Project Trip January 2016

Wind Energy For Tula/ Ethiopia 19th January - 6th February 2016

Fellow travelers

  • Jürgen Reinhardt, retired mechanical engineer, Mockritz (19. 1. - 6. 2. 2016) 
  • Dr. Jochen Hahn, priest, Rüsseina (19. 1. - 6. 2. 2016) 
  • Hans Jürgen Graf, disperser, Starbach (19. 1. - 6. 2. 2016) 
  • Franz Fröhlich, retired development engineer, Dresden (19. 1. - 2. 2. 2016) 
  • Werner Hofmann, carpenter, Dresden (19. 1. - 2. 2. 2016) 
  • Lutz Mummert, heating and plumbing master, Klessig (23. 1. - 6. 2. 2016) 
  • Martin Menzel, driver, Bodenbach (23. 1. - 6. 2. 2016) 
  • Andreas Zehrfeld, insurance salesman, Gleisberg (23. 1. - 6. 2. 2016) 
  • Dirk Schulze, media technician / journalist, Dresden (23. 1. - 6. 2. 2016) 
  • Uwe Zschörper, municipal technician, Starbach (23. 1. - 6. 2. 2016) 


  1. Project pre-run 2015  
  2.  Aim of the project trip 2016   
  3. Realization of the project  
    1. One "Party related" start postponement - the Timkat-holiday    
    2. Material procurements, partnership care and transportation to the south  
    3. The situation in Tula; re-laid cable routes; financial situation  
    4. A little surprise: "Megaphone" in the Mekane-Yesus-Kirche, Barber shop and mobile charging shop
    5. Placing masts in no time: The extension of the new branch line
    6. Maintenance of the wind turbine
    7. Energy capacity and electricity consumption
  4. "We don't get any electricity!” Tensions in the village
  5. Human relations, Liranso Solomon - a happy translator, an eventful movie evening a volleyball game "Germany against Tula"  
  6. Remarkable, Meals in Tula and cooking with Ethiopian charcoal stove, When do the animals drink?, Formed out of the ground in a remarkable speed: tram, highway, railroad in and around Addis Abeba  
  7. Project costs, perspectives e

Attachment: village layout plan Tula 2016 

1. Project preparations 2015

see project report 2015

In the year 2015, all requirements for the power production and energy distribution in the village Tula could be made within two visits:

  • constructing and starting up the wind turbines 
  • complete installation and equipping of the converter station ("electro house") 
  • installation of the main line up to the school (overhead cable, 1,8 km) 
  • connection of approximately 20 round huts, the school and the administration of Kabele (local authority) 
  • supply the remote Mekane-Yesus-Kirche with electricity from a small generator
  • practical education for the three young technicians (cable laying and house installations) 
  • Organize the financial system (electricity billing) 

In the course of 2015, approximately  50 houses (!) and two churches were connected and installed by the three trained technicians. The connection could not be extended any further due to lack of cables.

2. Aim of the project trip 2016

The goals of the trip in 2016 are relatively simple to describe:

  1. Material supplies (cables, clamp socket, fuse boxes, switches, sockets, other small articles)
  2. Checking and recording of pre-installed cables and house connections
  3. Expansion of the village network with new additional electricity cable, including house connections
  4. Replacing a wind charge control with an advanced device in the electricity house
  5. Investigation of earnings and usage of the profits from sales
  6. Planning of further expansion steps

3. Realization of the project

3. 1. Start postponed due to big party - the Timkat holiday

In Ethiopia Epiphany is celebrated on the 19th of January (20th Jan. in leap years). We didn’t know that the party of all parties lasts two days. So the cables could not be purchased on day one. Instead thousands of people moved through the city Addis Abeba, dancing and singing in colourful clothes, with colourful bags and umbrellas. Red carpets are rolled out before the procession. After the people had moved out from the city on the first day of the party and had slept by the waterholes, the participants remember the Baptist Johannes and Jesus' baptism on the second day. Priests carry the covered up stone plates of the 10 commandments on their heads. All together wonderful impressions that show the unspoilt originality of the Ethiopian orthodox church!

