Jon Sumanik-Leary, The University of Sheffield & Engineers Without Borders UK
Small wind turbines are a niche technology, as their successful dissemination depends on a variety of contextual factors, such as the wind resource available locally, the exisiting local capacity and the viability of other power generation sources in that particular place. This study evaluates the current state of the small wind electrification ecosystem in Nicaragua and proposes a methodology by which to quantitatively evaluate the market potential for the technology, together with recommendation for how to achieve this potential. It was found that although regions of high wind potential exist, they do not correlate well with the majority of the population who are living without access to the national grid. What is more, the falling price of solar PV means that choosing small wind is a riskier option, due to the higher maintenance needs and the difficulty in evaluating the resource.