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18/11/2009 - 10:48

Rural electrification project in Argentina, wins energy innovation prize

Buenos Aires – An innovative rural electrification project based on renewable energy and developed by the Federación de Cooperativas de la Región Sur (Federation of Southern Regional Cooperatives, or FECORSUR) will receive $179,500 from the IDB following its selection as a winner of the IDEAS Energy Innovation Prize.

The project will supply energy solutions to some 300 villages throughout the province of Río Negro. What is innovative about it is that it will be managed by the cooperative’s producers, who will be the service’s users as well. The project will demonstrate the viability of a comprehensive rural energy management system that includes improved use of natural light, household insulation options and more efficient water pumping techniques.

The FERCORSUR project is one of 26 winners out of 1,000 proposals received from 28 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. It received the award during a press conference today at the “WindAR 2009” South American Wind Energy Conference organized by the Cámara de Industria y Comercio Argentino-Alemana [Argentine-German Industry and Business Chamber]. IDB representative Daniel Oliveira signed the agreement with FERCORSUR director Eliseo Pérez, who was accompanied by design team members Sebastián Gortari and Juan Painenao.

The project will cost a total of $218,500, including a local counterpart contribution of $39,000. The funds will be used to design and build the installations, purchase equipment (such as solar panels) and train local users and installers.

Other innovative projects in Latin America and the Caribbean that won prizes in the 2009 IDEAS Contest include clean energy production from cheese and/or banana waste materials, development of a turbine for large, fast-flowing rivers, and a solar-powered ferry.

The IDEAS Contest is sponsored jointly by GVEP International, GTZ, the Government of Korea and the Inter-American Development Bank. A jury made up of the contest sponsors selected the winning projects based on criteria of innovation, replicability and financial solvency. The funds will be disbursed over a period of two years.

FECORSUR, founded in 1994, is an association of cooperatives of small rural producers. Members include Members include such development and training groups as AENOC and the Fundación Bariloche.

Sponsors of the IDEAS Energy Innovation Prize: Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP International) is an NGO that works to speed up and improve access to clean energy among poor villages in developing countries. It supports innovation in design and technology, as well as business models with the potential to increase access to renewable energy, improve energy efficiency or increase the productive use of energy.

. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is the largest source of financing for Latin America and the Caribbean. It supports development of renewable energy through its Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Initiative.

. German partner GTZ is the German government’s international agency for technical cooperation, which is part of the Ministry of Cooperation and Economic Development. It supports sustainable development worldwide.

. The Government of Korea actively supports Latin American and Caribbean efforts to improve access to renewable energy. It has established the Korean Partnership Fund for Technology Knowledge and Innovation at the IDB.| BID

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