Project Trip January 2011

Wind Energy For Debo/Ethiopia 21st January - 28th February 2011


Dipl. - Ing. Wolde Giorgis Demissie, Berlin / Addis Abeba (project leader), Pfr. Dr. Jochen Hahn Rüsseina (Project Manager) Lutz Mummert, Klessig (technology), Holger Schneidereit, Meißen (Electronics), Dirk Schulze, Dresden (IT-Technic),

Arrangement of the report:

  1. A double goal: Inspection in Debo + reconnaissance of a new project location
  2. Debo
    1. Debo - Situation description, maintenance work,
    2. Debo - Realizations / perspectives
  3. Tula - A new project location
    1. A strong partner: the Ethiopian Mekane-Yesus-Church
    2. Tula - a mountain village and much wind
    3. Perspectives
  4. Remarkable
    1. From "hello"! to "give"!
    2. How fast a "Ferenchi" turns into a "China"
    3. Attention, "hole in the tank"!
  5. Thanks and please
  6. Project information / contact information

1. A double destination: Inspection in Debo + reconnaissance of a new project location

The trip 2011 consisted of a double goal: In Debo, the installation had to be inspected and the different orders to be taken care of by the technicians needed to be checked, see report 2010 under 3).

Then the possible new location positioned at Tula in southern Ethiopia which was already selected in 2010, should be explored and inspected to expand the project with a new location a wider basis and open up new perspectives. Also concrete relationships should be made with the research and development department of the "Mekane Yesus church" and pre-arranged agreements for future cooperation could be met.

Both steps could be realized in good manner.

2. Debo

2. 1. Situation description, maintenance plans

The living conditions on the farm yard of the grain dealer in the village were, as always, very modest, flee infested and highly populated by rats, often wash-water-less and dust-intensive. And however we sill had plenty to laugh about: during one meal in the court yard, with the children, and a bread-stealing cow, that came out from one of our "rooms" with rather watery eyes because it had eaten not only bread but also a whole bag of the sharp Berbere-spice. Maybe that'll teach it…

We found the installation in Debo in working order. The Inverter welder reconstructed to an electronic Transformer did its service. The conditions of the lead gel accumulators remain to be a problem, (see: digression about the accumulator problem in the report 2010 under 3. 2.) by the substantial weakening capacity, only a small part of the generated energy is stored which naturally leads to energy bottlenecks(particularly in the early morning). The people of Debo seem to have come to terms with this however. The state electricity in other areas also fails nightly… in Addis Abeba an Indian company is now producing new lead acidity storage accumulators, also specified types for stationary activity with a longer lifespan. Maybe new possibilities will open here. The considerations regarding the use of nickel iron accumulators, (see: digression about the accumulator problem in the report 2010 under 3. 2.) must be realised after newest investigations. Even if this battery Type actually is practically resilient, the high loading power of 34 V is not a practical option for charging regulators and transformers.

At the wind power installation, there was a small problem: The sliding bearing to the direction of the wind, below the machine head, was not turning smoothly so that the turbine only turned to wind direction by strong winds. After dismantling, we recognized the reason: Fine dust had got blown into the open column and had hardened the lubrication. In Germany this never would have been a problem. But we gain experience in an area, in which from January until June the ground has practically no plant growth and is therefore very dusty. An intensive cleaning (with the help of industrious children) and installing a dense cuff could rectify the problem. Both rotor blades as well as the generator were unscathed. This goes to show that our self-developed generator proves to be very practical in everyday use.

The market illumination represents a certain problem. The technicians had erected approximately 14 lamps under their own merit. Because of strong swaying movement and through stone-throwing children (?) some are no longer in working order. The technicians had hung the lamps quite low. However many lamp posts could not be climbed because of the desolate post foundation. There is a certain lack of a ladder. The energy saving bulbs are still exposed to water. The problem: The immediate neighbours are responsible for the respective streetlamp. Actually a good idea! However, the zest for conservation is rare, sometimes also with the technicians. None the less we were able to introduce a new lamp model to the technicians that could be very simply produced from a plastic water bottle which is as well as being stone proof, also waterproof.

