Wind Empowerment

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.

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Where the Winds Meet – Small Wind Turbines in Última Esperanza, Chile

News from WISIONS posted on October 11th, 2017

One of our SEPS exchange activities aimed to create a local knowledge group for the self-construction of small-scale wind turbines in the south of Chile, through an international exchange of knowledge with Argentinian members of the Wind Empowerment network. Read moreMinimize

The activities were carried out in Puerto Natales, in the region of Magallanes in southern Chile, and seeked to build, strengthen and disseminate the local competences that are necessary to:

  • Construct, maintain and repair small wind turbines
  • Install small wind turbines for off-grid rural electrification
  • Measure small wind turbine performances and local wind resources
During a workshop in June 2017, the participants were guided through the construction of a 350W small wind turbine (1.8 m diameter), based on the widely adopted Piggott open-source design. The turbine is installed in Estancia La Fernanda, a family farm around 13 km from Puerto Natales. 

The farm has difficult access to electricity in the winter, when it mostly depends on a diesel generator. The family participated in the workshop, and is now responsible for the correct operation and maintenance of the system.

A detailed summary of the activities will soon be published on our SEPS project page: “Where the Winds Meet” – Local Construction of Small Wind Turbines in Última Esperanza, Chile.

More information is available on Wind Empowerment's blog.

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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 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 last 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.

Online Platform
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.

Working Groups
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.

Coordination & Support

The Wind Empowerment network is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and is supported by several organisations, one of which is the WISIONS initiative.

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.