Meet BIPOC climate champions, Diandra Marizet & Maya Penn. Plus green biotech company, Mi Terro: making edible alternatives to plastic food wrapping, and a massive battery storage facility coming to Senegal?
BIPOC Climate Champs–Diandra Marizet & Maya Penn, Green Biotech Company–Mi Terro, Massive Battery Storage Facility Coming to Senegal?
LEKELA PLANS BATTERY STORAGE AT WIND FARM IN SENEGAL
Senegal is the leader in West Africa for renewable energy implementation. Of its total installed energy capacity of approximately 930 MW, 180 MW is generated from hydropower, solar power, and wind, and another 60 MW of solar power is under construction. And of course there’s the PETN wind farm opened last year.
These are notable accomplishments. However, Senegal suffers the same problems all alternative energy producers suffer—intermittency. To manage variable solar and wind energy and reduce or eliminate load shedding, Senegal is pursuing battery storage solutions. Now, the independent power producer (IPP) Lekela Power has chosen the Danish company DNV to carry out the feasibility study for its electricity storage project.
A subsidiary of Lekela Power, Lekela Advisors Limited, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Senelec to develop a battery electric storage system (“BESS”) project co-located at the Taiba Wind Farm but directly connected to the national grid (“Project”).
Pending the results of the study, Lekela plans to build a system capable of storing 100 MW of power. The batteries will be housed in 45 40-foot (21 m) shipping containers. These containers will be stored next to the wind farm. The storage system will provide 175 MWh of electricity, enough to stabilise the grid of the Senegalese national electricity company (Senelec). Construction is scheduled to begin this year.
According to Lekela Power, DNV will help “develop the technical specifications of the battery storage system to ensure a successful technical solution that will provide services to the grid during its operational life of up to 20 years”. In addition, as part of its new contract, DNV will be involved in negotiating the power purchase agreement (PPA) for the storage system between Senelec and Lekela. This will be the first PPA for storage in Senegal, and potentially in West Africa.
A major achievement in the energy transition of this West African country.
BIPOC CLIMATE CHAMPION, DIANDRA MARIZET
Diandra Marizet is a conscious curator, brand strategist, writer, and founding member of Intersectional Environmentalist. She co-founded Intersectional Environmentalist, a resource hub that explores the intersections of social and environmental justice.
She previously worked as a fashion buyer before pivoting towards centering her work around elevating intersectional sustainability through the lens of fashion, social impact, and culture. In an article for “Well and Good,” Marizet describes why she shifted.
“On an industry level, I too often see sustainability efforts take shape as a tradeoff, meaning the initiatives are more about neutralizing environmentally damaging effects than promoting positive ones. For instance, when I previously worked in the fashion space, I saw what happens when sustainability efforts and capitalism clash: Teams of buyers crunch a few numbers in spreadsheets that will result in the use of toxic chemicals and textiles to create garments that will ultimately contribute toxic waste to the Earth at one desk, while at another desk, the latest “sustainably grown” materials for an upcoming collection get explored. These two tasks in tandem are not reflective of a company showing an activist dedication to the betterment of the planet.”
According to her, this dichotomy of purpose is industry-wide. Corporations strive to find innovative solutions. But, She argues, that in order for us to create a sustainable planet, we, as a collective, have to start listening to Mother Earth. We must rediscover that deep-seated connection that allows us to truly care for the planet and its people. And act on it.
Marizet has also learned that culture plays a critical role in how deeply or superficially, individuals consider consumerism and sustainability. It’s her unique perspective from the fashion industry that matters to us non-fashionistas.
IN GREEN BIOTECH–MI TERRO, PLASTIC-ALTERNATIVE BIOMATERIALS COMPANY
When Robert Luo visited his uncle’s dairy farm in China one year, he “was inspired to create biomaterials made from agricultural waste” because of buckets and buckets of spoiled milk on the farm. Back in the U.S. Luo founded Mi Terro in the Spring of 2021. His company uses the circular economy concept to upcycle and engineer agricultural waste to replace plastics in packaging.
Mi Terro’s list of products range from packaging material to milk fiber, created from spoiled milk. Their packing films are home compostable and ocean degradable. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 415 million tons of food are thrown away before distribution. A U.S. space shuttle weighs about 100 tons, so… that’s 10 hundred thousand space crafts to get us to 1 million tons of food.
The company’s driving motto is “The pursuit of profit should also advance the good of society.” Building a strong supply chain that customers can trust where authentic and credible products are created is Mi Terro’s 2021 and beyond focus.
Why do biomaterials matter to us? Because EU laws require companies to abandon non-biodegradable or non-compostable plastic by 2030.
CLIMATE CHAMPION MAYA PENN, HER VERY OWN ECO-COTTAGE INDUSTRY
22-year old Maya Penn is an environmental (and eco-justice) activist, and sustainable fashion designer. She’s also author of You Got This!: Unleash Your Awesomeness, Find Your Path, and Change the World, a three-time TED speaker, and founder of the nonprofit organization Maya’s Ideas 4 the Planet (which, among other things, sends eco-friendly sanitary napkins to menstruating people in need),
Penn is also a sustainability consultant working with Fortune 500 companies, and a recipient of a commendation for outstanding achievement in environmental stewardship from former President Barack Obama.
She’s a what loyal listeners? Slacker
In addition, Penn is an animator with her own production company – focused on tackling environmental and social topics through animation, an artist, and filmmaker, too. What’s perhaps most impressive about Penn, however, is that she’s been at it since she was just 8 years old, when she launched her sustainable fashion line.
In an interview with Well and Good, Penn described her upbringing as the basis for her climate championing. She said, “I grew up in an eco-conscious household. My earliest memories are of me and my mom going to the thrift store and shopping secondhand. We also had an organic garden starting when I was 7 or 8 years old, and I grew up knowing that everyone has an impact on the environment and on our communities in some way. I channeled that knowledge into my sustainable fashion line and all the activism that has come from that.”
Why does Maya Penn matter to us? Over Maya’s 13 years of environmental activism, her voice has always been uniquely centered on the human, emotional, and mental side of environmental crises, and how these issues largely impact marginalized communities and young generations.