Wind Empowerment is an association for the development of locally manufactured small wind turbines for sustainable rural electrification
WE ARE BUILDING TODAY THE WORLD OF TOMORROW
1.1 billion people today don’t have access to grid electricity. Small-scale renewable energy systems can empower rural communities to generate electricity from locally available resources offering opportunities for improved and sustainable livelihoods.
Locally manufactured small wind turbines contribute to this direction, often complementing other renewable energy technologies in small-scale hybrid systems.
Locally manufactured small wind turbines
Manufacturing small wind turbines locally has been experimented for decades by DIY enthusiasts. In 2008, Hugh Piggott, a widely acknowledged small wind turbine expert, published A wind turbine recipe book, a detailed manual on how to build six sizes of small wind turbines using simple tools and techniques and mostly locally available materials. Piggott’s robust and adaptable design has been embraced by a variety of actors across the globe – from practitioners to non-governmental organisations, social enterprises and research groups – who have used it for rural electrification projects in developing countries, as well as educational projects elsewhere. Since 2008, the Recipe book has been translated in more than 10 languages, allowing for many local initiatives to spark around the globe. Another design that has been inspired by Piggott’s and has found wide spread in the US, is documented in Otherpower’s manual Homebrew Wind Power, also published in 2008.
The open nature of these designs allowed initiatives around the world to modify and complement them to meet different needs, address different challenges and utilize different resources. Technical solutions to the most common challenges across the globe became available. The need for communication and knowledge sharing between these initiatives and the potential for collaborative synergies gave birth to Wind Empowerment.
A network of initiatives
Wind Empowerment was established to address this need for networking and global communication. The association was founded in 2011 at the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal by 18 founding members, many of whom were meeting for the first time. Today WE consists of more than 50 member organisations – cooperatives, collectives, enterprises, non-governmental organisations, research groups and institutions, training centres, as well as hundreds of individual practitioners around the world. A full list of member organisations can be found in the Our members section.
WE serves its members as a knowledge sharing platform, as well as by empowering them to perform joint projects and interdisciplinary research around locally manufactured small wind turbine
- We work together in working groups and collaborative projects
- We meet in ad-hoc regional meetings and every two years at the international Wind Empowerment conference
- We share knowledge through all the above means & discussion forums, webinars and online repositories of resources
Wind Empowerment is managed by an elected Executive Board, which facilitates our day-to-day activities, including; promoting communication between members, organising webinars or workshops, helping members source project funding and administering projects. The Executive Board meets at least once a month online, meetings are free for members to join on request.
The Executive Board is overseen by an elected Board of Trustees, which has strategic oversight over our activities. The Board of Trustees meets every three months to review Wind Empowerment’s activities and vote on any formal or legal changes.
As part of the association, we also have six different Working Groups, which aim to progress different aspects of small wind and rural electrification. Each Working Group is overseen by a working group coordinator who encourages collaboration between Working Group members. The individual working group coordinators report back to the Executive Board regularly, representing their working groups needs and interests.