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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OpenAFPM: An Open Source Software Tool for Designing Generators in Wind Power Systems

News from WISIONS posted on March 23rd, 2018

One of our SEPS exchange activities aims to provide technical knowledge relating to small wind turbines by creating a free online resource and mutual learning opportunities. Recently, the project team completed their programming work on the "OpenAFPM" modelling tool, which can be used for designing Axial Flux Permanent Magnet (AFPM) generators for wind electric systems.Read moreMinimize

This series of design tools have been developed by the Rural Electrification Research Group (RurERG), which is part of the Smart RUE (Smart Grids Research Unit of the Electrical and Computer Engineering School) of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), in order to assist designers and practitioners involved with small scale wind electric systems.

The OpenAFPM tools series consists of three design tools named MagnAFPM, UserAFPM and OptiAFPM.

  • MagnAFPM can be used for designing a generator for a specific set of rotor blades and a specific set of permanent magnet dimensions
  • UserAFPM can be used to validate the performance of a generator of a specific geometric design
  • OptiAFPM uses the particle swarm optimisation (PSO) to optimise the dimensions of the permanent magnets used in the generator design for a specific set of rotor blades, maximising the generator’s efficiency, whie minimising cost and/or mass

A corresponding webinar entitled Design of Axial Flux Permanent Magnet Generators for Small Wind Turbines using the Open AFPM online tools will take place on 19th April 2018, 3pm CEST.

The creation of this online user interface has been part of this SEPS Exchange Activity: Online Design Tools for Locally Manufactured Small Wind Turbines


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Introduction

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

Activities

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

Conference

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. For the 2018 conference in India, please refer to the bottom of this page ("Upcoming Events").

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.

Upcoming Events

The next conference, WEIndia2018, will take place in Kayathar, India from 1 - 14 December 2018. Please visit Wind Empowerment's website for the application procedure and all other information.

This year’s conference is jointly organized by Wind Empowerment and the National Institute for Wind Energy (NIWE), India. It will have a longer agenda of approximately 2 weeks: One week of trainings and one week of conference programme.

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.