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.

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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.

Practice-to-Policy Exchange for Grid Interconnected Micro and Mini Hydropower in South and Southeast Asia

News from WISIONS posted on March 1st, 2016

From 26th to 29th January 2016, Janathakshan hosted the HPNET Practice-to-Policy exchange focusing on the topic of grid interconnection of micro and mini hydropower installations in South and Southeast Asia. Despite MHP practitioners expressing a strong interest in grid interconnection, its development is still at an early stage and there is wide variability within the region. Currently, once main grid connectivity is established, MHP projects often become underutilised or abandoned. Read moreMinimize
In order to address this challenge, the practice-to-policy exchange in Colombo, Sri Lanka, offered the opportunity for project developers, government representatives and energy utility stakeholders from India, Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan and the Philippines to exchange know-how on policies, strategies and the potential of grid interconnectivity.

During the thematic sessions on the first day, the current state of grid interconnection in the different countries, as well as the technical, financial, regulatory and social challenges facing MHP projects seeking grid connectivity, were discussed. After this theoretical introduction, the field visits on the second and third day provided participants with the chance to experience at first hand examples of different sizes of grid interconnected hydro plants (12kW to 3MW). Following this practical experience, potential strategies for making progress in terms of grid interconnectivity were discussed in various small groups over the next two days of the event. The results of these discussions will be available shortly in the proceedings of the workshop. Further information is available on the HPNET website.

Meet the WISIONS Team at EURELECTRIC Conference

News from WISIONS posted on February 24th, 2016

"Access to Electricity for All: The role of the European power sector in the advancement of sustainable and climate resilient development“, Brussels, February 25, 2016. On 25 September 2015, the 193 countries of the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Development Agenda entitled “Transforming our world – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. Read moreMinimize

This includes the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an inter-governmentally agreed set of objectives relating to international development, which will replace the Millennium Development Goals once these expire at the end of 2015. To “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” is one of the agreed SDGs.

Electricity is a precondition for economic development. Yet today, 1.2 billion people in the world still have no access to electricity. Action is thus urgently needed. Improving access to low carbon electricity means bringing energy independence and security to vulnerable countries, while also providing an important tool in the battle against climate change. The European electricity sector is fully committed to fulfilling these fundamental development and environmental needs. As the world energy demand grows day by day, low carbon electricity will provide an important opportunity to satisfy such demand in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner.

Representatives from public and private sectors, as well as the EU institutions and NGOs, will be invited to EULECTRIC CONFERENCE to discuss and engage in frank discussions on the EU’s strategy and efforts with regard to providing access to electricity in developing countries, in the context of the outcome of the COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris and the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals. This will prove an excellent opportunity for stakeholders to exchange views on the role of the EU, the European electricity industry’s best practices as well as financing instruments.

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