A project to give the people of Playa Blanca an independent, energized future – “Local de Mariposas Eólicas Para un Futuro Mejor”
About this project
Join us now in constructing a workshop in Playa Blanca, Peru, to build small scale wind turbines for houses that are not on the electricity grid – a mini energy revolution powered by you!
We are building this community workshop to be a fully outfitted test center for:
- Electrification! building and servicing wind turbines installed in the local area
- Education! teaching the community, national students and international volunteers about wind energy, turbine science and mechanics
- Engineering! developing and testing new turbine system designs
The Wind Workshop – Why and How
Around 37% of Peru’s rural population does not have a connection to the electricity grid. In remote areas a connection is difficult and expensive; the alternatives of running diesel generators and using candles are costly, dangerous for health, and pollute.
Communities are rightly demanding energy, and the chance to get it sustainably – Peru is already suffering the direct impacts of climate change. Luckily much of Peru has plenty of sun for solar generation, and large areas ideal for wind generation. For the last 10 years, WindAid has been working to electrify rural communities with wind energy. This type of local renewable electricity is easy and quick to install and has a clear and measurable impact for the recipients.
We now have over 50 wind turbines installed in coastal communities from Piura in the north, to Lima on the central coast and across the Peruvian Andes from Cajamarca to Huaraz. Check out our turbine map: http://www.windaid.org/about-us/windaid-impact/
We have many projects to install more turbines in our work plan, but we are limited by what we can do in our Trujillo workshop to build and maintain them. It can take us over 12 hours to travel to the site of a turbine, even after we have been able to arrange for a group to go. We identified that a network of regional hubs would help in various ways:
- Having facilities close to installations to build new turbines and do maintenance
- Provide adequate accommodation for volunteers on site to allow for longer stays to get more done
- Be a training center for a local technician(s), who can diagnose and fix minor problems and eventually be capable of fabricating turbine systems and help us develop and test new designs
Talking about this idea with our friends in Playa Blanca, we decided the village would be the ideal site to build our first community workshop. A plan formed that we are now ready to make it reality!
The Wind Workshop – Design and Construction
The Playa Blanca Wind Workshop has a modern design but also fits in with the surrounding buildings. It will be made principally using bamboo as a local renewable resource for durability and natural beauty, and other locally-sourced materials.
It will accommodate up to 20 workers throughout the day, with dormitories to sleep up to 12. Therefore the design needs to provide versatility as rooms can change from work spaces to sleeping quarters for local community members and visiting project volunteers.
We are taking care to make the building as low impact as possible on this delicate coastal ecosystem, and will showcase the benefits of these features to our neighbors:
- Grey water being reused for vegetable garden irrigation
- Washroom waste being composted into fertilizer
- Wind turbines for electricity
- Solar hot water heaters
- A rooftop vegetable garden
The workshop will serve as the WindAid Institute base of operations in the Playa Blanca area, where we will build the wind generators, develop models specific to their needs, and test and adopt the most advanced wind turbine designs.
A History of Playa Blanca and WindAid Institute
Playa Blanca is a small village on the beautiful desert coast of Northern Peru. It was founded nearly a half a century ago as a permanent home for the fishermen and women that made a living from the abundant sea life in the rich waters.
Today there are over 60 families, two schools, a restaurant, a shop, a community centre and a church. However, it still has little infrastructure, including no access to grid electricity.
But this small community wants energy to power their lives, and will accept nothing less than a sustainable solution that leaves them free from dependence upon an unreliable and expensive grid-connection.
WindAid Institute has been working with Playa Blanca towards this goal since 2012, installing different turbines, running workshops, and testing system add-ons.
In 2014 we decided together on a long-term sustainable model:
Installing a small autonomous wind turbine for every house in Playa Blanca. We now have 15 systems, with plans to have up to 40 – for every family that wants one. They use the energy for lights; charging mobile phones and batteries; and powering televisions, small fridges, and cooking appliances such as blenders.
Creating a permanent facility in the village to service, maintain, and replace them independently. The community has provided the land, and we have marked out the plot.
Now let’s build!
