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Donations Helping Maximize Clean Energy Opportunities

While it has been widely reported that charitable giving has suffered a severe blow with the recession, recent announcements highlight that North American organizations are still interested in donating money to help solve the energy challenges in front of us all.

In New York at the Clinton Global Initiative, former President Clinton announced a $1 million commitment from NRG Energy to partner with the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) on a project in the Central Plateau region of Haiti -- The Sun Lights the Way: Brightening Boucan Carré. The NRG commitment will help SELF implement its Solar Integrated Development model and provide clean, safe, renewable power for fish farming, drip irrigation systems, street lights and schools.

Energy Efficiency Donations

 In Texas, the Pecan Street Project announced that it will receive $350,000 from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to conduct an energy efficiency study. With these funds, researchers from Pecan Street Project, The University of Texas and Environmental Defense Fund will conduct an in-depth study of the impacts of energy efficiency retrofits undertaken in response to Austin’s Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure (ECAD) ordinance. Austin Energy will also participate in this research.

Pecan Street Project’s research team will capture minute-to-minute energy usage over 12 months, down to the appliance level, in a sample of homes that received audits under ECAD. The project team will work exclusively with volunteer homeowners from the Austin community.

The project team will analyze this data, along with data from at least 4,862 older homes that received energy audits and at least 520 of those homes that subsequently made efficiency improvements recommended by their audit. Project researchers will document the net economic and environmental benefits and energy savings resulting from different levels of green building and energy efficiency improvements.

Project researchers will also correlate their findings with Pecan Street Project’s current smart grid research on home energy usage in newer, green-built homes in Austin’s Mueller community.

GE Giving Wind and Solar Power and Water, Too.

As pat of its ecomagination initiative, GE has begun a campaign called “Tag Your Green” through which it hopes more people will begin to collaborate on new green ideas.  Every time a user uploads a photo of wind, water or light to Flickr and uses the correct tag, a donation will be made to one of three charities:  every wind photo will trigger a donation to Practical Action, every water photo will result in a donation to charity:water and every light photo will result in a donation of solar power to d.lightMashable has more on this story.

GE’s goal is to provide 4.8 million gallons of clean water through the building of fresh water wells, 1.7 million hours of solar-powered light through the donation of solar lanterns to families in East Timor and 45,000 kW hours of energy created through small-scale wind turbines that will power health clinics in Peru.

In addition to the Flickr challenge, GE has initiated an Ecomagination YouTube Video Challenge in which it gathered up 15 YouTube “celebrities” and challenged them to create green videos with the goal of garnering 10 million views.  For more on GE’s work, play the video below.


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