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.
In collaboration with an extensive group of researchers our WISIONS team members Carmen Dienst and Willington Ortiz published a new study about market assessment methodologies for rural electrification with small scall wind power. It will be published in November 2020 in the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Review Vol. 133, but can be already assessed here. Direct link to the studyRead moreMinimize
The mass roll out of solar PV across the Global South has enabled electricity access for millions of people. In the right context, Small Wind Turbines (SWTs) can be complementary, offering the potential to generate at times of low solar resource (night, monsoon season, winter, etc.) and increasing the proportion of the total energy system that can be manufactured locally. However, many contextual factors critically affect the viability of the technology, such as the extreme variability in the wind resource itself and the local availability of technical support. Therefore, performing a detailed market analysis in each new context is much more important. The Wind Empowerment Market Assessment Methodology (WEMAM) is a multi-scalar, trans-disciplinary methodology for identifying the niche contexts where small wind can make a valuable contribution to rural electrification. This paper aims to inform the development of WEMAM with a critical review of existing market assessment methodologies. By breaking down WEMAM into its component parts, reflecting upon its practical applications to date and drawing upon insights from the literature, opportunities where it could continue to evolve are highlighted. Key opportunities include shifting the focus towards development outcomes; creating community archetypes; localized studies in high potential regions; scenario modeling and MCDA ranking of proposed interventions; participatory market mapping; and applying socio-technical transitions theory to understand how the small wind niche can break through into the mainstream.
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
Wind Empowerment acts as both a central knowledge bank and a facilitator of direct connections between its members (currently 39 organisations).
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 previous conference took place from in November 2016 at two different venues in Patagonia, Argentina: 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 resources. In addition, lively dialogue takes place in the discussion forum and the webinars offer background information on relevant current topics.
Six Working Groups (WGs) have been set up to actively address the key barriers facing the development of small wind technology for rural development: