What is WindAid?
WindAid is an NGO which builds wind turbines with volunteers for people in Peru who do not have access to electricity. Since our inception a decade ago, we have worked with communities all over the country, but one of our most long standing relationships has been with the people of Playa Blanca, a small fishing village in the north of Peru and the home of our biggest wind energy project yet.
Our volunteers installing one of our 500w wind turbines
Our project in Playa Blanca
On October 6th this year, we will be celebrating in Playa Blanca after the last wind turbine there is installed after eight years of work with the community. However, a real legacy for the people who live there will be achieving what we first dreamed of all those years ago - a completely sustainable, energy independent village.
A Sunday afternoon game of football takes place in the fishing village of Playa Blanca
An energy independent community
This has meant training local community members in the operation and maintenance of their turbines, and also education on the importance and potential of renewable energy for future generations. But in order to truly realise this, we want to leave something more. We want to turn the existing building in the village that we constructed in 2016 into a fully functioning workshop, kitted out with a range of tools and workspace to allow Playa Blancan technicians to carry out any work that is necessary as they live with their turbines for years to come. In order to do this, we need your help...
We have set three levels of fundraising goals:
$7,000: This is our preliminary goal which allows us to ensure Playa Blanca is equipped with basic tools and necessities in the workshop. With this amount of money, we will buy essential tools and equipment, such as screwdrivers, wrenches and hammers. We will also be able to erect storage space and bring about some minor organisational changes to the current workshop.
$12,000: To buy power tools to be run off the wind turbine at the current workshop, allowing more complex and effective work to be carried out by local technicians. This would include power tools such as angle grinders and drills that can be run off the wind turbine already installed at the workshop. If we can meet this fundraising goal, we would also be able to equip the workshop and Playa Blancan technicians with the means to construct spare parts when necessary, especially all turbine-specific molds. You can see a breakdown of some of the costings for this in this spreadsheet here , which demonstrates the differences between our preliminary and main goals.
$24,000: A stretch goal that would allow us to expand the workshop, build a dedicated teaching area and basic utilities, with the aim that good practise can be passed down through the generations living in Playa Blanca. This allows the center not only be a base of operation for the technician(s), but the community as a whole to understand and develop their sustainable energy project, becoming a beacon for complete renewable energy independence throughout Peru, and even the world.
Señor Tomas, the Senior Technician working on a turbine in Playa Blanca with a volunteer
Our plan in the event of extreme events
We have previously appealed for funds for the workshop in Playa Blanca in 2016 and were fortunate enough, through the generosity of our supporters, to raise just under $10,000. Though this was less than we had aimed for, we were still able to achieve the basic dream of a center of operations for WindAid’s work with the community of Playa Blanca. Thereafter, we have made sure to have similar contingency plans for all following fundraisers (including this one).
The vast majority of the money we raised in 2016 went on the construction of the workshop as it currently stands and the turbine installed there, but unfortunately this also happened a the time of major flooding in Peru, which devastated Playa Blanca and much of the coastline of the country. This meant we also had to spend some of the funds raised in making further visits to make repairs and replacing lost foundations and broken turbine towers. Though painful, we have learnt from this experience and we now have the foresight to plan ahead if such an event were to happen again, so that the entirety of the funds we raise will be able to go to what we have planned them for. These include measures such as designs for structures being above the water line, travel and construction timelines organised during low risk of flooding and the requirement that all basic materials be mobile and able to be swiftly removed should danger of adverse conditions appear likely. In this way, we are confident the painful events of the past can be learnt from to ensure this final push for our project with Playa Blanca can be seen through all the way through to a conclusion that endures, withstanding an increasingly unpredictable natural world.
We are so grateful for all your efforts in supporting WindAid and this project, whether it be through a financial contribution or sharing it with people you know. Please help us to go that one step further with Playa Blanca, helping to build a legacy with the community that was just a dream eight years ago but is now so close to becoming a reality.
We are dedicating the month from today to the 6th October to raise funds for the workshop and we really hope that you are as excited as we are about the prospect of seeing a truly energy independent Playa Blanca come to life. We know, with your help, the legacy we dreamt of eight years ago can become a reality. Any help you can give to get us there will be forever appreciated by everyone at WindAid and the people of Playa Blanca.
If you would like to learn more about our work in Playa Blanca over time, please visit this section of our website and stay tuned for updates both here and our social media platforms as we spend the month of September gearing up for our last installation, completing the last stages of our technician training and raising as much money as possible! And of course, we are always happy to hear from our supporters or answer any questions you may have at [email redacted]