Ecuadoran Project That Replaces Diesel With Pine Nut Oil to Generate Electricity Receives International Award

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The Pine Nut for Galapagos initiative received the award at the most important global summit on rural electrification.

San José, 30 March 2017 (IICA). The Alliance for Rural Electrification granted the 2017 ARE Award to the project entitled “Production of pine nut oil for the pilot plan for power generation in the Galapagos Islands,” an initiative of the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy (MEER) of Ecuador, executed with technical cooperation from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

The project was judged the Best Off-Grid Project in the “multilateral/international organizations” category, in recognition of its effectiveness in generating new access to energy; fostering the participation of the local population in the project; creating positive, socio-economic impact; reducing carbon dioxide; and creating the potential for replicating and scaling up innovations.

The project, which was selected from a pool of 60 submissions, seeks to reduce the use of diesel to generate electricity on the Galapagos islands, as well as improve the economic performance of the supplier chain, comprising small-scale producers and raw material collectors, in the production of biofuel.

The initiative, which benefits over 3,000 families from rural communities in the province of Manabí, currently generates clean energy for Floreana, a Galapagos island, and helps to sequester about 6,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

“The project has afforded us the opportunity to go deep into the Manabí farming community and get to know their reality, customs, culture, needs and natural environment, which is increasingly affected by climate change. Through the project, we are able to contribute to the preservation of the Galapagos islands while generating additional income for small-scale producers during the pine nut harvesting season,” stated Margarita Barquero, Agribusiness and Trade Specialist at IICA.

The award ceremony was held on March 22 in Portugal, during the Energy Access Investment Summit, regarded as the most relevant global meeting on rural electrification.

As part of a program entitled “Zero Fossil Fuels” on the Galapagos islands, MEER has been driving the production of pure pine nut oil since 2007, to substitute diesel in power generation.

This project was made possible through financial support from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUD) of Germany via GIZ, as well as technical cooperation from IICA, which has served as the technical manager of the agricultural and agro-industrial component. The project also receives support from the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB-MIF), ELECGALAPAGOS S.A. and the National Autonomous Institute for Agricultural Research (INIAP).

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