3. 2. Obtaining material, partnership care and transportation to the south

Comparing to the last years, getting hold of the cables in Addis Abeba is no problem. The Turkish company "EuroCable" at the Piazza for example, offers a large number of different cables that are produced on the outskirts of Addis Abeba and are available in a short space of time. Clamp sockets etc. are available in large numbers in the electro wholesale near the Piazza. So, we could get hold of the material within two days.

As every year, we visited our Ethiopian partner the church Mekane Yesus. Here we were told repeatedly that this is an important reference project for both church and regional states for the solution of the energy problems in remote regions. Unfortunately, the planned official opening with official representatives from church and state in Tula could not take place because of financial problems. Also on the 22.1.2016, we drove to Hossanna with a jeep and a Pickup, where we could load the cables into the jeep and transport them to Tula.

3. 3. The condition in Tula, newly-laid cable routes, financial situation

As we arrived in Tula we were greeted with very ordered circumstances. The electro-house was in a good condition. Hardly any tools were missing. The battery packs for the four drills were loaded. The Diesel generator was ready. It had been used and the starter battery was intact. The three young technicians were present and were waiting to continue with the work.

A tour through the village showed: The power grid had been vastly expanded. We had connected 20 cottages, the school, and the village administration ourselves in January 2015. Now, about 75 residential cottages were connected to the electricity source. To our astonishment not only was the nearby protestant Kaleot-church/Pentecost connected as planned, but also the Protestant Mekane Yesus church that lays 800m outside the town was connected. In 2015 we had equipped this church with a small generator because of the distance to the town. Presumably, the technicians had laid out the long cable to retain the equal rights of the churches. Good, the village made its own decision and carried it out.

What pleased us was the fact that in our absence, the technicians also respected the norms that we had placed. All cable connections were properly wedged, presumably a rarity in Ethiopia, usually all cables were pulled diagonally through the rooms (according to the principle, "the diagonal root is the shortest connection"), branches are simply turned together and naked cable parts were poorly insulates with some plastic tape, in and outside. In this respect Tula can see itself as a role model. Each additional house line has an independent safeguarding fuse box. Everything is run clearly along the walls. The outside cables were all insulated, branches are connected to the overheard line by branching terminals. Admittedly some of these materials are not available on the Ethiopian market so that the Ethiopians themselves hardly have a chance for proper D.I.Y. installations.

The system proposed to us in 2015 proved to be financially well balanced. Each family connected pays an one time connection charge of 100 Birr (4,35 € /2016) into the local electricity cash register and an electricity contribution of 20 Birr per month (0,87 € /2016). Additionally each family is charged a security contribution of 5 Birr per month (0,22€), to pay for the people that sleep in the electro house overnight.

Every technician is paid 480,00 Birr (20,80 €) per month. This is so that the service remains attractive. There is a momentary credit balance of 5.000 Birr (217, 00 €) in the electricity account as reserve. With rising consumer numbers, the financial situation should develop in favour of a faster growing reserve credit. With that the energy system can then become an independent business. Unlike the last years, we therefore didn't put any more money into the electricity cash register in this year. We explained this specifically to the municipal responsible: An energy-system, whose current business requires money from Germany, would be a bad development concept.

3. 4. A little surprise: "Megaphone" in the Mekane-Yesus-Kirche, Barber shop and cell phone charging shop

This did surprise us: The church services have become louder. The keyboard is used instead of the guitar. There are also microphones, big stereos and amplifiers (all together 700 wattage) in both churches. In the Kaleot-Kirche, it makes sense, the church services, however, were transferred outside to the front of the church because of the parishioners outdoors. In the other church, our ears hurt and we asked ourselves critically: "What have we done here?" But this apparently depends on your point of view.