The electricity works in the Hospital. A small connection problem at the water pump which was presumably caused by us during assembly in 2009 could be fixed. This problem however hadn't essentially impaired the function of the pump.

Very gratifying: The computers and printers bought by us in 2009 were getting a great deal of use in the hospital and also in the school. Our fear, that all could be put aside to waste, had not proved to be true. Hospital and school are very grateful for these possibilities of writing texts and, to be able to print. In the hospital there is a copier that is also very gratefully used for the school and can be used for necessary class copies (at examinations). Regarding the PCs, Dirk Schulze and Holger Schneidereit could remedy necessary small Technical-Problems.

An experience: No laser printers should be used as printers since they have very high energy needs. Since essentially texts are printed, needle printers certainly would be the more favourable variation regarding the energy consumption also for the longevity. Ink ray printers would only come into question if it is a high-quality, low venerability appliance with big ink tanks (with accordingly sufficient substitute cartridges). Interesting for us was a tour of the private consumers' homes: These had been lots drawn for connection in the close proximity of the market place. Through the temporary installation of a smaller transformer and also the problem of the low capacity of the accumulators only 12 private consumers were connected, with the specification that only one lamp and one power socket could be used. Most of the private people stuck to the specifications. The socket is used almost everywhere for a small radio or to re-charge a light or the latest trend is also to re-charge portable phones. One consumer had to be clamped again by the technicians since they hadn't paid the arranged lump-sum of 20 Birr per month (80 Euro cents). Another consumer, going against the rules, used a big old, energy-eating, TV set with Satellite-Dish. Otherwise the private consumers paid their monthly contribution faithfully which led to a perceptible reserve in the electricity cash treasury. Unfortunately, the state facilities i.e. school and hospital, still have not paid into the electricity fund, because, since 2008 (!) no publicly recognized receipt block is at hand. (!!).

2. 2. Realizations / perspectives

By calling a meeting of the Electricity commission, pending questions could be discussed in a very quiet and factual manner. Our request, one might include a woman into the commission as well, was answered with a polite smile. "Why a woman?" Actually, several women could be urgently needed. Everywhere, as much as in Asia as also in Africa, one experiences that where women have the sceptre in the hand, running small businesses, managing micro credits and maintenance tasks are by far, more reliable and more professional in these situations. The dear men in Debo leave a little to desire in this sense. Here, women power would be in just the right place. At the new location, in Tula, we will take this aspect into realization from the beginning.

Moreover, it turns out that a continuous care of the technicians / the technology is of great necessity. An annual visit is too rare and not always feasible. This is no peculiarity in the foreign aid situation. Care and maintenance is second nature everywhere in Europe. In Debo, such a care will have to be organized. This remains another important task.

Concerning the preparation for State Electricity, Debo is presumably going to get State Electricity in the foreseeable future. However, this will not make the solar wind power supply automatically redundant. The hospital and school will certainly be looked after by the state, not however the private house holds, that must pay high sums for a connection. In this case, the additional possibility opens to be able to connect a magnificent number of private house holds through the discontinuation of hospital and school. All together, we are very grateful over all that has been reached. After all, the installation has been working since January 2008. As in the many experiences we could collect, experiences with the technology, experiences with the people! All of these experiences can now be combined into our new project with the Mekane Yesus - research and development department in the future. Thanks for all donations for the project in Debo!

3. Tula - A new project location

3. 1. A strong partner: The Ethiopian Mekane-Yesus-Church , Development and Social services Commission of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY-DASSC)

Three reasons for the search for a partner in Ethiopia:

A) Since the wind circumstances are too bad for a wind project in Debo, we want to put the entire system in a windier location. Where, simultaneously a continuous care is guaranteed by a dependable partner. Only this way is it possible to find out whether wind technology is an option as an island system for foreign aid as an energy production.