We are spending a fortnight in Playa Blanca this month (June) to install the support beams and erect the temporary walls and roof for the living area. We would love it if you followed our progress to cheer us on.
This Kickstarter event is to enable us to complete the first phase of the build, through to November 2016. We will be:
- Installing all remaining support beams
- Putting in inner divisions, wiring the living area, and running water (non-potable)
- Installing a turbine to provide power to the center
- Finalizing the room divisions
- Improving the walls, making the roof walk-worthy
- Creating a dust free room for electronics
The second phase will be done by January 28 2017, when we will install a second turbine, additional tooling & equipment in the workshop, and put in all the remaining amenities in the kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms and living room so we are ready to take full project teams to site. We are offering the opportunity to join us to complete the Wind Workshop, and to attend the grand unveiling!
Help us build the Playa Blanca Community Wind Workshop right now and claim your awesome hand-grafted Peruvian reward!
Funding the workshop
We are aiming to raise $35,000 which other than the direct costs of running this campaign (included as a percentage in each category below), will go to complete phase one, as described above. The costs are:
- Building materials $22,000
- Tools and equipment to fit out workshop $8,600
- Travel, food, and accommodation for build phase one $4,400
Meet the team
Over the time we are building the workshop, a lot of volunteers and WindAid Institute staff, as well as community members will be involved in some way. We’d like to introduce you to key people on the team:
Nicholas Warren – Nick helped found WindAid Institute. His enthusiasm and ability to make every day fun brings a lot of laughter to the team.
Jessica Rivas – Jess also helped found WindAid Institute. Her boundless energy and great affection for the Playa Blanca community helps drive this project.
Abel Yupaqui – Universally known as Señor Abel, he has been with WindAid since it’s inception in 2006. His creative problem solving skills have made even difficult turbine installations successful!
Martin Del Aguila Silva – The President of the “Directiva Eolica” in charge of the wind energy project in Playa Blanca, Martin has been an avant supporter of the wind turbine project in Playa Blanca, and has a natural curiousity which leads him to modify and use the wind turbines beyond what we knew they were capable.
Domingo Morales Coronado – Don Domingo was the first person WindAid ever met in Playa Blanca, and has calmly pushed this project forward from inception. He offered to help when we were still prototype testing, and has been an unwavering support since day one.
Tomas Morales Coronado – One of the first community members to have a wind turbine, Tomas has had great insight into improving the wind turbine systems. He is also excited for the deeper education that will come with the Wind Workshop, especially for the youth.
“Lo que yo pido es que puedan llevar el mensaje de Playa Blanca en donde vayan que va ser una comunidad ecologica con mariposas y paneles solares porque es muy natural y es la ayuda de ustedes como WindAid que ayuda a Playa Blanca llegar a ese logro, Muchas Gracias!”
“All I ask is that you take the message wherever you go that Playa Blanca will be an ecological village with turbines and solar panels because it is very natural and it is WindAid’s help that is getting Playa Blanca there, many thanks!”
Rosario Morales Coronado : Playa Blanca community member
Risks and challenges
As with any project, things can go wrong and the results may not be as fabulous as we intend. We have tried to mitigate potential problems, so you can be assured your generosity will light up lives in Playa Blanca and beyond for many years to come.
Funds raised – Your backing will help us complete the building this year. If we were unable to reach our target, we would not abandon the project. The benefits would be delayed but it would not be the end of the story. WindAid´s mission is to provide “Educational experiences empowering people to create a sustainable world” and we will continue to put our passion and energy into that. We have separated out the build into phases specifically to address the known issue of timing for raising funds.
Building design – Despite thorough planning, we are expecting some aspects of the design may not work as well as we would like and, for new technologies such as the composting toilet and grey water re-use, we will need to learn as we go to a certain extent. Most of the WindAid team are engineers and the villagers who will be supporting us have lived and worked in a challenging environment with limited resources all their lives, so are adept at creative problem solving.
Community support – WindAid Institute has a strong relationship with the community in Playa Blanca; they very much value the turbines and are fully supportive of the test center build. The end goal is that the villagers will take over the test center and run it themselves. We will need their manpower and experience in the build, and we’ll celebrate its completion together!