Project Trip June 2012

Wind Energy For Debo/Ethiopia 11th June - 28th June 2012

updated 10. 10. 2012


  • Dipl.Ing. Wolde Giorgis Demissie, Berlin
  • Holger Schneidereit, Meißen
  • Dr. Jochen Hahn, Rüsseina

Travel time

11.-19.06.2012 (Hahn)
11.-28.06.2012 (Demissie, Schneidereit)

Aim of the trip

  1. Inspection of the circumstances in Debo
  2. Make contact with the village population in Tula (new project location)
  3. Reconnaissance regarding education possibilities for technicians in Hossaina and Addis Abeba
  4. Signing agreements about the future cooperation with the Ethiopian Protestant church Mekane Yesus (department social service and development EECMY-DASSC)

Report contents

  1. Inspection in Debo
    1. Fundamental questions
    2. The wind solar installation
    3. The technicians and the workshop
    4. The public electricity, hospital (Health center), school and church
    5. Results and perspectives
  2. Visit to the village Tula (new location), investigations and conversations on location
    1. Journey to Tula
    2. Conversations in Tula
    3. A village tour
    4. Results of the wind measurements
  3. The occupation-orientated college of Hossaina
  4. Project planning with the Ethiopian Mekane Yesus church department of social service and development, (Development and Social services Commission of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus -in future abbreviated with EECMY-DASSC).
  5. Intended schedule
  6. Final comment

Introductory remark

It was known that the trip was restricted both by time and staff, since it was mostly concerned with situation recordings and conversation about planning. As the travel costs were largely carried by the participants privately, the total financial expenditure for this trip was restricted to approximately 1.200 - Euro.

1. The inspection in Debo

1. 1. Fundamental questions

As there has been a public electricity supply in Debo since the end of 2011, The following questions arise for the perspective of a Wind-solar installation How well is our installation working? Are the technicians still working? Does the workshop still work? How far does the Public electricity supply reach in the area? In what way does the population use the public network? How much does it cost? How do hospital, school and church handle the double supply system? Is there a clear separation of these supplies? A connection would destroy our Alternator. Is any further investment Debo worthwhile? If yes, with which goal?

Because of the restricted travel time of Dr.J. Hahn, Mr.W. G. Demissie and Mr. H Schneidereit visited Debo. Due to the existence of the "double electricity supply" in Debo, the situation is not simple. A continuous competent care by development experts would be very desirable in such a situation. Here being the most essential realizations.

1. 2. The wind solar installation

The wind power installation works well even if radiator rods are bent by the attempts of a child to climb the mast. Unfortunately, the responsible Electricity Commission didn't see it necessary to supply, erect and repair individual fence pickets in order to secure the protective area around the "Wind power Installation". The solar installation also works - however here are also maintenance deficits (extremely dirty Panels). The electronic transformer to the Wind power-Battery charger was defective, could however be repaired by H. Schneidereit with a plastic clip. This electronic transformer must be better designed in the future - an important experience for Tula. Also the experience with the accumulator block is of elementary importance for the new project in Tula. The accumulator,( 24 V, 750 ah), was regularly let to unloaded to deeply, down to 22,8 V; that is at least 80 % of its capacity. The industrially pre-programed switch off level of the main alternator is set much too low. According to our realizations, the accumulators should not be emptied under 30-35 %,( not lower than approximately 24 V). Then this will lengthen their lifespan. However, the total capacity of the accumulator block must then clearly be calculated higher.

Never the less our wind solar installation has worked well for over four years, despite battery weakness, it still gives an electricity supply to the village. However, optimizations are still to be carried out.

1. 3.The technicians and the workshop

From the two technicians, one left to go and work in South Ethiopia. The remaining technician "Mulugan" is restrictively motivated. Moreover, he lacks the necessary education, in order to find new ways independently, and to really attempt the hand work needed. Here we see that the question of education is most important. The technicians' job is not made easier while the workshop owner would like to use the workshop room for himself.. This is also an important experience for Tula: That project places and premises should not be used privately but only as official assigned local properties in order to give a long-term security.

