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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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.


Small wind for productive use: The socio-economic advantages of wind energy for family operators in Argentina

News from WISIONS posted on March 4th, 2021

Our partner network Wind Empowerment set up three small wind turbines in different rural areas in Argentina to analyze the productive use of such systems. Close monitoring and impact evaluation revealed now insightful results of the socio-economic advantages for families and farmers that installed a Piggott wind turbine. Link to the projectRead moreMinimize

Altogether, three different regions with three different operators have been selected by the regional project partner 500rpm for this purpose. In two sites the full systems have been installed and their operation monitored for several months. The system for the third site (a camping area) is still in development. The first project analyzed the impact of wind power on an egg farm (in Corralito, Rio Negro Province) and the second on a horticultural farm in Costa del Lepá, Chubut Province. Analysis on the impacts of wind turbines revealed some interesting outcomes for the beneficiaries of the project and productive use of small wind turbines.

  • Wind power generating lighting in poultry houses increased productivity around 30% in winter and 15% in summer. 
  • The pumping system for irrigation based on wind energy actually increased the monthly income of the participating farmer family by 90$ due to the removal of diesel-powered pumping systems. 
  • Preliminary estimates for small wind power on the camping area assume that it could reduce the fossil fuel consumption about 65% and connected costs of 1400 USD per year. Also, the generated energy through wind turbines could provide sufficient sustainable energy for lighting, freezers, television, washing machine, radio and charging of cell phones or flash lights. 

The demonstration projects in operation already provide some positive impacts in the productivity of the intervened economic activities. Moreover, the potentials for more significant impacts became evident at this intermediate stage of the project. For instance, by switching from flood irrigation to drip irrigation the horticultural farm would be able to double its production. This would also reduce the water needs and allow for using part of the generated power for improving domestic services, for instance by powering wash machines and refrigerators.

Our regional partner 500rpm is working in collaboration with other locally active organization such as INTA (National Institute for Agriculture Technology) and the Agrotechnical School of Cholila in order to provide the agro-technical support needed for improving the productive integration of the wind power.


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