognition for HPS and we’re delighted for them. Husk Power’s technology is now the lowest cost in the world for the scale at which it operates, and has global scale potential. The company is increasingly proving that decentralised renewable energy provision is a financially and technically viable way to serve rural customers.”

Nearly two billion people in the world lack access to reliable and affordable energy, representing a significant barrier to economic development and modern health and education provision. Alternatives such as kerosene lanterns or diesel generators are polluting, dangerous, and prohibitively expensive.

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, personally congratulated the international winners in a meeting earlier in the day. “The Ashden Awards show what it is possible to do now in saving resources and cutting emissions. They remind us how, as individuals, we can make a huge difference to the world in which we live.  In a nutshell, they remind us that acting locally is, in fact, acting globally.”

HPS aims to serve more than 5 million people, save 750,000 tons of CO2 and create 7,000 local jobs by 2014.
 
For further information on all 2011 Ashden Award winners visit www.ashdenawards.org/winners.



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