Mathias Craig

Ashoka Fellow
San Francisco, California, United States
Fellow Since 2008

Citation

This profile was prepared when Mathias Craig was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
As an engineering student, Mathias was fascinated with the potential of renewable energy for developing the world’s poorest regions. In 2003, Mathias co-founded the citizen organization (CO) blueEnergy. blueEnergy implements a reliable clean energy model for poor Nicaraguan communities and puts development in the hands of residents by emphasizing the local manufacture and maintenance of wind/solar energy systems.

After studying failed or underperforming rural electrification projects, Mathias designed blueEnergy to address two major shortcomings among existing programs. First, most electrification programs import foreign-made energy systems to poor communities that lack the ability to maintain these systems, often resulting in the communities abandoning the technology. Instead, blueEnergy develops local capacity to build, operate, and maintain energy systems by manufacturing its turbines in Nicaragua and investing in training local technicians and community operators. Second, many electrification projects install energy systems but do not follow-up with communities over the long-term, which also leads to abandoned technology. Mathias and the blueEnergy team believe long-term support is crucial to the adoption of appropriate technology and have built structured follow-up into their strategy. At its heart, blueEnergy is about sustainable community-owned and managed technologies.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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