Understanding small wind energy systems

Small wind turbines present an opportunity for fossil-fuel dependent Pacific Island nations to reduce their import bill, transition to a low carbon economy and supply off-grid energy to remote rural areas.

Wind turbine in Sigatoka, Fiji

According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), the global cumulative installed wind power capacity at the end of 2013 was 318,137 MW and of this, Pacific Islands contributed 12 MW or 0.004% only.

One of the factors hindering investment in wind power within the Oceania region is insufficient understanding of the technical, environmental and economic aspects of adopting wind power.

To address this gap, IUCN Oceania has partnered with Arizona State University, through the USAID-funded Vocational Training and Education for Clean Energy (VOCTEC) programme, to train about 20 energy project managers and policy makers from several Pacific Island Countries including Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Representatives of Suva-based donor agencies will also be participating.

The one-and-half day workshop, which begins tomorrow, aims to enable participants to determine the feasibility of producing wind energy from small wind turbines in their respective countries.

It will provide an introduction to small or distributed wind energy systems, and will discuss the current state of the wind energy market in the world, wind resource assessment and siting tools and procedures, wind turbine technology, wind economics and policies, and environmental considerations. Wind maps for the region will be introduced and explored and a variety of related software introduced, which will enable policy makers and technical experts to identify the best locations for wind energy production and to accurately estimate annual energy production and financial aspects of the project. The workshop will consist of lectures and hands-on activities related to assessing wind energy related data.

The training workshop builds on previous wind energy trainings and is part of continuing efforts to enhance the range of skill sets used in energy planning and policy development in the region.

Investments in renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind can help mitigate the effects of volatile oil prices and climate change, as well as enable Pacific countries to achieve their renewable energy targets set under the Barbados Declaration in 2012.

The workshop is funded by USAID, and will be facilitated by Prof. Dennis Scanlin of Appalachian State University, Dr. Ambika P. Adhikari from Arizona State University and officials from IUCN Oceania.

For more information contact Anare Matakiviti, Energy Programme Coordinator, anare.matakiviti@iucn.org

Work area: 
Climate Change
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