With small scale wind energy, thousands of villages can benefit from wind power in Nepal

» By | Published 27 Feb 2013 |

Continuing with the series of “wind energy stories” from around the world, in association with Global Wind Day, Robert van Waarden travels to Nepal to meet Aruna Awale at the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre.

“I have seen a bright future for wind energy in Nepal, because a lot of wind energy potential has been predicted,” says Aruna Awale, an employee of the wind energy department at the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) in Kathmandu, Nepal.

From the window of her office, she can see one of the few operating wind turbines in Nepal. It is a small Maglev vertical axis turbine and it turns rapidly in the wind that blows through the Kathmandu valley. It is a sign of more to come if Awale has anything to do with it.

Awale works on data and implementation projects, co-ordinates meetings and conferences, and meets with national and international stakeholders when she works with the AEPC. She credits her experience at the AEPC for giving her more confidence and a huge amount of unique experience. She especially enjoys the opportunity to travel internationally for seminars, the highlight of which for her is often a visit to a wind farm.

Nepal faces several problems in the implementation of large-scale wind energy, but interestingly, one of those isn’t finance, as many development banks, institutions, and companies are ready to step forward.  Instead Awale mentions the complex geography and the insufficient infrastructure as the main challenge. The small roads, or entire lack thereof, are often not suited for carrying large equipment to high windy points. The spectacular but difficult geography makes studies and installations more difficult. In order to fully grow in this energy sector, this challenge will have to be overcome.

Ms. Awale thinks one way to do that is to start smaller. Citing an implemented pilot project by the Asian Development Bank, Ms. Awale remains confident that wind energy will have a great impact on small communities in Nepal. In the Dhaubadi BDC of Nawalparasi District, 46 households are now connected to electricity by a small wind turbine. This has transformed the village and made it the envy of neighbouring villages: now everyone wants a wind turbine.


“With small-scale wind energy, thousands of villages can benefit from wind power where no energy is available, not even for lights.” says Ms. Awale.

Ms. Awale has been working with the AEPC for almost a decade and hopes to see some of the available 3,000 MW potential in Nepal developed, recognising that it will change the life of many of her fellow Nepalis. For many of them, the answer to electricity problems and some of the attached poverty issues may simply be blowing in the wind.

 Every picture tells a story – what is yours? Tell us what you think about wind energy by taking part in the Global Wind Day 2013 photo competition to win a €1,000 Amazon voucher and get the chance to be published on this blog.


Local newspapers paint the real picture on wind energy

» By | Published 21 Aug 2012 |

North Hoyle offshore wind farm

While this blog frequently focusses on wind power reporting in national-level newspapers, the regional-level or local newspaper does not get as much attention as it perhaps merits.

Last month I was in North Wales – a coastline which is home to the UK’s first large scale offshore wind farm called North Hoyle. It currently has one other operating offshore wind farm – Rhyl Flats, and a massive development is underway further out to sea at Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm which, when completed in 2013, is set to provide electricity to cover nearly one-third of homes in Wales.

There is, of course, local opposition. On this particular stretch of coastline the opposition group is called Save Our Scenery – slightly ironic given that the new offshore farm is 18 km offshore and will be frequently out of vision thanks to the often dense banks of Welsh cloud.


Bigger is better, for the environment

» By | Published 13 Aug 2012 |

Much of the emphasis on green living today is all about scaling down: own a bike and not a SUV, for example. But when it comes to wind turbines a new study has found that the reverse is true: bigger turbines are better for the environment.

Since the founding of EWEA some 30 years ago (read more about our 30th anniversary here and look out for a special edition of Wind Directions magazine in September) turbine technology has been transformed. In 1982, turbine manufacturers were building 55kW turbines; today typical onshore turbines are around 3 MW, with the largest onshore turbines reaching a powerful 7 MW.


Building a wind turbine in less than seven minutes is no easy task

» By | Published 23 Dec 2011 |

One of the most uplifting wind-power-related videos I’ve seen this year was one shot in Massachusetts that recorded a 1.5 MW onshore turbine being assembled.

Everyone knows assembling a wind turbine is an extremely challenging job. The various components, many of which are huge in size, have to be brought to a site where a foundation has already been prepared with a lot of steel and concrete. The assembly process can involve boats, trucks and an assortment of cranes with different rigging mechanisms. A fence or a safety perimeter has to be established and special attention is paid to overhead cables. After the checklist is reviewed one last time, and the installers are given a final briefing, the assembly finally begins.

It’s a laborious job with special attention paid to the slightest detail. But at the  Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s DeLauri Sewer Pump Station in Charlestown, a turbine was recently assembled in, wait for it, less than seven minutes.

That’s right, in less than seven minutes. Through the wonders of time lapse photography captured by Jay Groccia of OnSite Studios, you can also marvel at the site of installers erecting the 1.5 MW turbine — a relatively small machine compared to the 3 MW turbines which are becoming the norm these days in Europe — that is expected to generate 3 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year and save MWRA ratepayers €270,000 annually.

You can join in the fun by watching this amazing spectacle, complete with an energetic soundtrack, above or on YouTube.


Breath of Fresh Air: over 7,000 people have supported EWEA’s campaign!

» By | Published 12 Oct 2010 |

The winter is fast approaching and so is the end of EWEA’s 2010 campaign to get as many turbines adopted across Europe as possible. So far, over 3,000 of you have adopted a turbine and more than 4,000 of you have voted in our competition to win a trip to a wind farm.

Spain is the leading country with over 400 turbines adopted, just trailed by Italy with 375 adoptions. The UK has 348 turbines adopted, while France is just under with 341 adoptions.

With two top prizes available – a weekend break in Copenhagen including a visit to a wind farm and a two-day break in the Swiss Jura Mountains including a trip to a wind farm and a snow-shoe tour if it snows – it is not surprising that the voting contest has taken off with a bang. Some turbine adopters have managed to gather over 400 votes putting them in good stead for the prizes.

If you still haven’t adopted your very own turbine, there’s plenty of time to do so – by the end of December 2010. Give yourself the chance to win one of the two trips abroad by encouraging all your friends and family to vote for your turbine. Visit our campaign website and adopt now!