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

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Empowering Rural Entrepreneurs in India

News from WISIONS posted on July 11th, 2016

One of our SEPS projects, which is taking place in Bhamane village, India, aims to demonstrate the viability of a hybrid hydro power plant consisting of a hydrokinetic turbine and photovoltaic panels to power a local rice and flour mill, while also enhancing the population’s wellbeing. Project activities are currently in their third working phase.Read moreMinimize

The project is carried out by Smart Hydro Power GmbH, together with local partners Gram Oorja and Sanjeevani Seva Trust. Gram Oorja was responsible for importing the technology to India and transporting it to Bhamane, as well as for installing the micro-grid at the project site, which was completed in March 2016. 

The system at Bhamane comprises of a 3 kW solar PV system, a turbine and an inverter cabinet. A distribution system handles the electricity supply to 84 households through a so-called service wire. These households have been equipped with LED bulb holders, a socket and energy meters to measure consumption.

Furthermore, a rice mill (50 kg/hour) and flour mill (25 kg/hour) have been installed at Bhamane, meaning that villagers no longer need to travel 20km to mill their produce. The supplier of these systems offered technical operation and maintenance training to two villagers, who are now responsible for running both the micro grid (turbine, solar panels and distribution system) and the mills.

This is the first time that local villagers in Bhamane have had access to a reliable electricity supply and, as such, the excitement level of the villagers was palpable. They volunteered to help with the offloading of materials at the site, as well as with the installation of mounting structures, poles, the turbine and the dam structure. 

The direct impact of the training activities on the level of education of the individuals and the positive effect of the mills on the families’ economic wealth are obvious. A thorough analysis of how the electrification will impact on the distribution of wealth and social structures in Bhamane in the long term is still in progress.

More general information is available on our SEPS project page: Empowering entrepreneurs in rural India in the un-electrified village of Bhamane

Low-Head Pico-Hydro Technology in Nepal

News from WISIONS posted on July 4th, 2016

One of our current SEPS projects in Nepal recently completed its first phase of project activities. Our partner organisation "People, Energy and Environment Development Association (PEEDA)" is mobilising local communities to install low head propeller turbines in two communities, namely Toksel and Katunje, in the Terai region of Nepal. Read moreMinimize

The project was originally intended for the Madi municipality in the Chitwan District of Nepal, but a detailed feasibility study revealed that the local water flow rate in the that municipality was not sufficient for installation of the foreseen MHP capacity. Thus, the project team shifted activities to the Okhaldunga District. The two units, of 3kW (Toksel) and 1kW (Katunje) will provide electricity to 31 households in total.

The field visits which were carried out as part of the feasibility study gave insights into the required technical parameters and socio-economic and environmental conditions of the proposed locations. Both communities are positive about the project and are making financial and labour contributions to the implementation.

The next phase is focused on the construction of the water canals, power houses and transmission and distribution system generators. In addition, a field facilitator will conduct activities related to community mobilisation, and will support the local communities in the administrative processes. A “Village Electrification Committee” will be set up in each of the two participating communities, comprising a majority share of women.

More general information is available on our SEPS project page.

Outcomes of the 2016 International Tech4Dev Conference

News from WISIONS posted on June 21st, 2016

The 4th UNESCO International Conference on Technologies for Development took place from 2nd to 4th May 2016 in Lausanne, Switzerland. It provided an opportunity for more than 400 researchers and representatives from NGOs, international organisations, and the private sector from 65 countries to discuss how to bridge the gap between technological innovation and its intended social impact.Read moreMinimize

This is an important question for sustainable energy projects, as these often fail to successfully translate into development impacts. The reasons for this rarely to do with the technology itself and can more often be attributed to socio-cultural, institutional and/or economical aspects.

The contributions and discussions at the conference allowed for a better understanding of the factors that support or hinder the ability of decentralized renewable energy initiatives to create social and economic impacts. Several presenters stressed the need to engage with the end-users more in order to best address their needs. It was pointed out that it is important to not only see end-users as passive receivers but to value their knowledge and capacities. Furthermore, it became evident that in order to measure and understand the extent and nature of social impact we need a mixed-methods approach that includes quantitative as well as qualitative evaluation. While quantitative methods are helpful to address the question of what happened as a result of the technical innovation, qualitative methods help to understand why and how social impact was or was not achieved.

For more information on the different breakout sessions and to download selected full papers please visit the Tech4DEV website.

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