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Buea Municipality Gets First Wind Turbine 

By Walter Wilson Nana

The first-ever wind turbine has been erected in Buea. Stationed on the campus of the National Advanced School of Public Works Annex, the turbine has come to fruition thanks to the ingenuity of two NGOs; Nkong Hill Top and Green Step, Germany.

A member of the construction team, Jared Momanyi is from Kenya. He explained how relevant a wind turbine is. "It is all about renewable energy. Where we have a lot of wind like those close to the oceans and those around the desert, we have the opportunity to make wind turbines useful," he said. Momanyi dismissed fears that the necessary technology for a wind turbine is far-fetched from Cameroon and the African continent in general.

"This is not the first time it is been constructed in Cameroon. The technology is out there in Europe and we can get it as other people get them. I encourage other people to just acquire the knowledge other people are using so that they can use it to construct more wind turbines and help our society with it." Edwin Njonguo, Project Manager, Nkong Hill Top, sees in the wind turbines an alternative to hydro-electric Power.

"We know that a good part of the rural areas in our country is rarely connected to the national grid. So, it is an opportunity now for our rural areas, with the coming of the wind turbines to feel that they are not cut off from the national mainstream by benefiting from the energy generated from the wind turbines. In other parts of Cameroon, precisely in the Lebialem Division, Southwest Region, we have constructed water turbines in two villages. These villages are benefiting from electricity generated by wind and water turbines," he added. Njonguo noted that the energy generated by the wind and water turbines are cost-efficient, comparable to that generated by the national grid.

"In these villages, their current source of energy is the generators. To fuel these generators, they have to spend FCFA 3000 a night but with wind turbines, you have to invest only in the initial process of having one installed. After that, you will not have to pay anybody for harnessing the energy from the wind. It is FCFA 200,000 to get the wind turbine installed," he said.
German-born Cornelia Ehlers is the President of Green Step. She gave the motivation of her NGO’s interest in the wind turbine project in Buea.

"Ours has been to help rural areas with environment-friendly technology, to improve their livelihood. That is the vision of our NGO. We have been working in Buea since August 2008 but the preparation took off in 2007, when I first came to Cameroon and saw the potentials for wind and water energy for small and decentralised energy production possibilities."

Ehlers saw the need for wind turbines in Cameroon. But she will quickly prescribe the smaller turbines, which are easily constructed and less complicated for the rural communities.
"If we talk about small turbines, yes! If we talk about the very big turbines, which are sophisticated and computer manipulated and expensive, I’m not so sure. Some people may have the technology but the capital may no be there.

The small turbines are there to help in the rural areas and are easily constructed by the local inhabitants. It is a small Green Step we are taking together with the small communities to start producing their own electricity and their own turbines."The Green Step executive invited the craftsmen they have trained in Buea, for three weeks, to take the lead in constructing wind turbines in their communities so that the message can go across Cameroon.

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