In Germany, a radio station, a regional ecology centre and an international federation which supports villages for homeless and orphaned children have combined forces in an initiative to bring wind power to a "Children's Village" in Peru. Further development of the village is hindered by lack of electricity which is expensive in Peru. But it is believed winds are good enough near the village to make wind a viable option. Donations are being sought.

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A radio station, a regional ecology centre and an international federation which supports villages for homeless and orphaned children have combined forces in an initiative to bring wind power to a "Children's Village" in Peru. Martin Haller from German radio station Lippe Welle of Hamm, supported by Öko-Zentrum North Rhine Westfalia, has presented a plan for a wind turbine to supply electricity to a village for orphans founded by the International Federation Westfälischer Kinderdörfer (FWK) of Paderborn in Germany.

The village, located at Cieneguilla some 20 km from the Peruvian capital, Lima, was built on the remains of a former Inca burial place. With time, the families of foster parents with homeless and orphaned children have built up a blossoming community with their own jojoba and apple plantations. But further development is hindered by lack of electricity.

At an open meeting in Hamm in Germany earlier this year Haller called for public support and donations towards the purchase and installation of a wind turbine large enough to supply the needs of the village once it reaches full strength of 120 children. Any surplus electricity from the turbine could be sold to the local parish of Cieneguilla, affording the children's community an income and providing the parish with more reasonably priced power. The meeting was well attended by representatives from trade unions, local industry and politics and from the Öko-Zentrum North Rhine Westfalia. They were easily persuaded by the merits of the project to use their channels of communication to appeal for donations. The Peruvian embassy in Bonn also agreed to facilitate licensing procedures in Peru, not only for the installation of the wind turbine, but also for permission to sell electricity to the neighbouring parish.

The meeting did not stop there, though. A decision was made to send engineer Klaus Henneke to Peru to make a start on technical planning. The electricity sector in Peru has been privatised, but prices are so high that the children's village cannot afford to buy a supply. Fortunately, though, the region is sited in a natural wind funnel and a steady wind blows daily. Less fortunately, wind measurements recently carried out at the village by Hennecke have revealed wind speeds of no more than 4 m/s, half of that initially estimated by Lima University. As a result the intention now is to move the wind project up the mountainside to where wind speeds are higher. Wind measurements there are due to start shortly.

Henneke has also drawn up plans for a complete energy supply for the Children's Village and its neighbouring parish. According to his plan, 85% of the energy will be provided by a wind turbine, supplemented by a solar plant and a back-up diesel aggregate.

In Germany the project has caught the imagination of a wide spectrum of organisations. The Saxony Environment Ministry has requested information with a view to contributing support. The Panorama Park Sauerland, which installed its own wind turbine on May 27, also plans to lend a hand. And the Peruvian community in Solingen is even planning a town festival to raise funds for the homeland wind project.

Friedhelm Bertling from the Verband Westfälischer Kinderdörfer says: "The costs of this first stage have been kept to a minimum. Even Henneke's air ticket was donated by the two banks which will hold the donations we expect to receive, the Volksbank Hamm and the Spar und Darlehenskasse Bockum Hövel." He is very happy with the way the project is shaping up and views the wind turbine as a vital contribution to achieving the aims of the Children's Village philosophy -- creating a community which is self supporting and no longer dependent on outside donations.

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