Wind Empowerment

Wind Empowerment is an association for the development of locally built small wind turbines for sustainable rural electrification, which has been supported by the WISIONS initiative since the middle of 2014. The regional partnership WindWorks, which aimed for the promotion of small-scale wind turbines in Latin America, merged with WindEmpowerment in 2014. WindWorks was initiated and supported by WISIONS, in close cooperation with Green Empowerment from 2011 - 2014.

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Modular Power to the People

News from WISIONS posted on October 15th, 2016

One of our SEPS exchange activities aims to create an open-source power converter that can be used in the implementation of self-built wind turbines as well as for other technologies. The activities are carried out in different regions of Latin America.Read moreMinimize

Over the last months, various training sessions and feasibility discussions on power converter based systems have been carried out. The main outcome of this phase was to prepare the following working steps, which aimed to specify the design of a certain power converter. French students worked with the local organisations WindAid (Peru) and QMax (Argentina) and contributed new ideas and inspirations to their systems and overall efforts.

Consequently, the project proceeded to final assembly, testing and validation of the specific power converter system. This phase took place on the shape of a knowledge exchange where an engineering student from the University of Grenoble (representing ACE) went to the South of Argentina to work at L&R Ingeniería / INTI, with auxiliary testing done at the University (UNPA). 

One of the most important deliverables of this project is the personal and professional bonds that were shaped among its members. Despite the short time, the Wind Empowerment Working Group managed to build a deliverable, host students, exchange information and improve its overall power electronics knowledge. 

The project has advanced up to the prototype level. It is now time to assemble copies of these prototypes and test them in field conditions for different types of energy sources and loads.

More general information on this SEPS exchange activity is available here: Modular Power to the People: Democratising Energy Access through Modular Power Electronics Systems


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Activities

Wind Empowerment acts as both a central knowledge bank and a facilitator of direct connections between its members (currently 39 organizations).

Annual Conference

The third annual conference of Wind Empowerment took place from 14 to 19 November 2016 at two different venues in the Patagonian region of Argentina. More follow-up information will be available soon at Wind Empowerment's website: WEPatagonia2016. A short kick-off video made by Cutral-Có is available here: 

Information on the previous event can be found here: WEAthens2014.

Online Platform
The new webpage of Wind Empowerment is a rich source of information and 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 webinars offer background information on relevant current topics.

Working groups
Wind Empowerment Working Groups (WGs) have been set up to actively address the key barriers facing the development of small wind technology for rural development. Currently, these consist of:

  • Market Assessment
  • Delivery Models
  • Maintenance
  • Technology
  • Measurement
  • Education

Network events

Despite the staggering array of digital technologies available and used across the network, follow up meetings in person are essential to allow members to discuss their experiences face to face, share practical skills and build lasting relationships. Two events have so far taken place.

SEPS exchanges – linked to Wind Empowerment

In the last calls for SEPS project support WISIONS selected the following exchange activities from members of Wind Empowerment.

Modular Power to the People: Democratising Energy Access through Modular Power Electronics Systems

“Where the Winds Meet” – Local Construction of Small Wind Turbines in Última Esperanza, Chile

Background and development of WindEmpowerment

Prior to the establishment of WindEmpowerment, there were many unrelated organisations around the world that were using small wind power to electrify rural areas, with varying levels of success.

In 2011 in Dakar, Senegal, many of these organisations met for the first time and formed the WindEmpowerment association.  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.

Coordination and support

The WindEmpowerment network is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and is supported by several organisations, one of which is the WISIONS initiative. The coordinating person is Jon Sumanik-Leary.