The Importance of Community Engagement in Renewables: A Tale of Two Wind Farms in Kenya

April 25, 2016 | Written by Kaki Comer

Youth block the Nakuru-Nairobi highway while protesting against the building of a wind park in Kinangop, Nyandarua County. (photo: businessdailyafrica.com)

Community engagement: the common factor that can determine whether an energy project will come to fruition or be stopped in its tracks by local opposition. As we have seen in New England, Mexico, Kenya, and many other places around the world, engaging with local communities before, during, and after the energy development process can save projects from failure. The crucial importance of community engagement to a successful and profitable energy project, as well as fair and open consultation with communities, lie at the heart of EO's mission to shape more responsible energy development.

When energy developers fail to employ best practices in community engagement or consultation, the outcome is more often than not unfavorable. Two illustrative examples of ...

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Elevating Indigenous Voices in Debates Over Energy Development on Their Lands

March 21, 2016 | Written by James Anaya

Residents of the village of Chiriaco covered in oil that spilled into a local river from the February 2016 oil pipeline leak in Peru. (photo: El Comercio)

Editor's note: The author of this post, Indigenous Peoples' rights expert James Anaya, is a member of the Equitable Origin Board of Directors and a Regents' and James J. Lenoir Professor of Human Rights Law and Policy at University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. He served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples from 2008 to 2014.

In early February a 40-year old pipeline that is Peru’s main conduit for crude oil ruptured, spilling 3,000 barrels of oil in the Amazon rain forest and polluting two rivers. Several indigenous communities depend on the affected waterways, and their contamination poses a serious ...

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Governors’ Pledge to Support Renewabales will Accelerate Clean Energy Boom and Increase Risk of Social Conflict in the U.S.

March 7, 2016 | Written by Kaki Comer

Credit: http://solarindustrymag.com/seventeen-governors-sign-accord-focused-on-clean-energy

In a time of intense partisan animosity in the U.S., a bipartisan group of governors from 17 states has found common ground in renewable energy. In an accord, signed on February 16, the governors pledged to accelerate their efforts to create a green economy in the U.S. by boosting renewables, building better electricity grids and cutting emissions from transportation. The accord exemplifies a larger trend toward vast renewable energy expansion throughout the U.S. It acknowledges that “by developing renewable, cleaner and more efficient energy solutions, we can make our national economy more productive and resilient.” It also recognizes that “American prosperity has always depended on embracing new ideas and technologies” and renewable energy is no exception.

Renewables are booming for a multitude of reasons, from their associated benefits of energy security and ...

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EO's Latin America Director Reflects on the Region's Energy Future in Industry Magazine Colombia Energía

Feb. 15, 2016 | Written by Kaki Comer

EO Director of Latin America Operations Sabastián Pérez stepping off a plane in route to EO-certified Quifa oil field in Colombia.

EO Director of Latin America Operations Sebastián Pérez appeared in a recent issue of Colombia Energía magazine. In the article "Desarrollo energético en Latinoamérica, a partir del diálogo y en equilibrio con el medio ambiente" (p. 39-43), Pérez underscores the importance of developing international standards for evaluating the social and environmental impacts of energy development.

On a planet of over seven billion people, there is an insatiable demand for energy. Latin America, and developing countries in general, though rich in energy resources, have the least access to energy and experience the most devastating impacts of climate change. They have consequently found themselves in the dilemma of balancing energy security with social equality while mitigating the environmental effects of energy ...

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Executive Summary: Defining and Addressing Community Opposition to Wind Development in Oaxaca

Jan. 28, 2016 | Written by Kaki Comer

Equitable Origin's case study on wind development and community opposition in Oaxaca, Mexico is now available for to the public.

This morning, we announced an updated version of our case study, Defining and Addressing Community Opposition to Wind Development in Oaxaca (originally published in November 2015) in a press release and made it available for download. Read on for an executive summary of the study:

Since Mexico opened its energy resources to foreign development and investment, wind energy development in the southern state of Oaxaca has boomed, buoyed by the federal government's goal to triple its wind capacity by 2018. Windy Oaxaca is home to a dynamic that is becoming increasingly common around the world as a consequence of the expansion of energy development into new and remote areas: energy development projects within the legal and/or traditional ...

