WorldChanging ally Alternative Energy Blog has an absolutely kickass story today from AllAfrica.com about two men, Philip Osula and Mwacharo Guyo, who providing low-cost home micropower in Kenya through wind-powered generators.
A beneficiary of the technology, Jeff Odera, a research scientist living in Nairobi, says he has found the technology reliable and cheaper than using a diesel generator. "It is silent, has less maintenance cost, is reliable, and no fuel is used," says Odera.
"The power needed in the rural homesteads is little, thus one generator could serve 10 households according to our research," he says.
It is estimated that, 75 per cent of Kenyans have no access to grid electricity due to high connectivity cost, the subsequent bills and maintenance costs. "I believe this generator will fill this gap for those who need electricity," says Osula
This is why renewable/alternative energy systems are an integral and inevitable part of a developing world leapfrog. Unlike power systems which are useless without gas or oil trucked in across long distances or rough (or no) roads, wind and solar never run out of "fuel." And as innovations in the developed world drive costs down for more efficient and reliable designs, it's places like Kenya (and India and Brazil and...) which will ultimately benefit most.
Well spotted Jamais, another great technology to add to the list of "lo-fi" technologies for developing countries. Lo-fi solar and rainwater harvesting are the ones I've seen on your site recently.
I notice that most of these technologies are invented by small NGO's who ingeniously solve a local problem with a local solution.
My thoughts are, how do we apply these innovations further afield? Most of these innovations seem to be applicable outside their local regions, but how do we facilitate the spread of ideas more effectively?
It seems to be that big governments/organisations are less keen on promoting such innovations when compared to more headline grabbing projects in the developing world.
Super-great! The only big industrial infrastructure stuff that goes into these is the coated wire some minimal control circuits. Everything else (including the finished generators) is produced locally.