Instructions: Use this area to post information on actual projects in the field (here's an example). These may be research or pilot projects, or full-blown roll-outs to broad markets. To add a project, simply create a post (below). Copy the following bold headings into your post and fill in your project's info. You can come back any time and update the information. If you are just browsing and see data with which you disagree or have the ability to update, please communicate first with the Contact Person listed in the post before doing so.
The last step is to put a marker for your project on the Project Map. After navigating to the full version of the map, click "EDIT" to begin and then drag a place-marker to the location of your field project. Then click on the place-marker and add any summary info you'd like into the popup window. To close the loop, be sure to include a link from the marker text back to your post (here) so people can learn more if they initially find your project via the map. Hint: to get the exact URL to your map location, while you're viewing the text panel that goes with your place-marker, click on the "Send" option.
Project name: Comet-ME
Dates: 2010- ongoing
Location (town/city/country & Map Link): Masafar Yatta, Palestine and Area C, Palestine
Contact persons: Elad Orian and Noam Dotan (co-founders)
Organizations involved: Medico International, Engineers Without Borders, Wind Empowerment Association, Bimkoms, Association for Civil Rights, Rabbis for Human Rights, Super Wind Inc., Breaking the Silence, Clinton Global Initiative, UN Sustainable Energy for All Practitioner Network
Sponsors: Irish Aid, New Zealand Foreign Office, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Center for Emerging Futures, Dan Church Aid, IPCRI, Clinton Global Initiative, EWB International, Federal Republic of Germany's Foreign Office, The Swedish Postcode Foundation, Osprey Foundation
Number and type(s) of lighting systems deployed: 316 solar panels and 11 wind turbines
Project description and results: Comet-ME works with marginalized and off-grid communities to provide environmentally sound energy services. They build hybrid wind and solar mini-grids specially designed for each of these communities, providing them with clean, renewable energy. Overcoming social barriers in areas undergoing conflict is another mission Comet-ME has sought to address through joint work between Israelis and Palestinians.
Energy has been identified as the key factor in solving a number of issues around the world and, ultimately, achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Energy services in the communities have reduced poverty. Families saved money by not having to buy expensive and polluting fuel for their generators. Efficiency of dairy production , the main source of income in these communities, was increased along with the families' revenues, after appliances such as refrigerators and electric butter churns were introduced. These appliances save women hours of labor, completing tasks usually assigned to them. Electricity promotes human health, eliminating the need for dangerous kerosine lamps, can be used to cool food or medicine, enables cell phone use in cases of emergency, and, of course, lighting.
All of Comet-ME's mini-grids include full household infrastructure, such as light bulbs and electrical outlets. Lighting gives everyone in the communities a sense of security. People can use the toilet, visit eachother, and do work in the night. Most importantly shepherds can put up lights near where the sheep stay, allowing them to be checked on at night and discouraging animals that prey on the sheep from coming near the lit places. This is helpful to the sheep and the villagers who sleep in open tents.
Comet-ME has so far worked with communities in Masafar Yatta, a remote area in south mount Hebron on the verge of the desert, and Area C, a region in Palestine controlled by the Israeli authorities and occupied by the army. 316 solar panels and 11 turbines have been erected in 24 various communities in these areas, reaching out to over 1400 beneficiaries. In each community Comet-ME has invested in a long-term relationship with the residents. They procure local materials and input whenever possible, also taking the time to train community members in basic grid maintenance and diagnostics.
Unfortunately the project has encountered problems with their work in Area C. Last year Israeli authorities started issuing demolition orders affecting sixteen of the systems constructed in Area C, depended on by more than 1000 people for refrigeration, lighting, and livelihood. Disruption of projects such as this one is a direct result of Israeli policies, attempting to pressure rural communities in Area C to abandon their homes for the urban centers of Palestine. This displacement and relocation of Palestinian families would allow Israel enough room for another army base. Fighting along-side human rights lawyers in court, Comet-ME has so far held back the demolition of any of the renewable energy systems.
The project's future outlook, along with continuing to fight the demolitions, includes working on a community-level water solution based on collection of water runoff, pumping, filtering, and a community distribution plan.
For their efforts Comet-ME has been selected as a finalist for on of the most prestigious international environmental awards, the Energy Globe.
Links to other docs:
Project Website: http://comet-me.org/
Great example about how politics and other sorts of "institutional" issues can get in the way of this kind of work.
Anyone else out there have examples from the Middle East? This is our only Field Project, so far, from the region.