Global Himalayan Expedition will commence its 2nd Edition of the expedition across Leh, the solar region of India, by flagging off the maiden Clean Himalayan Journey from Delhi to Leh covering 1300 kilometers, in an Electric Vehicle (EV), running completely on solar charged batteries.
Global Himalayan Expedition team also joins forces with Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency for identification of villages across remote parts of Ladakh, where the expedition team will be setting up DC Solar Microgrids to provide basic lighting and charging facilities to the local community.
Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE), the most successful efforts in India in the field of sustainable tourism has announced the second edition of the journey and the launch of the expedition website http://www.ghe.co.in . What makes this year’s Expedition special is the inaugural Clean Himalayan Journey from Delhi to Leh. To be covered entirely on an Electric Powered Vehicle (EV), the journey will be led by none other than Robert Swan, OBE. Robert is a UN Goodwill Ambassador and the first man to have walked to both the poles on Earth. This will be Robert’s second clean journey after his voyage for cleaner energy to Antarctica. The electric vehicle will cover about 1300 kilometers between Delhi and Ladakh passing through Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and J&K. Throughout the journey, the Expedition team members, will reach out to people and raise awareness about clean energy, electric vehicle and its benefits. The journey will be a precursor to the 2nd edition of the Global Himalayan Expedition, which would kick-off on the day when the Electric vehicle reaches Leh.
Robert Swan said, “This year the team wishes to further promote the idea of use of clean energy. We decided to undertake this journey as a display of how clean energy is an effective alternative to traditional fossil fuel based transportation systems. Going through some of the toughest terrains, on one of the highest stretches of roadways in the world, the team wants to show that if an Electric Vehicle can take on this challenge, then it can very well work anywhere. Once in Leh, the Electric Vehicle will be used to transport to help in the transportation students and people from the other parts of the city to reach the E-Base, built by the team during last year’s Expedition, and work at the facility.”
The Global Himalayan Expedition team wants this to be the first step in the introduction of more EVs in Ladakh. This would help in reducing the rapidly rising pollution levels in this pristine city, and also would decrease the burden of hauling fossil fuels all the way up the mountains, waste a lot of energy in the process. The region is one of the most suitable regions for yearlong solar energy generation, and the same can be used to refuel these EVs.
In addition to the clean Himalayan journey, this year the expedition will focus on providing energy access to remote Himalayan regions.
Till about a year back, the 32 residents of Sumda Chenmo, a small hamlet of 15 houses, in the Zanskar valley called it a day at 6pm when the sun set. The hamlet, whose major source of income generation is animal rearing and crafts, is about 2 days of treacherous trek away from the mainland in any direction. Every household of the hamlet had been using Kerosene and wood for daily lighting and cooking. To purchase the kerosene they needed to trek for a day to the nearest available store. Ironically, Ladakh receives sunlight for almost 300 days of the year but so far not much effort had been made to tap into this sustainable source of energy. Last year the Global Himalayan Expedition team distributed solar powered lanterns to the villagers of Sumda Chenmo and educated them of its use. The joy was evident on both the sides.
The quest has not ended as this year the Global Himalayan expedition team will be involved in setting up a DC Solar Micro Grid in one of the villages already identified as part of the 4 day long trek. Electrification through centralized grid and power line distribution has not reached many of these sparsely located rural mountain communities, due to low demand and high cost of providing energy access. The Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency (LREDA) will be supporting GHE in selecting a remote village and connecting the team with its local community on the utilization and upgrade of power generation resources.
The 2014 expedition participants will be setting up these sustainable and socially oriented infrastructures to be eventually owned and maintained by the local communities. These sustainable solutions will enable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and protect the fragile eco-system, which in turn will also enable increased income generation activities in the region.
“Bringing these peoples out of darkness must be the priority of everyone who is equipped to do so and not just the Indian government. These areas are untapped markets for solar products and for sustainable energy resources. It should also be the priority of successful people and corporates that have prospered in the last two decades to be acutely aware that the social fabric of the country cannot accommodate inequality of access to basic services of this magnitude. LREDA and GHE will identify territories where micro grids could operate and help setup electricity infrastructure while encouraging the community on the use of solar energy access for additional income generation activities, says Paras Loomba, Founder, Global Himalayan Expedition.
Elaborating about the expedition Col. Loomba, Advisor to GHE, said, “The 2013 inaugural expedition brought together some amazing participants from 8 different countries. They ranged from sustainability consultants from Netherlands, to Investment Bankers from UK, to media professionals from USA, to the CEO of Azure power (India’s largest solar company), to Graduates from top Business schools including Yale & Kellogg among many other entrepreneurs and professionals. This year too we expect a good response to our initiative. The Electric Vehicle journey from Delhi to the E-Base in Leh will be an added element to GHE, making it one of the most successful efforts in India in the field of sustainable tourism.”
The team has finalized its route and logistics, and has now invited applications for participation and partnerships to assist them both technically and financially.
The registrations for the 2014 edition of the expedition opened with the launch of its new website http://www.ghe.co.in.
The Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) is an annual 11 day experiential trip promoting sustainable tourism to the ‘Roof of the world’, Ladakh held in the month of August every year supported by Robert Swan, 2041 foundation, cycleforwater.com, corporate, volunteers, nature & Adventure enthusiasts and environment sustainability experts and stakeholders from all over the world.
Established in the year 2013, the 2nd edition of the expedition this year will undertake the world’s first Clean Himalayan Journey covering 1300 kilometers in an Electric Vehicle. GHE has also established the World’s 3rd E-base at Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre in Leh. Please visit http://www.ghe.co.in for more information.