B) A big organization recognized in Ethiopia has more possibilities to introduce financial means and to acquire duty-free merchandise.

C) If the system proves itself, possibilities open up to placing the project into the hands of the partner. Which, also give options to the possibility of expansion. The partner can use existing structures, logistics, small workshops, education of maintenance technicians. Even if this project work can later be further supported by our Initiative group CreaProtect, it appears not to be feasible to realise new project location as a sole private concern.

The Development and Social services Commission of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church of Mekane Yesus (EECMY-DASSC) in Ethiopia, bring all requirements necessary for a sponsor. It has made many experiences over a longer period of time with D.I.Y. built projects and a small business of mini hydraulic power installations as well as in managing problems entailed with the introduction of technology into Ethiopian village communities. The EECMY-DASSC is therefore gladly ready to take on a wind energy project into its program with the option later of its' further development. That both our Initiative group CreaProtect as well as the EECMY-DASSC are active within the frameworks of the Protestant church, a not insignificant bridge forms. In the sense our wind project gets a promising perspective. In the headquarters of the Mekane-Yesus-Church / development (EECMY-DASSC) in Addis Abeba, intensive conversations of this cooperation have been bindingly planned.

3. 2. Tula - a mountain village and windy

Approximately 240 km south of Addis Abeba, at the edge of the African Great Rift Valley, lays the city Hossaina. Here, Mekane-Yesus has a Synodal centre. In this very alive city, there is also a state run college specialising in metal processing and electro technology.

26 km northwest, the village Tula lies on the mountain range, very remote, height between 2.800 and 2.900 m above sea level. The possibilities for the location of a wind solar energy island were to be explored. After 20 Km the road turns into a gravel track and the latter 6 Km become a real challenge which is not passable in the rain season. However, trucks can press on to Tula which is important for the transportation of material. An ideal wind hill is on the outskirts of Tula. It is tree free in both of the two main wind directions, summers' east wind and winters' west wind. An installation of a wind energy plant appears to be ideally positioned here. Direct access to the wind hill by truck is also a possibility. Already, for more than three months, (Octobers 2010 - beginning of February 2011), wind in Tula has been being measured. The average wind speed is at 6 m of height, 5, 2 m/s (in Debo 2,4m/s)! This leaves one very high wind energy profit expectancy.

On the already produced Wind measurement mast, we installed a new anemometer with data logger, in order to determine more exact wind conditions. Every 14 days, the appliance is read by an assigned villager.

Directly next to the hill is a small clean working farm in the immediate proximity to where the transformer station could be built giving added security. In the farm house there is also a bigger meeting room that would be very well suited as a montage headquarters. The village well lies two minutes away from this. A meeting of the village elders, (with the presentation of salted and churned coffees) showed just how very much the village are waiting for energy. Only the most imaginable help was promised us. The people in Tula are regarded as very hard-working people. The scattered village structure appears to be more of a problem, which drags on approximately 2 km as far as to the Protestant church on the other end of the village. The school lays approximately 1, 7 km from the wind hill. We were able to measure and outline the main axes of the village. While we favoured underground cables in Debo, in Tula we will use insulated overland cables. Compared to Debo, there are very many eucalyptus bushes here, which could be used to our advantage to produce non-expensive electricity masts. Laying a very long cable will be costly, however this is unavoidable. There is no alternative to the location of the wind power station at the edge of the village, in Tula. Building a separate solar energy unit in the school or in the church appears more cost intensive than the cable itself. Furthermore, the more technical parts involved create a higher likelihood of breakdown problems. Form 16: School With a sufficiently large interpretation of the power installation, (wind power installation plus approximately 2 KW solar and 1000 Ah 24 V-Battery), 150 light fittings, electric sockets for small electric machines and the power for a small workshop could quite easily be supplied with electricity. However, not all houses will receive power.

