The village of Los Pinos lies in the middle of the Argentinian Steppe. Its 300 residents are mostly livestock farmers. The region is prone for an unreliable energy supply. Through a project by the WISIONS of Sustainability initiative of the Wuppertal Institute, the village can now benefit from collectively produced renewable energy. With renewable off-grid energy solutions, WISIONS enables people and communities to generate energy self-sufficiently.
The project "Los Pinos – A technical project with a social heart," launched in 2017, is one of eight core projects of the WISIONS initiative, each of which is implemented in close cooperation with local organisations. The goal of the project in Los Pinos, which is being carried out in cooperation with the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA), is the construction of a biogas plant. This plant generates biogas through proper treatment of organic residues from animal manure and other agro-industrial by-products. The gas is used to run generators that power the villages water pumps, ensuring a reliable water supply for the entire village. The project is intended to serve as a demonstration project to facilitate and encourage similar enterprises in the area.
Besides the installation of the innovative technology, socio-economic impacts are equally important. On the one hand, the joint task strengthenes ties between neighbours in the village, creating a close-knit community. On the other hand, new jobs were created to operate the biogas plant, which are mainly taken on by women. In addition, the community has founded a cooperative that is now responsible for the biogas plant and in which women from the village act as representatives. This strengthens the social and economic position of women in the Argentinian village community.
The biogas plant was officially inaugurated at the beginning of October and has been producing sustainable energy for the village ever since.