Monday, October 5, 2009

Saving the Energy Crisis, One Elephant at a Time

As one of my last posts as a guest blawger, I thought a classmate from CU Law may be able to shed more light on environmental issues she has been coming across while working all across Africa through Elephant Energy, ("EE"). Currently, because EE is new to the area (in Namibia), my classmates Jen Dill and Ryan Knight are setting up a supply chain, developing locally appropriate rural marketing strategies, exploring micro financing options, developing locally appropriate rural marketing strategies, establishing contacts, and scoping possibilities for a renewable energy shop for the future.

Unfortunately, as is typical, they have come across many obstacles in hoping to get their products implements. For example, they were expecting a shipment of solar torches to arrive in the beginning of September, but found out later that the ship, as well as its cargo, was still in Texas. After finally receiving word that the shipment arrived, they have to wait for the shipment to go through customs, and then for it to be shipped to their rural area. Due to the unreliability and unpredictability, EE also ordered other products to arrive at the end of October through DHL from China. But again, shipping, infrastructure, bureaucratic red tape of customs, and timing are all logistical obstacles that EE faces on a day-to-day basis…. And it’s only the beginning. (“EE”). EE is a non-profit organization hoping to bring electricity to “energy-oppressed” countries through small-scale renewable energy equipment for use in diverse community-based programs, promoting environmental protection, and incentivizing sustainable development.

EE is also trying to involve conservancies, such as the conservancy system in Namibia, which are designed to help communities conserve wildlife and enhance rural development. Originally, EE hoped to sell the solar torches through conservancies, but due to its own bureaucratic structure and differing levels of capacity (and dear I say corruption!), EE is now leaning more towards a market based model. Which begs the question, is capitalism the solution?

While the EE’s struggles do not seem to involve deep environmental legal issues, it seems emblematic of the administrative and bureaucratic issues so prevalent in environmental law. Jen Dill’s pictures of baby elephants and grandiose cascading waterfalls seem to be a small perk in living in the safari. However, with all the hurdles she has faced and will continue to face in promotion of EE’s products and bringing energy to these rural towns, it is clear that she has a long journey towards successfully implementing renewable energy equipment while promoting environmental protection. - Good luck Jen and Ryan!

For more information on Elephant Energy, please visit

I'm reading: Saving the Energy Crisis, One Elephant at a TimeTweet this!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for blawgging here, Ann! Best with your own projects moving forward!!


Discussion and feedback is encouraged, but civility and professionalism will be maintained by administrative censoring of abusive or off-topic comments. Thank you.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.