More than 125,000 years ago, humans discovered fire. With it came a source of heat, warmth, and light. Unfortunately, for 1 in 3 people living today, very little has changed. This is energy poverty.
Young Australian entrepreneur Hugh Whalan and New York carbon credit and green energy specialist Scott Tudman, have co-founded a new non profit organization Energy in Common (EIC) to change all of this. Through EIC their plan is to deliver green energy to 15 million people within five years.
“Really let that sink in,” said Whalan. “2.4 billion people are forced to rely on archaic energy resources like dung, kerosene and firewood to live, work and play. These fuels are expensive, dangerous, and harmful to the environment. Many people have been talking about the problem and we just decided to jump right in and attempt to fix it – one loan at a time if we have to.”
EIC allows individuals to provide green energy loans to poor entrepreneurs in developing countries and has already successfully delivered loans to bakers, dress makers, restaurant and hair salon owners in Ghana for a series of fuel efficient cook stoves and solar powered lights.
“We had people lending as little as $25 to help Ophelia Sewordzi improve her hair salon in Ghana. Ophelia needed solar powered lights to run her business for longer hours, and to reduce her energy costs. With a $200 loan from lenders in Australia and America, we made that happen. And it’s all being done through our website,” said Tudman.
EIC works with microfinance institutions to distribute the loans, and aid the purchase of green solutions such as solar powered lights, fuel-efficient stoves, solar drip irrigation systems and solar home systems. “Being able to reduce, and in some cases entirely end, reliance on these expensive and harmful fuels is a huge step forward for these communities” says Tudman, “and because they are being replaced with environmentally-friendly solutions, it’s great news for the environment too.”
EIC intends to measure the emission reductions created by each green energy loan and notably, will allow lenders to purchase them to offset their personal emissions. “This will allow our lenders to offset their own emissions in a more personal way than ever before while knowing their purchase is helping to fund more green energy loans for the poor,”said Whalan.