Wind Empowerment

Association for the development of locally-built small wind turbines for sustainable rural electrification


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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Wind Strawberries - News from Patagonia

News from WISIONS posted on January 5th, 2022

Many small rural farmers in the areas of Chubut and the Río Negro provinces in the argentinian steppe struggle with essential problems in their everyday life: the access to water, sufficient supply of energy and a low income – often below the poverty line. A resource that has the potential to fulfill the needs for productive use was long abandoned: wind energy. A new wind energy project that launched this summer now bears its first fruits.Read moreMinimize

In the last years, WISIONS has been increasingly involved in projects focusing on the productive use of energy and its impact on rural livelihoods. With Fundación 500RPM we have a partner with long standing expertise in implementing holistic wind energy systems for productive use in the context of horticultural production. One sub-project that Fundación 500RPM and WISIONS are collaborating on has been successfully implemented: The strawberry plantation of the Peña family is now powered with wind energy! The project was driven by a holistic approach on energy access which includes capacity building and the consideration of management aspects from the beginning, as can be seen in the following project outline:

The Peña family runs an isolated family farm in the Municipality of Gualjaina not connected to the electric grid. The main economic activity of the family is livestock farming, for the sale of wool and meat. They also produce vegetables mostly for their own self-sufficiency. The Peña family strives to improve their economic situation and in collaboration with Fundación 500RPM they developed the idea to start growing strawberries for sale, which have a high added value in that region. Concentrating on a single crop has the benefit of allowing greater harvests, promising better prices and higher margins.
To provide an adequate water supply, the Peñas, together with our local project partner, installed a wind turbine that generates the power for a water pump which sufficiently supplies the plantation. The installation was accompanied by technical training to ensure that the family is capable of running the new system independently. Once the first fruits are ripe for harvest the strawberries will be sold regionally at larger stores in the urban centers of Patagonia, which guarantees higher prices than selling the crops locally. 

The results of the labour showed in mid November, when the first ripe strawberries were harvested. To show what went into their production, the strawberries from the Peña farm were given the name “Frutillas del Viento” - Wind Strawberries.






Even after the implementing the new plantation, the Peñas will stay in touch with our project partners ensuring that the long-term impacts of the project can be evaluated. The project will serve as a precedent for productive use of wind energy in Patagonia and as a role model for new horticultural projects with small rural producers who face similar obstacles (access to water, energy and a low income).

Stay tuned for more updates on the strawberry enterprise of the Peña family and other wind energy projects in Patagonia!


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Upcoming Events

The Wind Empowerment 2019-2020 Webinar series will begin soon! Past webinars are available on WE's YouTube channeland on their website.


Introduction

SWTs can offer viable off-grid power solutions where strong wind resources (4–7m/s and higher) are available and evenly distributed throughout the year, or in regions where the combination of small wind technology and solar PV can provide a reliable power supply.

Wind Empowerment 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. It has since consolidated and now represents dozens of member organisations, consisting of wind turbine manufacturers, NGOs, universities, social enterprises, cooperatives, training centres, as well as over 1,000 individual members across the world.



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

Wind Empowerment conferences take place every 2 years and are key in building and maintaining the relationships between individuals and organisations that form the basis of the network.

The most recent conference took place in Kayathar and Chennai, India in December 2018. You can find all the outcomes on on Wind Empowerment's Facebook page and on this detailed Review.

The previous conference took place from in November 2016 at two different venues in Patagonia, Argentina: 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 resources. In addition, lively dialogue takes place in the discussion forum and the webinars offer background information on relevant current topics.

Working Groups
Six Working Groups (WGs) have been set up to actively address the key barriers facing the development of small wind technology for rural development:

In 2016 all six working groups started to develop so-called kick-starter projects to ensure intensive collaboration within clear targets..

Coordination & Support

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

The coordinator is Jessica Rivas (left).