Worldwide more than 850 million people have no access to electricity. Decentralised renewable energies are playing an increasingly important role in tackling this problem. In this context off-grid small wind systems represent a solution to expand electricity access.
The article "Rural electrification with household wind systems in remote high wind regions" by Philipp Schaube (PhD student at the Wuppertal Institute) as well as the author Jon Leary and Luciana Clementi compares based on field studies and expert workshops two electrification programmes. Often the small wind turbines installed in the Argentinean region of Patagonia and the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas are not connected to a fixed power grid in affected households for energy generation due to long spatial distances. Best prerequisites: the powerful winds that whip around the Southern Ocean create some of the most favourable conditions for wind power generation anywhere in the world. Despite comparable environmental conditions and local livelihoods, the effects of the electrification programmes are very different, according to one result of the study.
The team of authors identifies critical success factors and gives recommendations for action based on small wind turbines for future electrification initiatives. Important factors according to the article are constant project support, investment in robust equipment and the creation of effective feedback loops. Furthermore, the authors recommend that users should be empowered to take on as much responsibility for maintenance as possible by integrating maintenance practices with local culture and ensuring the support of an effective decentralised maintenance network.
The article was published in "Energy for Sustainable Development" (Science Direct, Volume 52, October 2019) and is available free of charge under the link below.