We were also astonished about seeing two small Barber shops on our tour through the town. A small store (which is more of a small clay cottage) offers to charge mobile phones. Someone has discovered a small gap in the market there, and maybe a small infrastructure will develop bit by bit. We will be very careful with the structures we have set. It would be good to have a small service workshop, which the technicians could run. We don't want make too many suggestions (as in the first project in Debo). The village will realize what they need sooner or later.

3. 5. Placing masts in no time: The extension of the new branch line

After the second half of our group had arrived in Tula a few days later, we could start expanding the network further. The construction of a new branch was intended. First we walked along the route with the local administrator and marked the locations of the masts with colour spray. Then what was also surprising for us. We had hardly finished spraying the colour point and the hole was already being dug by the residents and the eucalyptus trunk was already cut down and debarked. Stones for stabilizing were already brought to the holes and the next day the masts were painted and standing. We had prepared 700 meters in two days! Here the routine was noticeable, long explanations were not necessary. So we could install the remaining thick cable (35mm²) from 2015. In three days the cable route was ready and we could start connecting the houses with the technicians. We installed 20 new house connections and the residents were pleased. For us the number of connections wasn’t so important, the technicians can carry on that job. Having control over the project and the further planning was our highest priority.

3. 6. Maintenance of the wind turbine

Tightening screws was the main goal of the maintenance of the wind turbine. For that we had to lay the construction down. We used this as a lesson for the technicians. Every movement was thought through and was performed by the technicians. We only interfered supporting.

3. 7. Energy capacity and electricity consumption

2012 estimated values

It´s very exciting to see the actual amount of produced and used energy. Estimations of previous years were difficult. In the feasibility-study of 2012 (with a solar performance of 2 kWp; now actually 3 kWp) we assumed a generated daily energy quantity of 11 kWh (wind + solar), a usable energy quantity of 8 kWh per day (conversion-losses) and a daily-consumption of 7,5 kWh with 100 houses (see: under "project Tula / feasibility-study" under 5. 3.).

Actual measurements 2015/2016:

a) Energy-production 1 year: Solar-production in the past year (1/2015 - 1/2016): 2833 kWh / Average daily production solar: 7,76 kWh / The wind produced energy of the past year cannot be estimated realistically because of a defective regulator which set it out of order for some time.

b) Energy production in 4 days of our presence (measuring time: 27. 1. 7 O’clock until, 31. 1. 7 O’clock): Looking at the weather in relation to energy production, it wasn´t ideal, which is quite useful for a realistic assessment of the energy production. The sky was partly cloudy (contrary to our previous experience at this time of year) and only a very weak wind blew (sometimes no wind at all).

  • Yield of the wind turbine: 12,6 kWh (daily average 3,15 kWh)
  • Yield of the PV-Anlage, 3 KWp: 35,3 kWh (daily average 8,82 kWh)
  • total: 47,9 KWh
  • Day-average-Yield: 11,97 KWh

c) Actual energy-consumption of village: (at the time of measuring there were about 80 houses connected + 2 churches + a school + an administration office) Every house has a lightbulb (LED with 6 watts or an energy saving lamp with 11 watts) and one power socket.

These power sockets are used a lot in the families to power the radio or charge devices. The villages’ yearly energy consumption in 2016 was 2211.6 kWh. This would be a daily average consumption of 6,0 kWh. These numbers however are not completely true because the extension of the connections took place bit by bit in the last year, meaning the daily consumption rose by the end of the year.

d) Conclusion of the present energy analysis: While the daily energy profit had been estimated pretty realistically in our feasibility study, we had estimated the villages’ energy consumption too low (7,5 kWh for 100 homes; actually was 9,9 kWh for 80 homes). With an average daily energy production of 12,0 kWh (wind + solar) and a daily average consumption of approximately 10 kWh, we realized that the energy balance was very close, if one considers the loss of energy throughout the system. If as intended 20 houses would be added to the network, the energy balance will fall into negative numbers.

