The Alliance for Rural Electrification has launched its Small Wind Campaign, which the group says aims to eliminate bottlenecks and misconceptions keeping decision makers in developing countries from using windpower in rural communities, even when it’s one the most cost-effective solutions.
“Under favorable natural conditions, small and medium wind generation prices are significantly lower than those of conventional energy sources, such as diesel and kerosene,” says Simon Rolland, ARE’s Secretary General. “Also, over their life-time, prices can even be lower than for other sources of renewable energy. Yet, decision-makers still neglect these technologies.”
During the Campaign, which will last one year, ARE will approach energy sector decision-makers in developing countries through several workshops, webinars, and one-on-one meetings to assess their country’s or community’s energy needs, fill information gaps, and share best-practices on small-wind development.
The recommendations are available in a new position paper, “The potential of small and medium wind energy in developing countries. A guide for energy sector decision-makers.” The paper includes case studies from China, Indonesia, Madagascar, and Namibia. Also addressed are the most common bottlenecks, such as the lack of feasibility studies, quality standards, and certifications, as well as insufficient financing mechanisms.
The paper underlines three of the main benefits of small wind:
- The global market for small-wind technologies is forecast to double or more between 2010 and 2015, reaching $634 million. A significant part of this growth will take place in developing and emerging markets.
- They are easy to integrate in already existing mini-grids, mostly run by diesel. It has been proven, such hybrid systems offer a more sustainable, higher quality, and lower costs solution than diesel-only systems.
- The price of small wind lies $0.15 to $0.35/kWh over the lifetime of the system, making it, under favorable conditions, cheaper than small PV, small hydro and other renewable solutions.
ARE makes these main recommendations to energy decision makers:
- Communities and businesses must be better educated on benefits arising from renewable energy and small wind technologies in particular, such as reliability of electricity supply and reduction of electricity bills.
- More cooperation should take place with expert companies. Such partnership agreements and joint ventures will assure increased project quality and generate local employment.
- Subsidies play a major role in accelerating small wind development, so they should be directed towards this and other clean, sustainable, and cost-competitive technologies, rather than supporting diesel and other conventional energy sources.
Alliance for Rural Electrification