In South Benin, small wind turbines have been highlighted as a type of technology with a very significant – but at the same time greatly underutilized and under-researched potential for renewable energy-based electrification. Partners for Innovation carried out a feasibility study and drew up an action plan for the manufacturing of components for small-scale wind turbines in Benin.
It is often unclear what the benefits of small wind power are when applied in a new context, as it is a technology for which the feasibility and desirability can be strongly dependent on local socio-economic circumstances. In this, a key determinant of success is the role that local manufacturing can play; not only to reduce the system costs per kWh, but also to turn wind power generation into a technology that is socially embedded and able to contribute to local employment. In the study, it is assessed how and to what extent locally manufactured small wind turbines (1-10 kW) can contribute to the electrification of South-Benin.
The study is prepared on behalf of CTCN, the Climate Technology Centre & Network (CTCN) and the Ministry of Energy/Directorate General of Energy of Benin.
The study shows that nearly 90 villages in Benin’s southernmost departments of (with over 200.000 inhabitants), can be supplied with electricity from small wind turbines. For this, a production capacity of 7,7 GWh per year will be required, which is equivalent to between 1000 and 5000 turbines in the range of 1,5 – 6 kW. Although the sector’s initial steps in the small wind domain will be strongly reliant on import, many of the required skillsets and materials can potentially be covered by one or more Beninese companies in the short-to-medium term (2020-2025). Small wind turbines are expected to be cheaper than diesel generators and comparably priced or slightly more expensive than solar PV.
The development of a sector from the ground up requires concerted efforts in which not only industry, but also government, academia and civil society work together to generate momentum. The action plan therefore makes a distinction between four pillars: sector programming, targeted implementation, coalition building and knowledge development. Four time horizons are distinguished: very short-term (2018-2019), short-term (2020-2021), medium-term (2022-2025) and long-term (beyond 2025).