MEW and GTZ Wind Up Wind Energy Study [Archives:2001/35/Front Page]

August 27 2001

On Wednesday, August 22, 2001, the German Technical Cooperation Corporation (GTZ), and the Ministry of Electricity got their energies together to produce a workshop on the possibilities for introducing the generation of electrical power through the use of alternative energy sources to the high cost “Mazout” or heavy fuel oil, now used to power most of the generating capacity of PEC and regular diesel fuel, used to power most of the isolated networks of PEC, as well as the majority of independent local generating systems.
The workshop was attended by representatives of the various organizations and agencies visited by the GTZ Wind Energy Mission, headed by Dr. Jorg Baur, himself from GTZ’s energy division, including the Ministry of Electricity and Water, the Public Electricity Corporation, the Ministry of Planning and Development, the Civil Aviation and Meteorology Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Solar Energy Center, the Ministry of Local Administration and others. From the German side the German Deputy Ambassador attended and Mr. Sameer Abdul Habib, the Deputy Director of GTZ also attended.
HE Eng. Yahya Ali Al-Abiadh opened up the workshop, by thanking Germany and GTZ for their strong interest and support to the efforts of MEW to seek lower cost energy sources, not just to feed the national grid, but to also help PEC in meeting the demands for electricity in the rural areas, by using low cost generation capacity that relies on wind energy for activating the turbines of generator sets and produce clean energy that is friendly to the environment. Mr. Al-Abiadh noted that Yemen’s geographical and demographic features encourage the development of low cost energy projects and wind energy would definitely offer a promising outlook in the field of energy production.
Eng. Mohammed Hameed Al-Sha’abi (MEW) noted the MEW’s interest in wind energy generation pointing out that the Government’s Action Plan envisages the practical application of wind energy fairly soon.
Dr. Baur then spoke about the mission The purpose of the GTZ mission was to determine the potential for introducing wind energy as a viable alternative to electricity generation by burning fossil fuels, the institutional and organizational framework needed to put the idea to practical implementation and the drawbacks to be faced technically, logistically and financially. The Mission arrived to the conclusion that the project should be based on introducing wind energy in two components: one for feeding energy into the National Grid from wind parks set up in coastal or internal areas, while the other would comprise a number of projects to cater to rural areas with isolated networks. For both components, private sector and local community participation would be welcome and encouraged.
On the other hand Dr. Baur noted that more coordination is needed between the various interested agencies, who are working in the field to avoid duplication of efforts and to avoid waste of resources, in addition to speeding up the practical application.
Mr. Gerhard J. Gerdes, a Consultant for GTZ, who is the Managing Director of Deutsch WindGuard GmbH, and a member of the Mission, gave a summary of the findings on the possibility of reinforcing the grid with wind generated energy, where substations provided an ideal location in Al-Mocha, Aden and Dhamar. There is still, however a lot of data that needs to be collected in order to determine the economic and financial viability of wind generated power, such as accurate long-term wind speed measurements and other geo-physical data, not to mention the technological infrastructure for transfer of information.
Mr. Detlef Loy, Another Consultant from Loy Energy Consulting, and also a member of the Mission, who handled the rural aspect of the study, gave an overview of the background information available and the options available. On the latter, he noted two primary options: local community/village grids powered by diesel sets (now existing) to be possibly combined with wind systems, where the conditions are suitable; and individual local systems with small wind stand-alone systems for battery charging, or photovoltaic electrification for remote areas with dispersed housing (50 watt – Solar Home Systems) and larger PV systems for specific requirements. On wind energy Mr. Loy pointed out that application would probably be restricted to coastal and desert areas and exposed mountain sites. Yemen has yet to establish an experimental basis on wind energy. Mr. Loy noted that there has been some strides made in solar energy, and that solar energy can prove to be more competitive for remote areas on a full-scale basis.
Discussions then followed, which were moderated by Eng. Anwar Al-Sahooley, from MEW. The participants agreed with the need to focus on rural electrification. Some of the participants in the workshop worried about the maintenance costs, and the Consultants pointed out that usual maintenance for wind turbines is carried out semi-annually and annually. There were also questions as to the experiences of other countries in the field, and it was pointed out that Germany already produces 7,000 megawatts of electricity from wind turbines alone. To minimize maintenance costs, larger units would be recommended. The issue of sand and other environmental/climatic factors was raised in the discussions. A suggestion was made to make sure that the wind generating units should be installed inland away from the coast to avoid humidity, dust and salt.
Dr. Abdu Al-Maqalih (BS in Physics, BS in Civil Engineering, MS in Meteorology and Ph.D. in Solar Energy, the Director General of Meteorology at CAMA and Chairman of the Solar Energy Center, with extensive experience in Solar Energy, pointed out the need for further studies to determine site suitability and costs and an assessment to determine the most economically feasible options. Moreover, he pointed out that solar energy has no movable parts, thus maintenance would be minimal.
On another note the problem of logistics was mentioned as a possible drawback to some of the suitable sites such as Dhamar. Some of the wind turbine parts are usually huge and could face transport difficulties, as they are moved around the winding and steep roads of Yemen, such as the Hodeidah Road or the Sumara Pass.
The preliminary study undertaken by Baur’s team will eventually lead to a detailed feasibility/design and preparation of contract tender documents, which will be funded by GTZ. YT has learned that the German Government has allocated DM 2 Million for the next stage of the project for the detailed feasibility study, design and preparation of the Tender Documents.
YT has also learned that there is a Government agency that is setting up their own wind turbines (4, to be exact), but the project is being carried out without a detailed study and could face some future difficulties, but the agency has pointed out that they have already obtained a guarantee from the supplier that the turbines will generate electricity, where they will be set up, but it was not clarified what type of guarantee and who the supplier is. Apparently the supplier is not the manufacturer of the proposed turbines.