The local government in Mertule Marijam is still interested in the continuation of our installation and wishes, for the educational program, a workshop near to the school or to the administration in proximity of the market and to pay our technician a continuous salary. So that the installation could serve a second purpose: as "teaching installation for alternative energy extraction as well as for basic hand work skills". At the beginning of October 2012, the village administration together with the local government, clearly voiced agreement with the further utilization and extension of our energy installation.

1. 4. The public electricity, hospital (Health center), school and church

The public network is only partially present in the village. Some private houses have a connection with meter, where by the costs are not clear. One passes the electricity on to the neighbors and settles the bill privately at a rate estimated at 10 Birr per month. The electricity flat-rate with "our" private buyers lay 20 Birr. So, all private buyers changed suppliers. Apparently, the Electricity commission could not bring themselves to any autonomous rearrangement by way of sinking the Flat-rate price in a way that would persuade the private buyers to remain connected.

The Health center (hospital) also has a public electricity supply, however it still uses our wind solar supply. The public supply is not really connected. This means that both systems are completely separate of each other. The public supply often cuts out for longer amounts of time. Moreover, the installation is terrifying. Loose wiring runs Kris cross through doors or windows, so that they cannot be closed anymore.

It seems as though the church has been connected in the same way as in the hospital.

1. 5. Issue and perspectives

The experiences in Debo are encouraging as well as complicated and in several senses extraordinarily important to the planning of a new project. We see in Debo more and more, that the local mentality itself, even for the natives of the region, is "very special". Debo is a trade center, with people very strongly influenced by handling and trading. Fast calculations made to give themselves the advantage are more strongly distinctive than circumspect and long-term thinking for the benefit of the community. Trade is action now. The construction of an infrastructure is more a matter of Long term planning. Changes happen in this region, so strangely this may sound, over ordinances "from above". If the Local government sees a new perspective for our installation, this could be the way to go. The stabilization of the installation (accumulator block) would then be worthwhile. If the wind solar installation runs again with sufficient storage capacity, in our view it also has a good chance for the next years - and not only for private people but also as an existing reference object near the university Bahir Dar.

If the Local government continues to be active for the perspective of our installation, then further investments should be made again in Debo (accumulator block, electron. Transformer; better shut off technics).

2. Visit to the village Tula, investigations and conversations on location

2. 1. Journey to Tula

We had already made a visit to Tula in 2011, to make the first contact with the population of Tula and to take a good look at the location of Tula and its surroundings (see: Location and circumstances our report 2011). This time, we wanted to use the opportunity, to make a second contact with the population, in order to bring important questions into discussion and to get an overall picture of possible ways we could lay cables through the village.

On the 12. 6. 2012, our journey took us in an overland minibus on a speedy 4½-hour drive from Addis Abeba to Hossaina (per head 85 Birr) about 4 Euros. One sits really close to each other, so that the fleas don't need to jump too far. The hotel in Hossaina is affordable and altogether sufficiently equipped. In the evening we could talk with Habtamu, our engaged and friendly contact of the Mekane Yesus church in Hossaina.

The 23 km long journey from Hossaina to Tula on best described as" dirt track" was bizarrely adventurous, 13. 6. 2012.

Hossaina is at approximately 2.230 m above sea level and Tula is approximately 2.900 m above sea level. Duration: 1 hour

2. 2. Conversations in Tula

Our journey to Tula came to an end directly at our "Wind Hill" where already many of the village elders as well as local residents and the district administrator had appeared. Therefore the village meeting took place, there and then, on the hill. There were mostly older people. According to Habtamu's statement, Mekane-Yesus-Coordinater, most didn't have any education and found it hard to get to grips with technology and when, then could only understand simplified technology. We informed them, that we are still active in this project, but still require one more year in order to prepare everything.

The inhabitants expressed: "We will wait, and we are tremendously pleased that you help us. We are grateful that you think of us. We are otherwise the last to receive help. We will support you with our strength."

