Sudha Kheterpal, is the British-Indian musician and percussionist in Faithless, turned energy entrepreneur and EU Sustainable Energy Week ambassador. She is also behind Spark, a shaker percussionist instrument that can be played during the day and will convert energy into power at night; power to provide light or the ability to charge a phone in parts of Africa with no electricity.
She has toured the world with Faithless and other huge acts, such as the Spice Girls and Dido, and understands the value of music in unifying people as well as the energy needed for performances. It was this understanding that inspired her to become a found Shake Your Power to bring clean energy and education through the power of music.
Shake Your Power is one of the founding members of the Off the Grid Club which has been developed and nurtured by EnergyNet, the pioneering energy-focused organizer of forums and collaborations designed to facilitate investment in Africa’s power and industrial sectors. Off the Grid Club provides a networking platform for technology providers and financiers working in Africa’s off-grid energy space and launches in festival style on the 23rd June with a gig celebrating African music at the Africa Energy Forum in London.
The Off the Grid Club gig (curated by Sudha) will bring together a diverse range of artists including Fuse ODG, the MOBO Award winning British-Ghanaian rapper; Imaani, the silky voice behind the iconic band, Incognito; Afriquoi, the five piece outfit fusing African melodies and rhythms with house, funky, garage and dubstep; and DJ Rita Ray, the club and radio DJ who helped to rejuvenate London’s world music scene with the Mambo Inn.
1. In 140 characters or less – what is Shake Your Power?
Shake Your Power connects people through music with Spark, the world’s first clean electricity-generating musical instrument that creates and stores energy as you play.
2. What was the driver for creating Shake Your Power – what gap did it fill?
Playing music has been my life and bringing thousands of people together through the power of music is something that has always left me with a sense of purpose. For many years I have wondered whether the huge amounts of energy created from performing on some of these stages could be harnessed and used. But there is also a deeper motivation, one aligned with a changing of the collective consciousness, to help find a new way of creating a more sustainable future.
3. Who does it primarily serve?
Spark has been designed for users living in off-grid communities, to give them the power to light their homes at night and charge a mobile phone through the power of music. The aim is to distribute Spark to rural schools in Africa as well as Spark educational assembly kits, allowing children to learn the technology around the shaker by building the component parts themselves and harnessing their own power. Children studying science, technology, engineering and music will all benefit from the application that these kits show.
4. What difference does Shake Your Power want to make?
In places like Kenya, where 75% of the population lives without access to electricity, having the ability to read at night or charge up a mobile phone gives people the chance of a better education and access to health services. Energy poverty is the world number one human and environmental crisis and it’s our desire for every child living in the world to have the opportunity to change their life. Through Spark we can teach children that interconnectivity is the way to our future and the key to the wellness of our planet.
5. What are the barriers to making that difference?
Getting access and collaboration between the right people is the biggest challenge – getting the right innovators, finance and people who will actually make a difference in Africa talking to each other. That is why the Off the Grid Club is such a fantastic and meaningful project to be a part of; because it’s working with regional leaders who can get things to happen in their country.
6. Who’s helping you overcome those barriers?
EnergyNet, Simon Gosling in particular. Their expertise, experience and ability to bring the right people together is making a real difference and will help African communities to establish the infrastructure required to move forward economically. That’s why I am supporting Off the Grid Club which was developed by Energynet.
7. Are governments doing enough to support off-the-grid power solutions in Africa?
I think success will come from the collaboration of governments, policy-makers, regional and international investors and technology entrepreneurs – together, they will provide solutions that will really make a difference. The Off the Grid Club brings these parties together, fostering relationships between them and regional leaders and acting as a catalyst for the development of off-the- grid power solutions and energy access in Africa. The Club is determined to help Africa meet its target in the international drive for universal access to energy by 2030.
8. How can people – individuals and organisations – find out more about Shake Your Power?
You can learn more on shakeyourpower.com or check out how the Off the Grid Club (website) is making it happen. The Off The Grid Club officially kicks off on the 23rd June at the Africa Energy Forum in London with a festival-style gig celebrating African music.
9. Where did the idea for Off the Grid Club come from?
EnergyNet developed the Off The Grid Club as a new membership programme to bring together credible off grid technology providers, financiers and regional leaders to invest in and develop reliable and scalable power solutions for Africa. The programme will provide a platform for members to form partnerships, giving them the opportunity to scale up their products and bring them to market more quickly.
The Off The Grid Club will launch at the Africa Energy Forum in London this June, as African artists come together to perform in a special gig to raise awareness of the importance of energy access. The gig is organised in partnership with Shake Your Power, one of the Founding Members of the Club. Music will be used as a way of communicating to and uniting the audience, and to recognise how commercial off grid solutions can play a significant role in electrifying Africa.
Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?
The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?
The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.
Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.
The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.
Introducing New Technology
The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.
- To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
- Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
- Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.
How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy
Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.
The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.
The Internet of Things
Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.
Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.
It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.
“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”
Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)
The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.
4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy
Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.
However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?
A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.
1. Boulder Nissan
When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:
- Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
- They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
- Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.
This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.
2. Valley Electric Association
In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.
“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”
The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.
This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.
3. Las Vegas Casinos
A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.
“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”
There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.
4. Boston College
Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.
Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.
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