The Footprint Project and New Use Energy have teamed up to quickly provide Ukraine with solar microgrids. You may remember my interview with Footprint Project CEO Will Heegaard during the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. After my power came back on, I was able to get back online and write again. Will told me that Footprint was helping in areas hit hardest by Ida, such as New Orleans and surrounding areas. The overall mission of Footprint Project is to provide disaster relief using solar microgrids and renewable energy, and this has earned the nonprofit allies in both fields of disaster relief and renewable energy.
Microgrid Knowledge shared how both Heegaard and Paul Shmotolokha, CEO of New Use Energy, took action to help Ukrainians just after Russia launched its invasion in February. Shmotolokha, a Ukrainian-American, also has a wife who was born in Ukraine, so this was a bit personal. Although the two CEOs are familiar with providing disaster relief and assistance, this devastating war Russia waged and is still waging on Ukraine was, as the article phrased it, a whole new world for the two.
New Use Energy provides solar microgrids and equipment such as headlamps, as well as humanitarian aid. Aside from working alongside Footprint Project to provide disaster relief here in Louisiana after Ida, it also provided relief in Texas just after the deep freeze in 2021. After Russia invaded Ukraine, Shmotolokha explained that Heegaard called him at 7:00 in the morning and they immediately knew this would be very big. The two faced challenges, including funding, shipping units that were classified as hazardous materials, and finding trusted sources across Europe who could provide equipment. However, they didn’t let these obstacles deter them. They developed a coalition of non-profit, government, and corporate partners which included Global Empower Mission and SmartAid.
Solar trailers have arrived in Moldova! These 2 mobile solar generators will provide electricity and wifi access at refugee camps for Ukrainians in Moldova.
— Footprint Project (@FootprintPrjct) April 18, 2022
Heegaard and Shmotolokha quickly worked out a plan to send solar microgrids to hospitals and emergency power equipment to Moldova, which was the site of a refugee camp where grid power was unavailable due to the war. The article noted that gas and diesel-fired generators were used as backup power, and we know all too well that these spew out pollution. Shmotolokha pointed out that the fuels needed for these generators to run are now both dangerous and hard to get.
Shmotolokha said that the solar generators offered a quieter and cleaner alternative to the gas and diesel-powered generators and that they were also essential to medical facilities.
$25,000 Grant From Mac6
Mac6, a coworking space for businesses in Arizona, provided a $25,000 matching grant to help Footprint Project prepare follow-up initiatives for the region. How this works is that donations to Footprint Project will be matched by Mac6 for up to $25,000. If you’d like to donate, you can do so here.
For now, both nonprofits recently shipped six pallets of portable solar microgrid equipment to Ukraine to power medical lighting and communications equipment. They’re also sending 120 small portable power stations to medical facilities. These handheld units will include batteries and an inverter.
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