Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti

by EarthSpark International Corp.
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Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
It takes all 3 for a successful microgrid
It takes all 3 for a successful microgrid

Drum roll please. The Tiburon grid is…ready to go, but still not on! 

We’re thrilled to share that the EarthSpark’s long-anticipated second grid in the town of Tiburon is ready for the switch to be thrown. Technical testing saw streetlights blazing across the town and customers are now signing up and getting their homes and businesses wired up for power. 

The catch? In an evolving legal and regulatory environment, we’re dotting our I’s and crossing our T’s and defining what constitutes operational approval from local and the relatively new national authorities. It’s hard to say whether the people of Tiburon or the EarthSpark team is more anxious to see the grid turned on, but we want to do it well and in collaboration with all of the relevant authorities. June 24 is a big holiday in Tiburon, so we’re hoping that we’ll all be able to find clarity before then to be able to power up the party (and the town!)

While the evolving regulatory challenges are a frustrating delay, they are a part of a broader shift for Haitian microgrids, and that is excellent news. When EarthSpark launched our first microgrid in 2012, our work was considered extremely fringe and essentially irrelevant to the national energy policy framework. When we expanded that grid in 2015 to be a ‘town-sized solar-powered smart grid’, policymakers took notice. Our 2015 National Microgrid Market Study furthered the discussion and became a benchmark document referenced by national and international authorities on rural electrification for Haiti.

Our steady work of “Proving what is possible” and “De-risking by doing” has not been fast, but it has been constant. We are now (finally!) seeing the shift that recognizes clean energy community microgrids as essential elements of solving energy access in Haiti. There are growing pains associated with that shift: new regulators, new rules, but we are working with the stakeholders to try to make sure that the outcomes enable EarthSpark’s broader goal of mainstreaming microgrids and specifically “moving microgrids towards market” in Haiti.  For broad deployment of microgrids, smart regulation and clear policies are essential.

We’ll let you know as soon as we are able to flip that switch on in Tiburon, and we’ll keep you posted, as always, as we work to continue pushing and proving what is possible for community-centered rural electrification in Haiti.

Warm summer regards,
Allison and the rest of the EarthSpark team

 

PS. We have a long way to go before we fully realize the vision of widespread gender equality across all aspects of our power systems, but EarthSpark is honored and delighted to be pushing progress on this as core to our work. You can check out the UNFCCC's gorgeous new video of our "Feminist Electrification" work here: https://vimeo.com/338840710

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Happy Earth Day!



Not only is the trend to 100% clean electricity necessary, it’s happening. Homes, businesses, cities, states, and countries worldwide are committing to a greener future.

More than 100 US cities have committed to achieving 100% renewable energy. In the past months alone, New Mexico, Maryland, Washington State, Puerto Rico, and Nevada have each set impressive carbon reducing targets.

This infographic below captures a snapshot of the momentum building - and the long path we still have to go.

Just like EarthSpark’s microgrids in Haiti, local solutions for clean energy are here and promise local jobs, lower bills, and a chance for our environment to flourish again.

As we work with communities in Haiti to leapfrog from charcoal and candles to clean electric infrastructure, its clearer than ever that a global issue like climate change has local solutions that are within reach.

We’re excited to see what incredible innovations and progress is made during our next trip around the sun.

 

To celebrate Earth Day 2019, GlobalGiving has over $50,000 in matching donations and prizes available for all donations made TODAY.

Make a small contribution today to have your donation doubled! Your support helps continue EarthSpark’s clean energy revolution in Haiti.

 

Finally an update from the field. The work to rebuild Tiburon’s distribution system is on the final stretch! With poles and wires popping up across the town, our new Grid Ambassador Omilia has begun signing up new customers, and technicians have begun installing meters in customer’s homes. See the photo attached for a peek at the work being done to connect the town to the generation site. 

This is an incredibly exciting time not just for us, but for the Tiburon community. Stay tuned for an update on Tiburon’s grid inauguration! Thank you for your generous support.

 

Big Earth Day love from Allison and the EarthSpark team

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EarthSpark & Eneji Pwop teams met last month
EarthSpark & Eneji Pwop teams met last month
Dear friends,
 
Love is finding the energy to help others.
 
