WISIONS of Sustainability

Our mission is to empower individuals and communities to transform the production and use of energy so that it effectively enables sustainable development. Read more about WISIONS activities, goals and background.

News Blog

WISIONS Research Workshop on the Diffusion of Sustainable Family Farm Practices in Colombia

News from WISIONS posted on March 18th, 2016

The workshop will take place in Riosucio, Colombia, from 31st March to 1st April 2016. It aims to create a space for mutual learning about how community associations of family farmers can promote the development and diffusion of sustainable innovations. Read moreMinimize
The workshop originates from the cooperation between RedBioCOL, the Association of Indigenous and Peasant Producers of Riosucio (ASPROINCA), the University of Lüneburg in Germany and WISIONS. It has been organised as a case-based Mutual Learning Session. This is a transdisciplinary format that aims to create spaces for the exchange and integration of knowledge from different perspectives, including scientific insights from different disciplines as well as knowledge from stakeholders and practitioners beyond academia or science. The workshop will gather 25 representatives from four types of stakeholder relevant to the development and diffusion of innovations in family farming: i) farmer associations; ii) non-governmental organisations; iii) research and development institutions; and iv) representatives from local state institutions.

This transdisciplinary exercise will also advance WISIONS’ own research into the role of community-based initiatives in promoting the diffusion of sustainable energy solutions in rural contexts. Previous research by WISIONS on this topic has shown that the sustainable adoption of renewable energy solutions is often closely related to the level at which those energy solutions are integrated into the farming systems of rural households and that community associations can play a key role in that process. For examples, see our contributions at the BREG-MES Symposium in Berkeley 2014 and at the Tropentag 2015 in Berlin.

Capacity Building of Micro Hydro ELC Technicians in South and Southeast Asia

News from WISIONS posted on March 15th, 2016

From 30th March to 10th April 2016, HPNET members Asosiasi Hidro Bandung (AHB) and Simple Engineering will conduct a 12 day practical training course on ELC (Electronic Load Control) installation, trouble shooting and innovation. The workshop, supported by SEPS, will take place in Bandung, Indonesia. The objective is to strengthen the skills of local technicians, who are the first to be approached by communities to resolve technical failures. Read moreMinimize

The participants will be ELC technicians who serve HPNET member organisations and local stakeholders, e.g. village communities and operators. The exchange builds on the data collected in HPNET's 2013 study on ELCs in seven different countries (India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines). 

It is anticipated that the training will help to reduce micro hydro failures, improve HPNET member organisations’ ability to understand and continue innovating technical systems, increase the number of local stakeholders who are familiar with ELC functioning and, finally, support advanced local ELC technicians.

Solar-Run E-Bikes for the Puna Region of Northern Argentina

News from WISIONS posted on March 7th, 2016

The final phase of the SEPS project “Solar Mobility in Andean Highlands of Argentina” has been successfully concluded. Located in the north-western province of Jujuy, the pilot project addressed the mobility needs of the rural population by implementing solar-run e-bikes. Considering the fact that e-bikes were a completely new and unknown mobility option for the Puna inhabitants, the interest expressed by the local people was surprisingly high. Read moreMinimize

Puna is an extensive region about 3,700 metres above sea level, with a widely spread population of about 30,000. Living standards are considerably lower than the Argentine average. Infrastructure, including public transport and service stations, is generally deficient, resulting in unsatisfactory mobility options. However, the region is rich in resources. It has one of the highest global levels of solar radiation and natural lithium resources. Consequently, electric transport powered by solar energy and lithium batteries could be a future mobility option. 

During the project period, the implementing organisation EcoAndina provided 15 electric bikes to three geographical areas: the capital San Salvador, the small town of Humahuaca and three villages in Puna. The e-bike kits, comprising the accelerator, the regulation unit, the electric motor and the battery, were purchased from a provider in Buenos Aires. Local technicians assembled the kit and installed it on ordinary mountain bike frames. After a long trial and error period, they eventually produced three prototypes: for urban, mountain and heavy duty use. The e-bikes can travel 25 to 30 kilometres when fully charged; solar battery recharge is carried out using the imported “Sunload” devices.

The interest in, and acceptance of, this new technology by different target groups has been very high. Feedback confirms that e-bikes meet mobility needs in the Puna region for daily journeys of short to medium distances. This project developed a new and integral Andean Solar Mobility concept, encompassing technical, environmental and social aspects. It has been widely publicised in the Jujuy Province and in other parts of Argentina, as well as in Bolivia.

At present, EcoAndina owns the e-bikes, lending them to users and providing technical advice and maintenance. The current high initial investment cost is a barrier for households in rural areas, although it might be feasible for the middle-class urban population. The long-term objective is broader dissemination and the introduction of e-bike production on a commercial scale in San Salvador and in northwest Argentina. EcoAndina plans to cooperate with the local company LIFOR S.A. to achieve this aim.

Additional photos are available on the WISIONS Facebook page. A summary of the project results is available on our sub-project site.