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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Setting up a micro-hydro training and service centre in Pakistan

News from WISIONS posted on April 7th, 2021

Micro-hydro power (MHP) can make a valuable contribution to energy access in isolated rural areas but experience shows that servicing and maintaining such systems is crucial for their long-term success. In this context, the SEPS project in Chitral (Pakistan) launched a training centre and developed training programmes to address the skills gap in this area.Link to the SEPS projectRead moreMinimize

In collaboration with GFA Entec AG, a Swiss-based hydropower specialist, several workshops and training sessions were conducted by the conclusion of the project in 2019. Participants were equipped with the necessary skills to repair and maintain MHP plants independently, based on their previous technical skills as car mechanics or electricians. Since then, the training centre has become an established institution in the region for the maintenance of MHP systems. Five trained technicians take care of the existing MHP systems in the region and have already successfully repaired 30 MHP systems. In addition, the centre now provides equipment and spare parts and offers training for MHP operators in the Chitral river valley.

The financial sustainability of capacity-building initiatives can be challenging. In this case, to ensure a viable economic operation, the training centre supplemented its service portfolio by offering car repairs. This change to the original strategy underlines the importance of finding flexible solutions to ensure long-term sustainability.


Stronger together: why South-South networks of local energy practitioners matter for SDG 7

News from WISIONS posted on March 30th, 2021

Local organisations (whether for-profit or non-profit) across the Global South are the secret behind every successful sustainable energy access project. Their work in the field and within communities equips them with the in-depth knowledge and hands-on training to make sustainable energy projects work in the long term. At the same time, these local organisations often have only limited opportunities to share their experiences with their peers or with other stakeholders. Read moreMinimize

Sharing experiences with peers is an extremely effective way of climbing the learning curve and developing the industry but peer-to-peer networks of decentralised energy practitioners are still scarce across the Global South. The CLEAN network and AMDA are examples of regional and national initiatives that aim to support the growing sector by connecting local organisations so they can learn from each other and work collectively to find solutions for common problems. Since 2009, WISIONS has supported the bottom-up development of four dynamic networks:

 

  • RedBioLAC: the only network of its scale bringing local biogas practitioners together across Latin America and the Caribbean;
  • RedBioCOL: a bioenergy network in Colombia and the only WISIONS network with a solely national focus;
  • Wind Empowerment: a network with a global scope focused on small-scale wind practitioners;
  • Hydro Empowerment Network (HPNET): the largest of the four WISIONS-supported networks, focused on community micro-hydropower practitioners in South and Southeast Asia.

Together these networks actively involve over 300 organisations from across the Global South who share a long-standing commitment to sustainable energy solutions. Working remotely and in-person, their members contribute to and benefit from network working groups, regional or national face-to-face meetings, training and knowledge resources.

Our experience shows that investing in local practitioner networks yields results over and above building capacity in technical and business skills. Impacts of the networks on the ground include the development of standards, guidelines and tools, open source innovations customised to local conditions, and collaborations and alliances. Networks also give a common voice to the sector and can advance advocacy for their emerging sectors at different policy and decision-making levels.

Networks are also empowering. The “I am not alone” feeling is recognised as one of the key impacts that networks have on local practitioners, inspiring members and enabling them to meet organisations and individuals who share the same challenges and goals.

With increasing reach and experience, South-South energy access practitioner networks are developing their roles and demonstrating their impact. The policy agenda increasingly recognises that building capacity locally is crucial for ensuring the long-term success of sustainable energy projects. However, the benefits of peer-to-peer exchange approaches and South-South networks remain underexploited, with existing networks struggling to mobilise the necessary resources and with much room remaining for more networks in the space.

The key elements, objectives and activities of the WISIONS partner networks are described in our brochure, Energy Practitioner Networks. We also held a webinar on the topic.


Project updates on biogas commercialization in Nepalese poultry industry

News from WISIONS posted on March 8th, 2021

In Nepal, there are many successful biogas plants in the domestic sector, but only few experiences with the application of biogas technology in commercial enterprises such as animal husbandry or hotels. However, the commercial use of biogas in the poultry industry has a lot of potential as recent developments from one of our SEPS projects in Nepal show.Read moreMinimize

The project, implemented by Winrock in collaboration with the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) and NMB Bank, aims to demonstrate the viability of an innovative business model using credit financing, grants and equity for promoting commercial biogas use in the poultry industry in Nepal. In January 2021, NMB Bank extended a loan to Dashrath Poultry Farm for the construction of a biogas plant. A South-South knowledge exchange was also established by bringing in a technical expert on biogas in the commercial poultry sector from Bangladesh.

In addition, project staff use modern auxiliary equipment to monitor the efficiency of the biogas plant. The installation of a "biogas smart device" from Connected Energy (https://connectedenergy.net/smart-biogas) will help the biogas project to monitor the system performance and ensure long-term deployment.


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