3. 3. Perspectives

Because of the previous development status regarding the relationship to Mekane Yesus, and the local authorities also regarding the geographical conditions it appears absolutely realistic, to already make the first project step in the year 2012:

  • Visit from the people responsible for the Tula project in Debo in order to see the power system working in situ.
  • Selection of trainee maintenance technicians (who will be immediately included in the working of the project)
  • Foundation work in Tula (Wind turbine foundation, guy wire foundations)
  • Building of the outer shell of the transformer house.
  • Installation of a classic example of the overland cable on one or two buildings near the wind turbine
  • The laying of an approximately 30 m long metal band to the earth the wind power installation.
  • If necessary establishing where the service workshop should be located.

In the course of the year 2012, the technicians must be educated in how to lay the main cables of the village in 2012 and must create finished branches to a classic muster of installation. The supervision will have to be taken over by technicians of Mekane Yesus or other experts here. Then in 2013 the wind power installation and the transformer house can be installed and the first house connections can be made. Incl. Putting the installation into working order.

One thing becomes clear: Since our Initiative group is time restricted, as in just working in the holidays, a work division with Mekane Yesus must take place. We will erect the turbine and transformer house. The network extension, the organization of an electricity cooperative and the care of the technicians will take place under the direction of Mekane Yesus.

4. Remarkable

4. 1. From the "hello"! to "give"!

An observation, that seems incidental, however is of considerable importance: As We drive with our jeep through the country. Children or teenagers wave at us. As they realise that we are whites their waving hand rotates and turns into the request / demand: "give". A comprehensible and ominous like change. It will be a long way to be come from the "give" to the "do it yourself". This is our essential goal.

4. 2. How fast a "Ferenchi" turns into a "China"

No more than four years ago, the children called after us: "Ferenchi! Ferenchi! ". "Ferenchi" always stood for "the white" because it was the French that were here earlier. Since 2009, the children call "China, China!" That's how fast a German can be made into a French man and then turns Chinese. It is to be noticed in Ethiopia everywhere: Road construction, factories, many consumer items and imported merchandise are solidly in Chinese hands, many Chinese work directly in Ethiopia, of which a large number are also familiarly established.

4. 3. Attention! "Hole in the tank"!

It is worthwhile on a trip with a rented jeep with driver included, to keep an eye on the tank. No, the hole is not really there. And however it still happens that the diesel manages, in a miraculous way, to disappear. It is absolutely usual and is viewed at the most as a cavalier offense, that in the night, the driver draws off a little diesel into a canister, and sells it. Understandably a small extra income must be in it somewhere… Also there is usually not a really full tank at the beginning of the trip. The petrol gauge is, if it works at all, very entrepreneur-friendly. At the end of the trip, the driver is then very careful about filling it right up to virtually overflowing. Therefore two rules:

1. Before beginning the trip insist that the tank is filled right up once again.

2. From gas station to gas station, for the driver to see, list not only the tank quantity but also the mileage. Then, one can see what the vehicle really needs. A Diesel theft then comes to light very quickly.

5. Thanks and please

We are very glad that our entire intent was supported by many donors. As well as many individual donors, Church communities in Saxony and Württemberg contributed considerably to the progress of the project through collections and imaginative actions. Cordial thanks to all donors! Since there are still no "big donors", we are further dependent on all individual donations to promote the project in Debo and realize the new project in Tula.

6. Project information/ contact details

Home:, site side name will be retained also for the new project in Tula

Account: Self-help Ethiopia e. V.
Post Bank Leipzig (BLZ 860 100 90)
Konto-Nr.: 0 600 269 908
Keyword: Wind energy for Ethiopia

Request donor address directly from us, since due to lack of address data it is not possible to display a donation certificate.


Dr. Jochen Hahn

Am Pfarrberg 8
D- 01623 Rüsseina
Tel.: 035242/ 68651
Fax: 035242/ 669700

Dipl.-Ing. Wolde Giorgis Demissie

Hafenplatz 6 App. 309
D-10963 Berlin
Tel: 030/ 2627439

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