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Equitable Origin 2015 Assurance Report

Jan. 6, 2016 | Written by Equitable Origin

Click here to access Equitable Origin's 2015 Assurance System Report

Information sharing with all stakeholders is a top priority for EO. Just as we seek to bring greater transparency to the energy industry, we are dedicated to making our own organization's systems and operations transparent as well. The sharing of such information with stakeholders is generally known as "assurance."

As a full member of the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labeling (ISEAL) Alliance, EO is subject to certain requirements for disclosing internal processes and other operational information to the public. One category of information that ISEAL requires its members to make public is a detailed and up-to-date description of assurance systems--the procedures that facilitate the free flow of information about an organization.

Equitable Origin's 2015 Assurance System Report is now available to read and download. > Read more

Advancing COP21’s Climate Vision with Verified-Responsible Renewable Energy in Mexico and Around the World

Dec. 14, 2015 | Written by Soledad Mills

A wind farm in Texas. (credit: "GreenMountainWindFarm Fluvanna 2004" by Leaflet - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons).

Before the COP21 climate summit officially kicked off on November 30th, renewable energy had already received a major boost. The previous day, a group of billionaires led by Bill Gates used the occasion of COP21 to announce the formation of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, an initiative to “invest early, broadly, boldly, and wisely” in clean energy research and technical innovation to speed the transition to a no-carbon future. Days later, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a Solar Alliance of 120 countries committed to investing in more affordable and more widespread deployment of solar power.

The final agreement ratified by 195 nations on Saturday leaves no doubt that the urgency, investment, and political will in favor of ...

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The Origins of Equitable Origin: Watch the Film, Contribute to the Mission

Dec. 2, 2015 | Written by Equitable Origin

EO President and Co-Founder David Poritz, the co-star of "Oil and Water" in the Amazon jungle as a teenager.

In many ways, Equitable Origin began in a middle school classroom in Amherst, Massachusetts in 2001. That's the place and time that, at the age of 14, EO President and Co-Founder David Poritz began to discover his passion for defending the people and nature of the Amazon jungle. You can read a brief version of the rest of the story...or you can experience it in your own home.

The documentary film "Oil & Water" is now available for home rental through the Equitable Origin Website! Sign up for a free Vimeo.com account and pay $5.99 (via credit card or PayPal) to stream the full movie for 24 hours from any connected device--click the player below to begin. Once you've experienced the story of how EO came to be, we ask you to join us in our mission by making a tax-deductible donation through our secure online system.

— For Home Use Only —

"Oil & Water" picks up the history of EO in that Amherst classroom and takes the audience along for an exciting ride through six years of David's life and deep into the Amazon to visit the indigenous communities that inspired him. The film ...

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EO President Explains Value of Voluntary Standards for Risk Reduction in New Mexican Energy Sector at PEMEX Conference

Nov. 6, 2015 | Written by Josh Garrett

EO President and Co-Founder on stage for a panel discussion at the PEMEX International Congress and Exhibition on Hydrocarbons, Petroluem, and Petrochemical Logistics in Veracruz, Mexico..

Mexico is in the midst of a historic turning point for its energy industry. Over the last three years, major reforms have opened up the Mexican energy landscape to foreign development and investment more completely than at any time in the last seven decades. As a result, an estimated $220 billion in investment opportunities are available in the newly-liberalized private energy sector. With so many opportunities available, a Mexican energy development boom is all but assured--the country holds massive oil and gas reserves, as well as substantial wind and solar energy potential. Low oil and gas prices have tempered the interest of international exploration and development companies in the short term, but when prices ...

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Groundbreaking EO-Organized Forum in Lima Sparks Dialogue for More Equitable Energy Development on Indigenous Lands in Peru

Nov. 1, 2015 | Written by Josh Garrett

AIDESEP representative Sedequias Ancón watches a presentation on the first day of the forum.

Last week, EO co-hosted a first-of-its kind event in Lima in what we hope will prove to be the first step on a new path for responsible and inclusive energy development in the indigenous territories of Peru. When we first announced the forum "Indigenous Communities and Extractive Industries: Standards for Quality and Generation of Opportunities Under Equitable Conditions," we noted that it comes at a crucial juncture in the history of oil and gas development in Peru. Just six years ago, indigenous communities' opposition to oil and gas projects in their territories led to violent clashes with police that resulted in 73 deaths and 150 injuries. The tragedy underscored what remains true today: the processes for planning, approving, and implementing oil and gas development in the ...

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