Therefore the diesel motor must load the power storages now and again (depending on the actual energy accrual). In the days we were present, the power storage was never fully charged (approximately 23.8-24.1 V in the morning). It turned out that charging the power storages for shorter periods of time is more efficient (sunny day + diesel aggregate). Then the energy level is significantly higher on the following days.

Because another small district wants to be connected (about. 25 houses; see following section) an expansion of the solar plant will be necessary (see. section 7).

4. "We don't get any electricity!” Tensions in the village

Yes, we also experienced this: There was partly great tensions in the village, since the population of a more remote part of the village were now afraid of not being connected. Their worries are partially justifiable, since it is unrealistic to lay electricity cables to each and every remote farmstead. The anger even led to a mischievous case of denied access and a small insignificant cable-theft. This unrest could only be pacified by a clarifying village-meeting with police-presence. We had clearly pointed out the restriction of the final building site to by 2011 and 2012. This had also been accepted by the village Elders and local-representatives. Nevertheless it still remains difficult for the average villager to accept that other homes can have electricity but not his.

Through our offer, to increase the capacity (solar-field-expansion) of electricity production with the view to connect one somewhat remote part of the village in 2017, peace was restored. Reconciliation-gestures were impressive after being invited to a family. One man embraced us and asked us for forgiveness that such hard words had been used.

We only understood this later. Our translator, Liranso, had been put under a lot of pressure, but didn't want to incriminate us with these problems, however. We also found this very considerate of him.

5. Human relations

A part of our project work in Tula is also taking care of personal relationships. In such a situation you cannot just build the technology and then leave again. Presumably some development projects fail due to lack of time or because there is no possibility to build up human relations. We noticed this must be part of the development project. This makes our work in Tula a very humane and heart-warming experience. 

Liranso Solomon - a merry translator

The language spoken in Tula and Hossanna is Hadiya. Amharen do not understand that language although the people who speak Hadiya usually understand Amharisch. In order to be understood in Tula, a translator is the most important companion. Liaranso Solomon is a marvellous guy, who happily accompanied our work in Tula with a lot of mechanical expertise. Liranso camped out and shared food and drinks with us. Thank you, Liri! Without you we could have packed up and left the project in Tula!

The host family and a nightly coffee

We had thought about moving our camp into the middle of the village, since it would shorten the distance to the project sites. In the end we decided to set up the material store in the middle of the village while we were in Tula.  Our camp however stayed on the village outskirts were "our" family lived. Being close to the electricity house and the wind turbine was an important aspect (Security, reading data and tests). But also the secure and comforting near to a familiar family was important. So every evening at about 20,00hrs (14.00hrs in Ethiopian time) we met for coffee in the living hut, it was romantic and atmospheric! In front of us the family was sitting around the open fire and behind us the families’ animals (about 12 large animals and some small animals). Otherwise, silence except for a crackle, the quiet panting of animals and sounds of cooking. Mumblings of the people present. We sat on stools carved from wood. In front of us stood a basket with roosted cereal grain (so called Kollo). Coffee takes time to make in Ethiopia. At first the green coffee is cleaned and grinded. Then it is roasted on an iron pan, then ground with mortar / iron stick and afterwards it’s cooked for at least 10 minutes. After serving, the ground coffee is used another two times. What’s amazing about this coffee, is that even those who usually couldn’t drink coffee after 4 pm, because they wouldn’t be able to sleep, could still enjoy coffee in larger amounts at 8 pm. Maybe the caffeine vanishes when you cook it?

An eventful movie evening

Like last year, we offered an outdoor cinema evening again. A Laptop and a simple Beamer made it possible. The house wall chosen to use as big screen was however painted in two colours, light blue and natural clay colour. After the family living in this house heard of the idea of the cinema evening, they quickly converted the wall into a real cinema screen with chalk white wash and so we spent a refreshing and happy evening looking at the pictures of the past few days with about 80 children and adults. For a lot of them who didn’t take part in the cinema evening last year these were probably the first projected pictures they had ever seen.

