APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
EarthSpark works to develop two classes of businesses to deliver clean, efficient energy to customers in Haiti: technology suppliers and service providers. Its approach to eradicating energy poverty begins with community engagement with local civic organizations, businesses and leaders. Potential technology suppliers and service providers are evaluated and provided with a variety of resources: grants, low-interest credit, technical assistance, and, most importantly, becoming integrated into a supply chain.
Micro-grids are the next step of a 'technology ladder,' allowing customers access to larger amounts of clean electricity at a competitive price. The management of these grids is based on private, self-organized groups from the community itself - a principle that stems from the writings of Nobel Prize winning economist Elinor Ostrom.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
1). The opening of additional clean energy stores. EarthSpark, which opened its first clean energy store in June of 2010, aims to develop five more clean energy stores throughout Haiti by the end of 2011. Beginning in November 2010, EarthSpark will launch a national competition to locate partners to open its next clean energy stores, which are targeted to open in a staggered timeline from June to October, 2011.
2). The development of 2 micro-grids. The Oranger (BBBC Expo) micro-grid will begin construction in October 2010, and will be operational when the settlement is completed in May 2011. The Les Anglais micro-grid will begin construction in March 2011 and will provide service to customers in June 2011. These micro-grids will be powered primarily by solar photovoltaics, and secondarily by diesel generators that can be powered by locally produced biodiesel when available. Haitian business partners will own, operate and service the micro-grids, and EarthSpark will work with the community to develop a load-serving entity responsible for customer service and bill collection.
About 1.6 billion people lack access to electricity. It is estimated that 2.5 billion rely on biomass, such as dung and charcoal, for cooking and heating fuel. These people are living in energy poverty, defined as a lack of access to modern energy services. This poverty is perpetuated by the high cost of using inefficient fuels and technologies as well as the innate lack of productivity associated with their use. The use of these fuels and technologies is often accompanied by environmental degradation, which in turn limits productivity and growth in an ongoing feedback loop.
This is very much the case in Haiti, where EarthSpark fielded surveys that revealed the depth of energy poverty: households spend an average of 10% of their income on kerosene and candle lighting, and even more on charcoal for cooking.
Rather than thinking of energy usage as being driven by economic development, EarthSpark seeks to drive sustainable economic development by providing access to better quality energy services. Recognizing that dirty fuels are often the only energy options available to millions around the world, and that their use is deleterious to the health and productivity of the communities who use them, EarthSpark aims to increase access to cleaner, more efficient alternatives.
In order to complete its CGI commitment EarthSpark needs to build one more microgrid. EarthSpark is currently seeking $2.7 million in grant funding to build three microgrids in Haiti and prepare a business plan for up to 40. This crucial step will allow EarthSpark to de-risk the operational model and gather the financial data needed to accurately prepare a business plan for sustainable microgrid development in Haiti.
EarthSpark has rich experience in rural energy access through distributed retail models (for solar lanterns, solar home systems,efficient and alternative fuel cookstoves) as well as experience in the development of an innovative,smart, solar microgrid model. EarthSpark can advise on metering, efficiency, microgrid development, and community engagement.