The destruction and loss of life from last year’s Jan. 12 earthquake near Port-au-Prince, Haiti, highlighted a range of challenges that Haitians face, both in everyday life and in times of crisis. One item on that list was the ability to provide reliable electricity to remote areas of the country. David Crane ’81, president and CEO of Princeton-based NRG Energy, is working to address that problem by supporting a solar energy project in Boucan-Carré, a village in Haiti’s central highlands.
NRG has pledged $1 million to fund the collaboration with the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), a Washington, D.C., based nongovernmental organization. Solar panels will power irrigation pumps, village schools, street lights, and fish-farming facilities. The project, which is intended to be a model for other areas, earned additional support last week when it received a $500,000 grant from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.
The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund distributed $3.4 million in new grants, in areas that included cholera prevention, emergency medical care, and lending to small businesses. The grant for the Boucan-Carré project, Crane said in a news release, supports the idea that “solar power can play a pivotal role in helping the Haitian people build a sustainable, healthy, and prosperous society.”
Crane, a Woodrow Wilson School major at Princeton, earned a law degree at Harvard and worked in investment banking and the energy sector before taking the helm at NRG in 2003. EnergyBiz magazine selected Crane as its “utility CEO of the year” in March 2010.
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