Portland's renewable energy leadership extends to remote villages
By Dexter Gauntlett, Pike Research
While Portland’s historical leadership on environmental protection, energy efficiency, and large-scale clean energy deployment is well documented, Green Empowerment is living proof that this leadership extends to remote villages around the world as well.
Last week, Green Empowerment, where I have worked for the past six years, signed a grant agreement with the United States Agency for International Development to install 38 hydraulic ram pumps in the Philippines over the next three years. The contract total of $1.4 million means accessible clean water and improved living conditions for up to 15,000 people via ram pump, latrines, rainwater harvesting, and other locally sourced technologies. The program focuses in the southern war-torn islands of Mindanao, with an emphasis on remote, mountainous communities affected by conflict.
The ram pump is a centuries old renewable energy technology that has only two moving parts and requires no fuel input. With a ram pump, water can literally push itself uphill where it is collected in a storage tank and distributed to communal taps, saving people hours a day in collecting water.
This is a win for Portland and for the thousands of friends and generous supporters that have helped us grow from installing individual projects in honor of Ben Linder in Nicaragua, to deploying community-based renewable energy and water systems in remote villages at scale today.
Hundreds of people from Portland have visited our project sites, served as interns and participated in technical trainings. This includes partnerships with Portland State University, community groups like Havurah Shalom, and businesses ranging from Andina Restaurant to SolarWorld.
For 15 years, we have leveraged this support to install renewable energy, water and watershed projects in remote communities, in developing countries in partnership with local organizations. The Philippines program is in partnership with three excellent local organizations, including the BBC World Challenge winning Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, or AIDFI, which has manufactured ram pumps for 18 years (watch this video to see how the ram pump works).
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