To date, the use of wind power for rural electrification has been limited. However the fact that micro-wind turbines can be manufactured using only basic workshop tools, techniques and materials, and therefore can be produced locally is often overlooked. Local manufacture has the potential to boost the local economy, build local capacity, reduce costs and produce resilient and flexible energy systems. However, locally manufactured technology must be seen as socially embedded due to the variety of local knowledge, skills, equipment and materials needed to construct and maintain such systems, as well as the organisational structures needed to ensure their long term sustainability. Evidence from successful initiatives suggests that stable institutional support from intermediaries such as the local/national government or NGOs is necessary to foster the development of a wind power industry based on local manufacture. The roles of these intermediaries include identifying and targeting windy areas with favourable environmental conditions, conducting research and development, collecting feedback from end users, creating supply chains for new parts and materials and developing relevant knowledge and skills. In this paper, three case studies of specific initiatives are analysed to draw out the social, economic and technical factors that could facilitate wider adoption of the technology.