Wind Power to the Poor in Ghana

Competing against 2,700 proposals and 183 other finalists from around the world, Washington, D.C.-based EnterpriseWorks Worldwide’s (EWW) plan to provide small-scale wind power to small businesses in Ghana was announced as a winner in the annual World Bank Development Marketplace competition. The one-year, US$179,000 pilot project titled “Power to the Poor in Ghana” will work to develop a sustainable market for locally built wind-power systems in areas off Ghana’s national electricity grid.

Washington, D.C. – December 29, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “In Ghana, thousands of communities still lack access to electricity, to the detriment of health, education, other basic services, and economic development as a whole,” said Nancy Bearg, President & CEO of EWW. “The World Bank Development Marketplace seeks to support bold and innovative ideas with potential for replication; and EnterpriseWorks is honored to have the opportunity to bring its business-based poverty fighting approach to this new program area.” Formerly known as Appropriate Technology International, EnterpriseWorks Worldwide (a non-profit organization that promotes sustainable, enterprise-oriented solutions to economic challenges in the developing world) will be the primary implementing organization for the project, and has teamed up with two private-sector partners: Rural Energy and Environment Systems (Ghana) and Scoraig Wind Electric (UK). EWW and its partners developed the proposal with the understanding that electricity is a requirement for rural development, and that small-scale wind turbines can be affordably and reliably manufactured on a local level. Studies have shown that wind speeds in multiple regions of Ghana are sufficient for small wind turbines, which can be purchased by small businesses to help them start up or increase their revenues and expand their services in an affordable, and environmentally sustainable way. The one-year pilot project will involve training local manufacturers in Ghana to build wind systems and testing them with businesses in several “off-grid” communities. During the project, impacts on the businesses and communities will be monitored, creative financing options will be developed, and a proposal to expand the program to the next phase will be prepared.

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