Aran Eales recently started the Wind Empowerment 2014 Webinar series with an informative talk about his research assessing the technical and economic feasibility of implementing locally manufactured small wind turbines in Ethiopia for rural electrification.
Currently 86% of Ethiopians don’t have access to grid electricity and this is unlikely to change in the near future due to the distances and cost of extending the grid. Although Solar PV is often the technology of choice for rural electrification, PV modules have to be purchased from abroad which can be a challenge with limited foreign currency. Building wind turbines locally has the potential to create local jobs and foster the in-country value chain, boosting the local economy.
The MSc dissertation used the optimisation tool HOMER to calculate project costs of incorporating locally manufactured small wind turbines (LMSWT) in hybrid with solar PV and diesel generators to provide productive uses of energy for rural communities. Solar and wind resources of Ethiopia were used to find where the natural resources are suitable for LMSWT to be implemented.
The research can be found here, and the webinar can be viewed below.
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