Our impression: Here, the population will clearly be more strongly ready for the performance of Self-help as in Debo. Here, the sense of community is much more distinctive. We very clearly and repeatedly explained that the performance of the installation is restricted and a maximum of only 150 cottages (Tukuls), administration buildings, school, workshop and Mini-health center can be provided with electricity, (only 1 lamp per cottage + socket for small units.) We then proposed, to first connect cottages that lie in the proximity of the main cable, beginning with approximately 80 cottages, and then to develop it step by step towards the full potential. In Tula, there are apparently over 300 cottages.

Question of an inhabitant: Why not a great big wind turbine? Our answer: Incredibly high costs and no possibility of the self-maintenance. To the selection of the cottages: A simple pulling names out of the hat, doesn't help as the cable routes would cause an irresponsibly high usage of cable. Our question: How the selection should therefore be met? Answer: After much discussion, according to the Elders of the village it was decided that whoever wanted to be connected at all should come forward and then, we Germans should make the decision from a technical point of view. "We will accept your selection".

Families, that wish to be connected and shall be connected, must first pay into an energy fund. As regards to finding young people as candidates for the education in "Teenagers to maintenance technicians" there should be no problem as there were plenty of applicants. Confirmation by the village Elders: Power line masts can be produced without further problems, from eucalyptus trunks. There are plenty of them in Tula.

2. 3. A village tour

A contemplation of location and the walk through the village brings the following findings: Erecting an electro station near the wind turbines is no problem. However we were later advised according to information from Mekane Yesus, that the E-Station should on no account be erected in private grounds since any later private demands should be excluded. None the less, the technician camp with overnight possibilities for the group can be erected in the location of a nearby farm house. This guarantees the shortest journeys during the montage.

Since the sun travels between south and north, the Solar panels should be only slightly inclined, which will have an influence on the roof construction.

The main cable route can be taken along the main path as far as to the school by insolated overhead cables. The administration is also on this route. An extra branch of cable would have to be laid to the small Health center. The main cable stretch amounts to 1,7 km. This length of cable remains a big challenge.

In immediate proximity to the Health center, the administration border ends. How do we handle the houses beyond the border? This question should be harmoniously clarified between both sides of the border.

As to the location of the proposed plan to build a Workshop, we were informed that it should be built in close proximity to the administration building. The school consists of three long-stretched clay buildings which at the moment has 23 class rooms. The rooms are dark. Window openings have been closed up again in order to avoid drafts.

According to the Administrator not all rooms need an electricity supply. However, we have calculated 2 energy savings lamps (c.a. 18 watts) per room. The three churches are situated far apart. Because of unjustifiable cable lengths and the limited length of time the power is needed, we propose that each church gets an emergency power generator with a supply of diesel. This suggestion was met with approval.

2. 4. Results of the wind measurements

From February 2011 to this day, wind was measured (approximately 6 m high), per Data logger. One of the villagers read and recorded the data weekly. The results are interesting, however, they show much better average wind speeds than in Debo.

In most months, it even lies over 3 m/hr., sometimes with 3,5 to 4 m/hr. with 4-5,5 m/hr. in some weeks (February, Octobers). Weak wind times seem to be April/May, August/September and December (2,5-3 m/hr.). We will continue taking measurements so that we will have the results of over two or even three years.

3. The Technical College of Hossaina and the Mekane Yesus Workshop in Addis Abeba

14. 6. and 18. 6. 2012

In Hossaina, there is a big college, that offers several basic courses in, woodwork, metalwork and plumbing, bricklaying, electro technology as well as technical drawing. Our impression is that unfortunately the level of education here is at a very basic level. This is a shame, even though, high-quality machines are standing around in the halls. Apparently, there is a great shortage here of highly qualified teachers. For the education of our technicians, another place of study would therefore be desirable.

This could offer itself in Addis Abeba, if necessary also in the Workshop of Mekane Yesus, through their own production of small hydraulic power turbines they prove to be very practice-orientated in their production.

A visit to this Workshop was very informative regarding, the relatively high level of competence in handwork. We also intend to have the masts for the wind turbines built here. We worked on a technical sketch together with the realization that: the Workshop can take over this work and can therefore be included directly into the wind power project. At least, the co-workers showed exceptional interest in having the opportunity to learn a new field of alternative energy.

