By 2020, ADB estimates that small wind energy systems will serve at least 2.5 million poor people. It has approved technical assistance grants from ADB’s concessional funds to examine ways to overcome hurdles and pave the way to replicate and scale-up deployment of small wind energy systems around the Asian region.
“The technical assistance will explore innovative approaches to reduce costs of wind power equipment, reshape financing instruments, encourage public-private partnerships, displace uses of biomass and fossil fuels, and strengthen the capacity of national and local groups to implement and maintain renewable energy and electricity access projects,” explains Kangbin Zheng of ADB.
The work will develop financing mechanisms to boost the viability of small wind energy systems, including financial leasing and the mobilisation of grant assistance.
Pilot activities will be conducted in remote mountainous communities, deserts, grasslands and ocean islands, to provide models for replication in similar areas. Policy recommendations will be provided to ADB member countries on the transfer of low-carbon technologies and the creation of regulatory and business environments to maximise the use of wind and other renewable energy.
The technical assistance of US$3.87m includes US$1.1m for six pilot projects, and involves 150 person-months of consultants (30 international and 120 national) who will transfer knowledge and experience to the national consultants, who will be responsible for implementing the pilot demonstration projects.
ADB is the executing agency for the work, which will be conducted between January 2010 and June 2012. The impact will be “improvement of economic, environmental and health conditions of the poor rural communities in remote windy areas that lack reliable and affordable access to electricity,” and background documents say the outcome will be “a carefully articulated roadmap for effectively deploying distributed small wind power systems in Asian poor areas with sufficient wind resources.”
<100 kW wind
ADB classifies distributed small wind energy as systems with rated capacity of less than 100 kW, and notes that wind turbines of this capacity can be supplied by 200 manufacturers around the world. “Accumulated technical expertise and manufacturing capacities can be readily mobilised, and some of the existing small wind turbine models can be quickly adapted and renovated, to improve access to electricity in Asia's windy poor rural communities.”
ADB is based in Manila and was established in 1966. It is owned by 67 members, of which 48 are from the Asian region, and approved US$10.5 billion of loans in 2008, US$811m of grant projects, and technical assistance amounting to US$275m.