Tonight the Lima district of San Borja plans to light an emissions-free Christmas tree in a popular park as part of event called "Magic, Light, and Color: the Energy You Generate."
The 11 meter high tree will display LED Christmas lights powered by a combination of 10 bicycles, a wind turbine, and two small solar panels attached to the turbine. The power from these clean energy sources will be stored in batteries that will help power the tree for the nights to come.
I plan to attend tonight's event with my family, but I went ahead of time to check out the setup and preparations. The stage looks nice and it's visually appealing to see the turbine, bikes, and tree together. It's been a pretty cruddy day in Lima though, and the overcast skies and lack of wind weren't encouraging. The wind turbine blades weren't even moving, which might be related to an inherent low wind characteristic to the spot where the turbine was placed. I'm not really sure. Nonetheless, I will be excited to see how things turn out.
One thing that surprised me in a conversation with a park employee was that the public won't be actually allowed to do the bicycling. It seems like this would be a really big missed opportunity if the public can't jump on the bikes to help power up the trees. I'll be interested to see if she was correct about this aspect of the presentation, especially as the event was titled "the energy you generate."
In addition to the tree lighting, there are also plans to have live music from the National Children's Choir and some other groups, as well as storytelling for children. This sound like a great event for Lima and also Peru. While the alternative energy sector is still in its early development stages in the country, Peru has tremendous potential to harness both the wind and the sun for substantial amounts of energy.
According to Peru's La República newspaper, similar trees are also being lit by alternative energy sources this year in the cities of Copenhagen, Denmark and San Sebastián, Spain.
Stayed tuned and I will post some of the photos that I take of tonight's event.