IEEE Electrification Magazine - March 2015 - 70

and the design itself are made faster and more effectively. In
addition, in such projects, support to users and designers is
offered by the OSH community itself through Internet
forums and/or online tools. This allows for a technological
application, for example, locally manufactured small wind turbine technology, to enable a vast social support
network to assist all installed small
wind turbines of this type.
Locally manufactured small wind
turbine technology is developed
through different hubs of information exchange. The largest online
forum of locally manufactured small
wind turbine users and designers
exists within Fieldlines.com, the discussion board of the Otherpower
group in the United States, with 6,615
members since it was set up more
than a decade ago to exchange information on off-grid renewable energy
systems. Other such forums exist in
the English language, such as
thebackshed.com in Australia with
2,866 members and navitron.org.uk
in the United Kingdom with 6,406
members. Smaller forums on the
topic and in the local language exist
in Finland, Germany, and France. In addition, the Wind
Empowerment Association Web site, which already hosts a
forum in English on locally manufactured small wind turbines, is currently discussing the possibility of providing
access to Spanish-speaking users. Furthermore, there are
online forums, relevant blogs, and Web sites, such as
Piggott's blog, where information on this technology is posted and the Web sites of several NGOs installing locally

manufactured small wind turbines on all continents. Finally, university research groups in Delft University of Technology; the University of California, Berkeley; the Polytechnic
University of Catalonia; the Hochschule für Technik und
Wirtschaft in Berlin; and the National Technical University of Athens
(NTUA) have been working on rural
electrification, and also research centers such as the Kathmandu Alternative Power and Energy Group, have
included locally manufactured small
wind turbine designs in their
research activities.
Using these communication and
information-sharing tools, this global community of users comprising
different technical and social backgrounds exchange experiences on
every aspect of design, construction,
installation, and maintenance phases of a small wind project while
considering the technical, financial,
social, cultural, and environmental
aspects. The manufacturing techniques themselves, apart from
being discussed online with the
assistance of text, videos, and construction manuals, are also displayed in practice through practical construction seminars
organized by several groups in Europe and the United
States, and by several NGOs in Africa, South and Central
America, the Middle East, and South Asia.

All meteorological
and electrical data,
such as currents
and voltages, are
measured and
logged to provide
1-min averages,
which can then be
grouped according
to different wind
speeds using the
method of bins.

Figure 1. Home-built small wind turbine plans by Hans Meyer from the
Windworks cooperative. (Source: Popular Science, November 1972.)

70

I E E E E l e c t r i f i c ati o n M agaz ine / March 2015

constructing and Installing a Small Wind Turbine
The small wind turbines discussed in this article are typically part of rural off-grid hybrid systems with installed

Figure 2. A locally manufactured small wind turbine following the
design manuals of Hugh Piggott. (Source: rurerg.net.)


http://www.Fieldlines.com http://www.thebackshed.com http://navitron.org.uk http://www.rurerg.net

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