As many recently celebrated Valentine's Day, thousands across Haiti were blocked in their homes and isolated in small towns as protesters continued "Operation Lock" which is effectively blocking transit and commerce throughout the country. There is growing tension as fuel, food, and clean water supplies run low.
 
Protesters have reason to feel exasperated. Inflation has surged, making basic staples - many of which are imported - unaffordable for much of the population. Fuel shortages, and a growing outrage around development funds missing from the government coffers have driven louder and louder calls for the president's resignation.
 
Love takes many forms. Sometimes it demands protest. Sometimes it requires patience.
 
Over the last two weeks some are facing challenging circumstances in Port-au-Prince, however most of the EarthSpark and Enèji Pwòp team members are safe (though stuck) in Les Anglais where the solar-powered microgrid is steadily providing energy to the town, undeterred by the national crisis.
 
We're happy today to share a new team photo of our growing team as well as a link to reflections from an independent consultant who recently came to assess our work. In the face of challenges and uncertainty, Love persists. If Love is finding the energy to help others, we will continue building it. We are ever-grateful that you are joining us in this.
Thank you, as always, for your kind support.
With Love from the EarthSpark team.

Links:

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Last year a group of global leaders concluded that educating women and girls is one of the top ten ways to solving climate change. Coming in at number 6 it ranks higher than rooftop solar panels and electric cars!

EarthSpark International has a long-held commitment to incorporating women in every aspect of our work. When a community is electrified for the first time it is an historic moment for that community. A lot of things change. Our team works hard to ensure that in that historic moment, both climate AND gender justice are served. 

We call that commitment, Feminist Electrification. This week we've joined the hundreds of voices gathered in Poland for the annual climate change conference to show how electrifying underserved communities with clean and affordable energy is more powerful than just being able to turn on a light.

Thanks to your your continuing generosity, this year we were able to take our Feminist Electrification work in Les Anglais and replicate it in Tiburon. As a result of that work, we received the UNFCCC’s Momentum for Change Award this week, also in Poland.

Projects that give women the opportunity to be decision makers in the electrification process make for more successful projects that can in turn empower households, businesses, and communities across Haiti.

As 2019 nears we look forward to finally turning on Tiburon while beginning new and exciting microgrid projects in other communities across Haiti. Real momentum of profound impact is building thanks to you

 

Wishing you a happy holiday season filled with love and light!

From the EarthSpark team.

 

PS. The giving season is here and Global Giving still has matching opportunities available to donations made up until December 31, 2018. We encourage you to consider gifting a family member a contribution to EarthSpark these holidays.

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Tiburon Grid
Tiburon Grid

When we think about electricity we don’t often think about how culture impacts the way we use electricity. In the United Kingdom, when a popular TV show switches to commercials or a soccer match breaks at half time, millions of kettles are switched on at once, causing widespread blackouts over the years. When viewed this way, British tea culture is a quaint threat to stable electricity in the UK.

Although Tiburon is an electricity grid of much smaller reach, the need to understand and account for a culture’s use of electricity is paramount. That’s why our team conducts detailed surveys in each community where we plan a grid to know how to design the system, to their needs. Recently our tireless EarthSpark and Enèji Pwòp teams finished surveying the Tiburon community only to discover people prioritised buying and using an iron higher on their list than many other essentials we came to expect in Les Anglais. When we dug a little deeper people replied incredulously, “We have church on Sundays!”

This is where our deeply knowledgeable field team steps in to design a grid that makes sure our customers look their Sunday best, and even provides entrepreneurial opportunity for locals to start their own ironing service.

Following in Les Anglais’ footsteps, we have established the Tiburon Energy Committee. Comprised of  10 members, each representing demographics across age, gender, industry, religion, and socio-economic status, our new committee is poised to uphold an ongoing representation of the community’s electrification needs.

Electrification in underserved communities is culturally significant, impacting every corner of people’s lives. That’s why EarthSpark is committed to working with communities to define and provide respectful, thoughtful, high-quality access to a life changing technology. And it is with thanks to supporters like you that we’ve been able to do exactly that for the people of Les Anglais and - very soon - Tiburon.

Warmly,

Madie and the EarthSpark team.

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Organization Information

EarthSpark International Corp.

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @earthsparkintl
Project Leader:
Allison Archambault
Washington, DC United States
$20,146 raised of $35,000 goal
 
428 donations
$14,854 to go
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