April 18, 2011 in Appropriate Technology, Solar, Wind

blueEnergy is a non-profit organization that builds hybrid wind-solar systems for isolated communities.  Mathias Craig, a French-American, developed the idea in a class called “Entrepreneurship in the Developing World” while he was pursuing a Masters at MIT back in 2003.

The system centers around a 1,000W wind turbine, locally manufactured and connected to a “community battery charging station” that power schools, community centers, and health clinics, and charge private home batteries that are brought to the center.

The wind power source is complemented by solar panels, as “it tends to be windy on cloudy, rainy days, and sunny on calm clear days”.

blueEnergy targets communities that are isolated, multi-ethnic, lacking formal education, and having a destructive natural environment — where “top down” energy development requiring grid infrastructure, doesn’t really work.  Moreover, blueEnergy sees energy as part of an integrated approach, not just supplying an energy technology, but creating a complete “eco-system” that includes extensive community participation, ongoing capacity building, financing mechanisms, and much more — all that is required for a solution to be effective and sustainable.  Similar to EarthSpark.

blueEnergy has started developing projects on the Carribean Coast of Nicaragua where 75% of the population doesn’t have access to energy.  They are currently working with 15 communities and have installed 6.5kW of wind capacity and 5.8KW of PV capacity.

blueEnergy has offices in San Francisco, Paris, and Nicaragua.  And they are looking for volunteers…. ;)