A volleyball game "Germany against Tula"

Our suggestion of a volleyball game on the field in front of the electricity house: “Germany vs Tula”. Took place on the last evening. The youth of Tula were already waiting eagerly for us (we were late because we came from another invite). A simple rope as the net and a few lines in the grass as boarders, were enough for a fun game. We only ended the game when we couldn’t see the ball anymore because it was too dark. We tried our hardest to compete against the well playing youth of Tula. So the night was a welcome relief...

6. Remarkable

Meals in Tula and cooking with Ethiopian charcoal stove

We must confess. We only took part in the coffee round and didn’t eat any meals with our host family. Kollo (roasted grain or peas), Kotcho, a mash, made out of the trunk or root of the wrong banana plant which is just spiced or baked. A taste you have to get used to, as well as kale and steamed pulses. As the family father told us they only eat meat 3-4 times a year! So we weren’t surprised not to see a single overweight person in Tula. Heart and circulation problems were probably rarely a problem here.

So how did we nourish ourselves? Eating grains all day and every day wasn’t in our interest. Our chef cook conjured up lovely, filling meals out of canned food we had brought with us, potatoes, carrots and onions from Hussanna market each day. Fish, canned sausages, salami, cheese, honey and jam with white bread made a lavish breakfast and evening meal. To quench our thirst we drank tea, coffee, water and good beer.

The Ethiopian coal stove was very useful for these occasions: using the clay pot we could keep the food cooking for a long time and even warm up water for the washing up afterwards. This was much easier than using a small gas cooker as we did before. We had bought the charcoal stove at the market for only about 2€.

When do the animals drink?

We kept wondered: When do the horses and cows drink here? The animals usually eat the last millimetre of the rather dry grass and blank straw. They only got given something to drink every two days. How can that work? We don’t know. The animals still seem to be in pretty good form. Admittedly the ox is only ready to be slaughtered after 5 years and the amount of milk a cow gives is understandably minimal.



Formed out of the ground in a remarkable speed: tram, highway, railroad in and around Addis Abeba

The dynamics of the city and infrastructure in Addis Abeba and surroundings are developing extremely fast. We had already reported in 2014, that skyscrapers and high street systems were shooting out of the ground like mushrooms. Now in 2016 the tram lines with the raised roads and tram stops are finished. The trams are rolling. The Chinese built it.



Similar to this is the train track between Addis Abeba and Djibouti. In a few years the 800 km long electrical route will be finished. Chinese firms seem to have won the race. In Mai 2016 the track will be opened.

Just like the construction of a modern motorway from Addis Abeba to Djibouti. We were able to drive along a small stretch from Nazareth to Addis Abeba. The road was unusually perfect and smooth, road markings, sound and light barriers, bridges with safety houses and solar systems, modern standard toll controls. Will the State be able to afford the up-keep of this modern infrastructure in the future, which has been partially financed by development foundations? We can’t wait to see. But we were glad to be able to get to Addis Abeba faster than usual.

7. Project costs, perspectives

The cost of the project trip 2016 added up to 8.000 Euros. This involves the purchases in advance of light bulbs, installation material, electronic components and the purchase of cables and electronic accessories in Addis Abeba, transportation and accommodation costs in Ethiopia. The flight costs were paid privately by individual participants.

How will the project continue?

Because the maximal number of capacity has been reached we plan to enlarge the solar field in 2017 to double the size as it is now. This will allow us to expand the electricity network throughout the rest of the village and will lead to a positive energy result. But an expansion of the solar field technically isn’t possible because the existing battery block is not big enough (24 V DC, 1800 Ah). We reckon that the project in 2017 will cost about 12.000 to 14.000 Euros. We are hoping we receive more donations.

At the moment the technicians are documenting all weekly data, which will help in the later system analysis (wind strength, energy yield through wind and solar, energy consumption in the village, voltage of the battery, usage of the emergency power system). What will be interesting is how much energy is gained by the two different sources in the different seasons.

gez. Dr. J. Hahn, March 2016

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