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St. Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines Among IDEAS ENERGY INNOVATION Awardees

The first several of 25 winners of the IDEAS Energy Innovation Contest for Latin America and the Caribbean, sponsored by GVEP International, the Inter American Development Bank (IDB), GTZ and the Korean Government, have been announced.  Among the winners so far announced is Welectricity – an online social network for energy efficiency, submitted by Green Island Inc founder Herbert A Samuel.

The IDEAS Energy Innovation Contest, launched in February under the slogan What’s your bright idea? attracted 1,082 applications, from every Latin American country (988 applications) and from nine Caribbean countries (94 applications).

The Caribbean countries were the Dominican Republic (30 applications), Jamaica (28), Haiti (19), Trinidad & Tobago (5), Barbados (4), St Lucia (3), St Vincent & The Grenadines (2), Suriname (2) and The Bahamas (1).

Two hundred and sixty four applications were shortlisted and 25 winners were selected from the shortlist; the Caribbean won three awards. GVEP International and GTZ will sponsor 20 of the 25 awards including all the awards in the Caribbean.

Ken Aldonza, a mechanical engineer from St Lucia, won sponsorship from GVEP International and GTZ for his proposal to use the waste generated by St Lucia’s banana trade to produce environmentally friendly energy by creating ethanol from banana waste.

Bob Hathaway, a naval architect from St Lucia won sponsorship from GVEP International and GTZ for his indirectly charged solar ferry, which will replace the inefficient and polluting two-stroke engines commonly used by boats in developing countries and to create a replicable technology that could significantly reduce the environmental damage to the ecosystems of small islands.

Herbert A Samuel, an energy efficiency and renewable energy consultant from St Vincent & The Grenadines, won sponsorship from GVEP International and GTZ for Welectricity, a novel approach to facilitate positive energy efficiency outcomes in households by harnessing behavioural factors through online social networking.

The other 22 winners are from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, and Peru. Announced so far are the University of Colima, Mexico; Zernike America Latina S.A. Panama and Innovative Photovoltaic Charging Stations Against Poverty (ENFOCA) in El Salvador.

The awards jury, representing the contest sponsors GVEP International, GTZ, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Korean government, selected the winning projects based on criteria including innovation, financial sustainability and replicability.  The winners will each receive grant funding of up to a maximum of US$200,000 over the next two years for the implementation of their ideas.

About the Sponsors:

GVEP International (Global Village Energy Partnership) is an international non profit organisation seeking to reduce poverty through accelerated access to modern energy services. The funding for the Energy Innovation Contest was provided to GVEP International by the Dutch Government (DGIS).  Visit

The IDB is the largest source of financing for development for Latin America and the Caribbean. Through its Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Initiative (SECCI), the IDB supports renewable energy and energy efficiency, bio-fuel development, carbon finance, and adaptation to climate change. Visit

The Korean Government actively supports Latin America and the Caribbean’s efforts towards improving energy access, efficiency, and producing renewable energy.  To that end, Korea established the “Knowledge Partnership Korea Fund for Technology and Innovation” (KPKF) within the IDB. Visit

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH is an international cooperation enterprise for sustainable development with worldwide operations that provides viable, forward looking solutions for political, economic, ecological and social development in a globalised world. Visit

More information on the IDEAS Energy Innovation Contest:

GVEP International
Inter-American Development Bank


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