Glow Star Solar lanterns provide people in Kenya with a superior alternative to kerosene, which is used by 96% of the population. A small solar panel, usually fixed to the roof, will typically provide four hours of light. The compact fluorescent tube is six times more efficient than a normal incandescent bulb, lasts eight times longer, and only needs replacing every four years.
Over 2bn people rely on biogas for their energy needs. Initiatives in Nepal use cow dung and human waste, which is made into a biomass slurry. This gives off biogas, which is tapped to fuel cooking and lighting. In Austria, wood chippings and bark strippings are used to power a hotel's heating and lighting requirements. The whole town of Lech is effectively energy self sufficient with stock piles meaning they can still fuel their needs when cut off from the rest of civilisation in the harshest of winters.
Closer to home, Devon County Council is looking to introduce a scheme which will power its head office in Exeter. Savings made from the scheme will be awarded to the supplier as its fee.
Wind power is being harnessed in Sri Lanka to satisfy the energy demands of isolated villages. These small scale windmills are simple in design and involve local people in their installation and maintenance.
Tempo Electric powered tempo taxis in Kathmandu, Nepal, are replacing their noxious fume emitting diesel predecessors. A local company began the scheme and quickly found support from the people who recognise the benefits of clean air.
Whole villages and small businesses in isolated areas are benefiting from electricity producing micro-hydro generating systems. Varying in size and nature on each job, the simple technology requires regular maintenance.