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General News of Friday, 17 June 2011

Source: GNA

Ghana wins first prize at the world's leading green energy awards

Accra, June 17, GNA - The world's most prestigious green energy awards has selected an energy company from Ghana as the Gold Award winner of this year's Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy.

Winners from Pakistan, India and Africa were also announced at a VIP ceremony in London addressed by Greg Barker, UK Government Minister for Climate Change.

A statement issued and copied to Ghana News Agency in Accra on Friday said the Prince of Wales, Patron of the Ashden Awards, who personally congratulated the international winners in a meeting, said: 93The Ashden Awards show what it is possible to do now in saving resources and cutting emissions.

"They remind us how, as individuals, we can make a huge difference to the world in which we live. In a nutshell, they remind us that acting locally is, in fact, acting globally."

The Ashden Awards showcase practical solutions to combat climate change and meet the energy needs of the poor, rewarding outstanding and innovative clean energy schemes across the developing world and in the United Kingdom.

Toyola Energy Limited, Ghana, was awarded the coveted Gold Award worth $340,000 in recognition of its success in making over 150,000 efficient charcoal stoves and marketing them to low-income families at very affordable prices.

Ms Sarah Butler-Sloss, Founder/Director of the Ashden Awards and Chair of the judging panel said: 93Toyola Energy Limited has taken a simple stove technology, adapted it to make it more robust and efficient and then focused it's efforts on making the stoves accessible to the poor so that they can save money and have cleaner, healthier environments to cook in.

"In the meantime Ghana's forests are protected and greenhouse emissions reduced. This is a perfect example of how much can be achieved through the use of simple, clean energy technologies and clever, pro-poor marketing strategies."

By cutting the use of charcoal by around a third, Toyola's stoves save trees, reduce carbon emissions and allow families to make considerable savings.

They are also easy to cook with and are far less smoky than the traditional charcoal stoves that can cause breathing difficulties and, often, severe eye irritation over time.

There is also 90 per cent less chance of accidental burns when using a Toyola stove as compared to traditional stoves.

By allowing the customers to buy the stoves on credit and use the money saved on charcoal to make repayments, Toyola ensures that the stoves are accessible to the poor.

"When I got the stove I was given this money box and every day I would put money in. When I eventually removed the money I had enough for the stove," Josephine Adjololo, a user said.

In a country where most urban households spend a significant proportion of their household income cooking on inefficient and polluting charcoal stoves, Toyola's success is significant.

Toyola's stoves are currently saving around 26,000 tonnes of charcoal a year, a tangible success given that charcoal comes largely from unsustainable sources.

The levels of CO2 reductions achieved - around 150,000 tonnes a year has attracted the attention of Goldman Sachs who now buys Toyola's carbon offsets and sells them on the global market.

Toyola has just opened a production centre in Togo and plans to open more centres in Benin and Sierra Leone in the next two years, stepping up sales to a further 140,000 stoves by 2013.

With facts on Ghana Energy, nearly three quarters of charcoal production in Ghana comes from unsustainable wood-charcoal, which contributes to deforestation.

Charcoal is used by approximately 1.3 million households or 31 per cent of families in Ghana.

In Accra, about 70 per cent of households use charcoal for cooking.

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