Thursday, April 14, 2011



A New Zealander is winning big play on American media this week for the way he has taken solar and wind power to the people of Afghanistan.

Tony Woods, originally of Wellington, has featured on CNN and Public Broadcasting in the US, as well as in leading magazines.

Owner and director of Sustainable Energy Services Afghanistan (SESA), he has used US$4.8 million to bring electricity to remote villages and create a model of local development.

"What our clients purchase is not solar power or wind power - they actually don't give a shit about solar," he told the latest issue of Fast Company magazine in the US.

''It's a means to an end - to stability, to employment, to growth."

The Wellington man was biking through Pakistan, en route to South Africa and China, when he noticed failed micro hydropower generators.

He asked New Zealand Aid for help and they hired him to fix the generators.

In 1999 he visited Afghanistan and realised it was perfect for renewable energy.

The northeast region had abundant water, the west has steady wind, and the south strong sunshine.

So in 2007 he moved to Kabul and started SESA and with US funding began developing solar panels and windmills.

Woods team does the installation, which doesn't require much wiring since everything stays local, and the training.

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