Volunteer Engineer with Wind Aid
I am gradually positioning myself for a career in ‘Innovation Design Engineering’ and in recognising the imperative role of engineering in practical climate change, I carried out a volunteership at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Machynlleth, Wales. Whilst there, I learned about applied renewable energy projects and quickly became determined to get some hands-on experience.
I decided that building a small electricity-generating wind turbine would be a great place to start.
(Above) The “Zero Carbon Britain 2030” energy scenario suggests Wind as a key resource and that over 60% of Britain’s heating and electricity should be produced by wind farms by 2030. Yet, Wind power – perhaps more than any other renewable energy technology – divides the opinion of the British public, presenting a challenge of perception.
Building a wind turbine appeared to me, a good way to better understand this intriguing technology.
Through direct contact with UK wind power expert, Hugh Piggot, I discovered Wind Aid; a social entrepreneurship in North-West Peru who provide electricity generating wind turbines to remote communities.
I arranged and self-funded a two-week volunteership working as a Wind Aid engineer.
Week 1: I assisted the small workshop team in the batch manufacture and development of turbine parts using hand-based workshop techniques whilst learning the theory of wind turbine specification and design.
Week 2: Myself and seven other Wind Aid crew drove to the rural mountain community of Parinshique to install a 2.4kw turbine at a primary school where the free energy will provide lighting and power for laptops – complimenting the XO ‘One Laptop For Every Child’ scheme.