June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Energy Conversion and Conservation
14.217.1 - 14.217.17
Anatomy of a University Sponsored Successful Hybrid Solar and Wind Based Renewable Energy Project in Rural Ethiopia
The paper chronicles the process which led to the success of a renewable energy project based on a hybrid, solar and wind power system. The project is based in Farsi Senkele, a rural community in Ambo, Ethiopia. The initial fact-finding mission conducted by the university, including its dealings with local governmental and nongovernmental organizations as well as local universities and colleges are highlighted with emphasis on the encountered challenges. Details of the proposed technical design of the renewable power source for pumping water from a shallow well are presented. The logistical considerations, including the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a local organization, the acquisition of private funding and material support and equipment transportation and other aspects are described. The benefits brought to the students who participated in the realization of the project are also emphasized. The project is promoted as an ideal model for the prospect of sustained university sponsored projects in developing countries.
The renewable energy project inaugurated on July 24, 2008 at Farsi Senkele, near the town of Ambo in Ethiopia is the culmination of a three year collaborative work between the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), a local nongovernmental organization (NGO), Hope2020 and a local university, the Addis Ababa University (AAU).
The original incentive to engage in this process stemmed from a meeting held between the president of Ethiopia and the president of UDC in 2004. The president of Ethiopia had challenged and exhorted the university, to tackle water development problems in developing countries, where the shortage of potable water as well as water for irrigation is scarce. The lack of rural electrification and the challenges put forth by the millennium development goals (MDG) of the United Nations were also cited as major reasons why such focus should be directed on water development. The university took this challenge seriously and worked out a strategy to achieve the goal of providing potable water to rural communities in developing countries. At the outset, there was a consensus among the participating faculty and students that water development projects in poor rural areas would require the use of renewable energy, primarily solar and wind energies.
The strategy included the following:
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