A happy new year to you all! We’re thrilled to start our year with an exciting headline: EarthSpark won a UN Climate Change award! Last month, we were honored to receive a 'Lighthouse Award for Climate Action' at the COP24 Climate Summit in Poland.
The awards ceremony — where Wendy and Allison received the award for EarthSpark’s “Feminist Electrification” — was billed as ‘one of the most inspiring and hopeful moments of the COP.’ The Secretary General of the UNFCCC opened our event and praised the 15 winners for ‘real world examples of what scalable climate action looks like’.
To have our work recognized by the United Nations is a BIG deal for us, and we want to thank everyone who has helped us along the way. This award is for you!
The climate conference concluded with hard-won progress in the world of international treaties. This is great, important news and also totally insufficient. Being at the conference reminded us that all actors – individuals, businesses, organizations, and governments – need to push for progress on solving climate change. When we do, we enable others to also make progress.
One theme that was very strong in Poland was “Just Transition”, the notion that the best climate solutions build not only a cleaner economy but a more fair and inclusive world. From coal miners to communities that have never before had electricity, a Just Transition means that prosperity is possible as we collectively transition away from fossil fuels.
One other note from the conference: Unlike some who were claiming that fossil fuels are necessary to solve energy poverty, EarthSpark was there to share our evidence to the contrary. The first year of EarthSpark’s Les Anglais microgrid was over 98% powered by solar energy, directly from the solar panels and from the solar energy stored in the system’s batteries. The remaining ~1.5% of the power was provided by our backup diesel generator, but we are working towards phasing out fossil fuels entirely since the full costs of logistics and management are quite high compared to solar and other efficiencies we can achieve through smart metering and user participation.
While the recognition in Poland felt fantastic, we’re excited to be back to work building more grids to deliver more energy and opportunity in Haiti. We’re looking forward to making great strides in 2019, and we are ever-grateful that you are sharing this journey with us.