Wind Empowerment is a global association for the development of locally-manufactured small wind turbines (SWTs) for sustainable rural electrification. It aims to strengthen the capacity of its members through collaboration and knowledge exchange to promote and support small wind technology as a viable solution for rural electrification.
Webinar: How Can Open Source Accelerate Energy Access For People Off The Grid?
News from WISIONS posted on February 27th, 2019
Watch the recording here.
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Open source, open innovation, open collaboration: most of us access information daily based on an ‘open’ approach. Open source technology – which emerged as a radical new approach to software – benefits from a collaborative and transparent approach. It allows people to adapt and improve technology according to their needs. An open source approach can progress more rapidly thanks to the crowd-based model that encourages experimentation. Open source technology is flexible, and it is sometimes even more reliable.
But how can this revolution in “openness” benefit people who need access to energy? In the case of energy access, open source technology allows people to adapt energy-related hardware, software, and data more easily to their local conditions, potentially saving both time, effort, and money in the process. The flexibility offered by open source technology means that people are not wedded to proprietary technology if they need to adapt to new conditions. Despite these benefits, obstacles to open source technology also exist.
In our recent webinar we learned how energy practitioners are applying open source to solve concrete challenges to energy access. We explored the possibilities and the difficulties of using open source technologies for advancing SDG7.
- To showcase how energy practitioners (and practitioners’ networks) are applying the open source model to SDG7
- To understand the potential of open source technology for energy access
- To identify the difficulties or limitations of deploying open source technology in the energy access space
Dan Frydman, Green Empowerment / Hydro Empowerment Network
Luiz Vila, Wind Empowerment
Vijay Bhopal, Connected Energy / Open Energy Access Alliance
Martin Jäger, Libre Solar / Open Energy Access Alliance
Moderator: Molly Hurley-Depret
Watch all our previous webinars: WISIONS Webinar Series
Wind Empowerment is an association for the development of locally manufactured small wind turbines for sustainable rural electrification. They represent dozens of member organisations, consisting of wind turbine manufacturers, NGOs, universities, social enterprises, cooperatives, training centres, as well as over 1,000 individual participants across the world.
The association was founded in 2011 at the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal. The aim was to bridge the geographical gap between its members by providing a global platform for knowledge sharing and collaboration.
Shortly after the inaugural event in Dakar, the online platform windempowerment.org was created, which allowed knowledge to be exchanged via webinars, a document library, a discussion forum, news articles and, of course, by Skype and email.
Mission & Goals
Wind Empowerment supports the development of locally-built wind turbines for sustainable rural electrification by strengthening the capacity of its members globally through:
- Building and sharing financial and human resource connections
- Performing joint technical research, sharing technical information and collaborating on key vendor relationships
- Strengthening understanding of business and social models for the effective implementation of small wind technology
- Managing projects, offering consultancy services and developing/distributing products in line with the association’s guiding principles
Wind Empowerment acts as both a central knowledge bank and a facilitator of direct connections between its members (currently 39 organisations).
The Wind Empowerment conferences, which take place every 2 years, have been key in building and maintaining the relationships between individuals and organisations that form the basis of the network. Despite the staggering array of digital technologies available and used across the network, it has become clear that face-to-face follow up meetings are essential to allow members to discuss their experiences in person, share practical skills and build trust and partnerships.
The most recent conference took place in Kayathar and Chennai, India from 1 - 14 December 2018. Many photos and videos of the activities have been published on Wind Empowerment's Facebook page. Further information is available at WEIndia2018.
The previous conference took place from in November 2016 at two different venues in the Patagonian region of Argentina. A comprehensive conference documentation is available here:WEPatagonia2016.
The webpage of Wind Empowerment is a rich source of information and serves as an exchange platform for the members, as well as for other people interested in the network and the technology. It covers not only recent news and event information, but also contains a library of documents and articles on wind technology, research background, broadcasts and the latest information on working groups. In addition, lively dialogue takes place in the discussion forums and the webinars offer background information on relevant current topics.
The Working Groups (WGs) have been set up to actively address the key barriers facing the development of small wind technology for rural development. The six WGs are:
In 2016 all six working groups started to develop so-called kick-starter projects to ensure a more intensive form of collaboration within clearly targeted projects or studies.
Upcoming EventsCurrently, there are no upcoming events.
Coordination & Support
The coordinating person is Jessica Rivas.
The regional partnership WindWorks, which aimed for the promotion of small-scale wind turbines in Latin America, merged with Wind Empowerment in 2014. WindWorks was initiated and supported by WISIONS, in close cooperation with Green Empowerment from 2011 - 2014.