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Archive for the ‘wind energy’ Category

In August of 2009, Andrew Kanzler led a group of fellow Landscape Architecture alumni, graduate, and undergraduate students from Cal Poly Pomona on a 10-day Green Empowerment Service Learning project/tour with staff from Practical Action in Peru/ITDG along sections of the Jequetepeque Watershed in northern Peru.  Andrew is an artist and current graduate student in Regenerative Studies at Cal Poly Pomona.  This was Andrew’s second experience with Green Empowerment after having traveled to Nicaragua in 2007.

Hostel in Cajamarca

Hostel in Cajamarca

In August myself and some classmates headed down to Peru with some folks from Green Empowerment. We flew into Lima and from there we went to Cajamarca. Cajamarca is in the Andes on the east side of the continental divide. This city is known as the switzerland of Peru because of their well known dairy products. I was pretty excited because I’m a huge fan of cheese and I’ve heard nothing but good things about Cajamarcan Cheese. What’s cool about this town is their old architecture and city plan. There is a plaza in the center of town called Plaza de Armas (turns out just about every plaza in Peru is called plaza de Armas). We stayed in a hostel just a block from the center of town called hostal de Cajamarca. Hostels in Peru aren’t like hostels that we think of in the states, Hostels are really just hotels that aren’t 4 star hotels. This hostel was really cool because it had a courtyard that we often used as the central gathering location or hang out spot when we were waiting or just chatting. It reminds me of how much I want a courtyard to be the center of my house. Of course this style is of spanish influence, not of the indigenous groups. We spent the first few days here, getting acqainted with what to expect and meeting with various people from the NGO Soluciones Practicas.

We were here because me and a few others had spent 6 months preparing a project for a community in the Andes of the La Cocha subwatershed. 6 months is a lot of work to be doing for a place that we had never seen before. We based all our judgments on figures and numbers on everything we could find about the area. We did research on the slopes, the rainfall, the temperature, types of crops they were growing, types of innovations their ancestors employed and a bunch of other things. We came up with as many solutions we could to help them adapt to global climate change and help them survive in a more globally effected climate.

Grade School in Cajamarca

Grade School in Cajamarca

But we finally made it out here, and were excited to be able to see what it was really like. Cajamarca is a relatively cold city, but based on our research we new that the town we were going to, Chilete, would be warm or even hot like it was back home. Unfortunately I had forgotten that the climate and temperature could change in Peru in such relatively short distances. On our way up we found that much of the Andes is being afforested with new trees that never grew here before.

Tree Landscape in the Andes

Tree Landscape in the Andes

Trees like Eucalyptus and pines we being planted along grids, and some of us weren’t sure wether they were the best species or not because they could become invasive.

Yanacocha Mine

Yanacocha Mine

The ride was definitely educational and we began to learn more about the Yanacocha mine that was nearby. It is one of the largest gold mines in the world yet the locals do not benefit from it.

Community Members of Chilete

Community Members of Chilete

Once we got to Chilete we presented some of our work to some leaders of the community. It was amazing to finally present our work to the people we intended it for. It being a class project that we had spent 6 months on, it never seemed like it was a real and viable project until that day. Our work was finally coming to life. If only we had really had this feeling earlier we may have been more prepared. Things like understanding that we need to produce our work in Spanish for them, and many other language barriers were a problem but we were able to make it through with our classmate Rene. Rene hadn’t been part of the project, but he was the most fluent Spanish speaker and he became an important part of the project. After our presentation we exchanged contact information with the hopes of keeping in touch.

Hillsides of Chilete

Hillsides of Chilete

We received a much needed info on the La Cocha sub watershed and we finally were able to see the hillsides we had been so accustomed to seeing on maps.

It was getting closer to our trip to Suro Antivo.

A Vicuna

A Vicuna

Suro Antivo is higher up in the Andes, on the way up we almost hit a Vicuna, a rare species related to the Alpaca. Its fur was once reserved for royalty because it is so soft.

Soccer Game in Suro Antivo

Soccer Game in Suro Antivo

There was much concern over how well our bodies would be able to handle the altitude when we got there, so Jason thought it’d be a good idea to play soccer when we got there. The long car ride made me beat so I decided to sit this one out.

Bamboo in Suro Antivo

Bamboo in Suro Antivo

Suro Antivo is an amazing town to visit. Farmers all own large plots of land and everyone lives no less than a quarter mile apart. Suro is a type of bamboo that was used as a common building material. That plant is no longer found in town. Antivo means “old” similar to the word antique. The grassland landscape here must have changed a few times over the many years that people have been here. It is likely going to change again.

Meeting in Suro Antivo

Meeting in Suro Antivo

Most of our meetings took place in the school house because it is the only public gathering place. In Suro Antivo many people have just received running water for the first time, and neighboring communities many people do not having clean running water at all. This means the most common causes of death is dysentery from dirty water.

