One will be crowned global Energy Champion, with an associated prize of £40,000. An Outstanding Achievement Award will also be made to a previous Ashden Award winner who has forged ahead in the field at the Awards ceremony, held in Central London. The finalists will present their work to their peers and other experts at the Ashden Awards Imperial College Conference, to be held on 10 June.

This year’s final six demonstrate massive potential for growth and replication:

Ladakh, India: A highly insulated, heat-retaining greenhouse powered only by the sun enables villagers to grow vegetables through the winter, even when outside air temperatures fall below -25oC. Since 2005 nearly 600 greenhouses have been built cheaply by masons using mainly local materials.

Bihar, India: A new biomass gasification system generates electric power for eight hours per day, providing a popular alternative to an unreliable grid supply. Electricity is currently sold to ten businesses which previously used diesel generators. Most of the biomass is ‘dhaincha’, a local woody plant which grows in water-logged areas where crops cannot be grown.

US: A cheap and efficient stove saves 30-50% fuelwood and reduces polluting emissions by 50-75% compared to traditional cooking. It is manufactured in a factory in China and used in programmes as widespread as South Africa, India, and Argentina. 33,000 stoves were sold during the first year of production.

Nicaragua: 2,000 solar home systems and 560 larger solar energy systems have been sold and installed in rural areas by a 25-year-old family-run business, for uses including light and communications for schools and police stations; vaccine and blood refrigeration for clinics; pumps for village water supplies; and power for mobile phone masts.

Ethiopia: A village scheme pioneering rented small photovoltaic (PV) solar-home-systems in each of 1,100 homes was successfully trialed to replace kerosene lighting and dry cell batteries. It has now supplied a further 1,000 systems to outlying areas, and has established a centre providing training for solar technicians.

Uganda: A business started making briquettes from agricultural waste for its own use, but now sells over 100 tonnes per month to schools and other businesses, and has installed over 1,300 large, efficient stoves for cooking using briquettes. Briquettes replace fuelwood and charcoal, thus reducing deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy were founded in 2001 to encourage the greater use of local sustainable energy to address climate change and alleviate poverty. Since then they have rewarded nearly one hundred winners across the UK and the developing world. The Ashden Awards work to show-case and celebrate best practice, encourage the expansion and replication of winners’ work, raise awareness of the potential of local sustainable energy, and advocate on their winners’ behalf.

Further information

The Ashden Awards ceremony will be held on Thursday 11 June in central London. International winners will each receive an award of up to £20,000 to help project expansion and promote replication, and all will compete for the Energy Champion award of £40,000.

For further information, including photos, films, and case studies on past winners, go to www.ashdenawards.org