4. Project planning with the foreign aid department of the Ethiopian Mekane Yesus church - EECMY-DASSC

On the16. 6.2012, the crucial conversation to create a concrete plan for the future cooperation between the two groups, took place in the headquarters of the Mekane Yesus church in Addis Abeba.

Basis for the conversation was

  1. A principle agreement between the group "Self-help Ethiopia" and EECMY-DASSC.
  2. The feasibility study produced by us for a project in Tula, that was discussed in great detail, as well as regards to the realization, ( here Link to the home page of the Tula-Project, )

Essential contents of conversation

  1. The firm will of realizing the project together was sealed by the signing of the partnership agreement between "self-help Ethiopia" and EECMY-DASSC.
  2. Regarding the funding, it has been agreed, that the costs will be divided. Principally: All costs, that accumulate in Germany, will be requisitioned in Germany,(approximately 25.000 Euro). All cost emerging in Ethiopia will be requisitioned by EECMY-DASSC, (approximately 25.000 Euro). An approximate cost evaluation is already available.
  3. EECMY-DASSC will apply for the import of materials from Germany, for the purpose of Duty free claims. An import list will be produced by the Rüsseinaer Initiative group.
  4. Clarification of the division of work: * "Self-help Ethiopia e. V.": Procurement and installation of the energy unit (wind turbine, PV, E-Station, eventually workshop, montage instructions, test cable route approximately 100 m incl. 1-2 house connections - montage plans for technicians; financing).
    * EECMY-DASSC: Proposition of sponsored material, logistics of the import of materials, selection and organization of the education of technicians and the formation of a Electricity commission, purchase of cable and organization of the laying of the cable through the village Tula and the building of an E-house in Tula (through Do-It-Yourself performance of the technicians and the helpers).
  5. Furthermore different questions were discussed regarding, the obtaining of material, state authorizations and schedule. Expressly, we point out that all accomplishment data must be recorded (wind conditions, levels of wind power produced, solar power produced and energy consumed), in order to be able to perform a scientific analysis after one year.

5. Schedule

1/2 2013

1. Building section in Tula through "self-help Ethiopia e. V. / technicians (Time plan: altogether approximately 14 days) Completion of the mast construction (already 11/12 2012) Selection of technicians of Tula, that will be included in the work, right from the start, Foundation works in Tula, the initial construction of the trial overhead route of power lines. Preparation for the construction of the E-Station Establishing of the course of the cable route through Tula

3-12 2013

Own performances in Tula / Mekane Yesus Education of the technicians in Hosseina Formation of an Electricity commission in Tula Purchase of the electricity cables in Addis Abeba Laying of the main cable route through Tula, to the house connections Completion of the E-Houses, including roof framework for solar,

3-9 2013

Purchases and composition of the components in Germany Wind turbine components Solar components Electronics / Electric Accumulators Mast guide wires with accessories Installation material, Energy saving light bulbs; house connections; Connection technology; Meters…, Workshop accessories Transportation of the components to Addis Abeba (containers, by ship)

1-2 2014

2. Building step Tula: Montages of the complete installation in Tula, (time planned 27 days), Montages of the wind turbine Equipment of the E-House (accumulators) Electric components (Emergency Generator) Solar installation Equipment of a workshop in the village Installation of some trial streetlamps Startup of the installation Installation of the Emergency generators in the churches Instruction of the technicians (performance measurements, wind condition measurements) Clarification with Mekane Yesus: Tasks of the electricity commission Tasks for the technicians, maintenance plans, Measurement protocol

6. Final comment

Though the schedule was so close knit, so the most essential things could be clarified for the preparation of the new project in Tula. We hope that we in Germany and the church in Ethiopia can find the necessary funds. We thank Mr. Wolde Giorgis Demissie and his extended family for the wonderful hospitality and for his tireless translation activities in Addis Abeba.

Signed. Dr. Jochen Hahn, Rüsseina,

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