Compiled by Chege Moses Kasaija
In mature economies such as the United States, “going solar” can enable individuals and even neighborhoods to lessen dependence on the grid. The motive may be independence, energy reliability, renewable integration, environmental concerns, relief on one’s utility bills, or a mix of these drivers.
But what about communities in developing economies, where being off-grid isn’t a choice, but a grinding fact of daily life? Approximately 1.3 billion people, or nearly 20 percent of the world’s population, live off-grid and the lack of access to electricity is a brutal constraint on their education, health and prosperity – not to mention their futures and those of their children. Those 1.3 billion people must rely instead on expensive, unhealthy and high carbon footprint kerosene lanterns and candles for light. They make arduous, time-consuming trips to regional markets to charge a cell phone, if they have one.
The good news is that solutions are at hand. We simply need the imagination and the will to implement those solutions. Specifically sub megawatt wind energy.
As the power industry moves away from subsidized markets based upon feed-in tariffs and toward greater participation in the wholesale energy market and long-term power purchase agreements, today’s technologies must enhance wind power generation within the competitive market place for renewable energy.
To do this, new technology is needed to facilitate optimized grid integration by improving the performance and reliability of wind turbine operation, reducing the cost of generation, and by improving production forecasting and power production management throughout the life cycle of a wind farm.
Wind Turbines are the backbone of any wind powered system. Selecting the correct wind turbine and compatible components can be a daunting task for the average consumer. The future of wind technology, particularly in South Africa and Africa in general, is dependent on advances in the field of wind turbines and wind generators. Providing a solution to rising monthly energy bills, while offering an alternative to traditional electricity, wind turbine manufacturers are leaders in the local fight for climate control.
South African based Adventure Power, a subsidiary of the Venture Group, designs, develops, manufactures and commissions a fourth generation 300kw class 3B rated wind turbine, for the provision of cost effective electrical power in areas where wind speeds are conducive for wind energy generation.
Adventure Power has become the first manufacturing facility of large scale wind turbines on the African continent.
Our 300kW wind turbine, explains Wayne Dunn, Adventure Power Managing Director, offers the customer a less complicated and more suitable alternative to the generally larger foreign models currently available, allowing medium size industry looking to become more self-regulating in their energy consumption, to participate in this market.
Although grid tied, a key advantage of the AP 300KW wind turbine is that it does not need existing electrical infrastructure to excite generator field coils since the machine uses permanent magnets. It is also easier to deliver and erect in demanding or complicated environments where infrastructure such as roads and harbors are underdeveloped. Provided wind conditions are conducive the AP300 wind turbine is suitable for deployment and commissioning in most areas, making it cost effective with the overall kilowatt per hour production costs and competitive with larger turbine units.
The 300Kw wind turbine was developed in South Africa with the goal to not only support medium size operations/industries with a scalable solution to obtain green power, but to also promote universal access to clean and sustainable energy through advanced power technology.
Adventure Power uses remote monitoring control software that allows real-time accessibility to the turbine, thus minimizing service calls. The independent control systems for each turbine, including the AC/DC solid state convertor, are located at the base of each tower.
For every wind farm project that is established in South Africa, tens if not hundreds of jobs are created, for both skilled and unskilled workers. Imported turbine systems often require experts from around the world – to guide and train local workers, thus creating valuable opportunities for skills enhancement and knowledge transfer, this however does not do enough to promote technology development and independence as has been done at Adventure Power. We are therefore committed in supporting local technology and employment opportunities within the South African job market wherever possible, through our technology development, manufacturing operations as well as construction and erection phases of our projects, Wayne emphasized.
Additionally, Wayne accentuated that besides guarding against uncontrolled future power cost increases, we understand that energy intensive industry is being forced to comply with carbon disclosure and ultimately carbon taxes in the near future. By obtaining and implementing green energy our customers will be able to secure carbon credit reduction certificates and ultimately reduce future taxes and similar costs. So when a company incorporates clean energy solutions into its operations, it demonstrates an active effort to preserve the environment. In some cases it can also serve as a means to offset damage caused to the environment through its own business activities. As we have moved into an era where the global community places a high priority on the protection and sustainability of the environment and the resources it affords, by utilizing green energy, companies will be directly involved in actively supporting the renewables industry, and be able to showcase that they are supportive of cleaner forms of energy.
Our 300kW wind turbines are manufactured and assembled locally in East London South Africa, not only producing green energy, but making use of energy efficient technologies in the production process too. We are certainly going to export our turbines to regions of the world where wind energy is a viable solution and currently have several opportunities under consideration. With only recently having entering the commercial market with our product, we have set conservative sales objectives of 150 to 200 units within the next five years. With prospects currently under consideration, this seems highly achievable.
Wind farms can bring clean, affordable and sustainable energy to rural and underdeveloped communities for domestic use, schools, hospitals and clinics etc. Currently many communities globally have absolutely no power source or are entirely dependent on diesel power generation, at huge cost to the community.
Traditionally used for more commercial and industrial prospects, today wind energy is finding increasing popularity in hybrid off-grid residential areas or communities, with wind technology manufacturers such as Adventure Power constantly striving for new and innovative ways in which to bring wind power to the people.