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Project Bo: Michael Liebreich launches life-saving £100,000 solar hospital campaign

One of the UK's leading clean tech advocates yesterday launched a new charitable campaign to save the lives of babies admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Government Hospital in the city of Bo, Sierra Leone, where they are currently at risk from frequent blackouts.

Michael Liebreich, founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, officially kicked off Project Bo with the goal of raising £100,000 to install a 20kW solar and storage system that will provide uninterrupted power supply to the ward. The campaign was triggered last year by a Tweet from Dr Niall Conroy "Three of our oxygen-dependent babies died last night when the power went off," he wrote. "Not good enough in 2017. Low-cost tech eg affordable solar power must be a priority for saving newborn lives".

Liebreich, who is also Visiting Professor at Imperial College's Energy Futures Lab and member of the high-level steering group of the UN's Sustainable Energy for All initiative, saw the Tweet and pledged to try and bring solar power to the unit. "We are trying to avoid the classic western donor problem of going in, dumping the unit and going 'job done', but then it doesn't have the right specs, the spare parts, the support of the nurses and doctors," he said. 

Fund-raising activity has also made progress ahead of the official launch, with £29,000 already raised, including the first £18,000 from the Liebreich Foundation, the Rahul Boyle Foundation, Eurelectric, and a private donor. "The basic equipment and installation will cost about $100,000, but we are raising more as we want to make sure we have enough for maintenance and training," says Liebreich. 

He also stressed the goal was to deliver the project as quickly as possible. Liebreich said that once delivered the project would also provide a compelling case study to demonstrate how clean technologies can bring reliable clean power to mission critical sites. "In terms of our industry, the reality is that solar plus storage is a better solution for these types of sites," he said. 

"If they had a reliable grid there would be no need, but the fact is they have an unreliable grid and will have one for quite a few years. This is an opportunity where you are not just delivering a clean energy project; this is the best way to provide reliable power to this unit. You could do it with diesel and it would cost around $15,000 a year in fuel, and you would also have both noise and air pollution issues, and a theft and reliability issue. It has to go 24x7. Even with petrol you need batteries as it has to be a uninterrupted power supply." 

Source: Business Green

Päivitetty/Updated: 13.02.2018




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