Tapstand in Suro Antivo

Tap stand in Suro Antivo

Our objective in Suro Antivo was to locate and plot the existing springs on a GPS unit and then create tap stands for the existing taps so that they will not break.

Taking a Sample

Taking a Water Sample

We split up into a few groups, Some of us checked the flow of water on the existing springs. Some went and did environmental assessments on springs around town. When we returned we shared our findings with each other and began working on plans to keep the newer springs in optimal condition over a long period of time.

Working on Environmental Assessment

Working on Environmental Assessment

Here we are working on the plans for the assessments

Presenting Findings to the Community

Presenting Findings to the Community

And presenting them to the community.

Working in the Jequetepeque Watershed

Working in the Jequetepeque Watershed

Later on we went to other communities in other parts of the greater Jequetepeque watershed. We assessed other springs and conducted interviews of people that lived there.

A Group of Children

A Group of Children

So many people have no clean running water and so many people are sick every other week because of it. It’s truly eyeopening to know how fortunate we are in the US to have clean running water.

Alto Peru

Alto Peru

Our nights were coming to an end in Suro Antivo and our next stop was to be in Alto Peru on our way back to Cajamarca.

Community Members of Alto Peru

Community Members of Alto Peru

On our way to Alto Peru I noticed some locals packed in hauling trucks who seemed angry at us. We were driving by in the same kinds of trucks that the miners use so, many of the locals thought we were miners. When we arrived in Alto Peru we spoke with some of the community leaders who voiced extreme concerns about the mine.

Powerlines to Yanacocha Mine & Alto Peru Windturbine

Power lines to Yanacocha Mine & Alto Peru Wind turbine

The irony was that there were many power lines held up by large towers that ran right past Alto Peru and went directly to the yanacocha mine. The only source of power for those in Alto Peru were from their own wind turbines.

Paved Road

Paved Road

The road the rest of the way was paved. Again, the road to the mine is paved, but not to other parts of the watershed.

Cumbe Mayo

Cumbe Mayo

When we arrived back to Cajamarca we took a trip out to Cumbe Mayo. Something I have been wanting to see. Cumbe Mayo is the location of a pre Incan aqueduct, the craftsmanship of the aqueduct is just amazing.

Working in Cajamarca with Soluciones Practicas

Working in Cajamarca with Soluciones Practicas

Back in Cajamarca we met with some more folks from soluciones practicas and discussed our findings and impressions of Chilete, Suro Antivo and the surrounding areas. We said goodbye to our drivers who became our friends and before we knew it we were on our way back to Lima.

David and his Cuy

David and his Cuy

On our last days in Lima it became easy to become bored because our days previously were so filled. However it was our friend David’s birthday and we had a chance to celebrate. (he loves the cuy).

View from Larco Mar in Lima

View from Larco Mar in Lima

Now only a couple of months later I am back in school and still thinking about what kind of impact we may have had on the people we had visited.

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Check out the news clip below regarding the Alumbre project  in Peru which Green Empowerment and other partners have been involved in. It’s from a national Peruvian news station and gives the flavor of the community and the impact the project has made:

A big thanks to Anna Garwood for adding the subtitles!

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Daniel Soto, a Ph.D. student in Physics at Stanford, worked with FEDETA in Quito Ecuador through a MAP Sustainable Energy Fellowship. While working with FEDETA Daniel had the opportunity to travel to the Amazon and work on a project that used river turbines to generate electricity for a small community called San José.

Daniel Soto in the Amazon

Daniel Soto in the Amazon

San José has about 200 residents and is located across the Coca River from Puerto Francisco de Orellano, a town of about 40,000.  San Jose, despite being about 1 km away from a town with electricity and communications has no grid connection.  We got on the bus in Quito and arrived in Coca after a long, hot, and beautiful ride.  That night we were treated to a torrential downpour and a two hour power outage to remind us that we are on the Amazonian frontier between modernity and ancient rain forest.

Constructing the new turbine platform

Constructing the new turbine platform

The next morning we took a dugout canoe to get to the other side of the river.  On the canoe ride I could see both the turbines of San Jose and the power and cell towers of Coca.  It seemed absurd that power could not be strung across the river.  Evidently it wouldn’t be profitable.

The turbine project is a pilot project that worked for a bit but needs some serious attention to get it back running again.  The turbines sit on rafts that are now a bit flooded and have broken blades.  We replaced a couple of busted blades on one of the three turbines and had it running.  The next task was to replace one of the rafts.   The previous raft for the river turbine was built using locally harvested wood. Unfortunately, the wood has soaked up a ton of water, attracted termites, and lost its buoyancy. Our partners on another installation have used plastic barrels filled with polyurethane foam to provide buoyancy for the turbine platform.  In the office we made our own barrels and brought them to the river.

For my last day in Coca, we constructed the raft that will replace the flooded raft that the third of the river turbines sat on.  With the entire raft and floor built, we cleared a spot on the river bank of branches and whatnot and tied the raft to trees on shore.  I didn’t get to mount the generator and get it going but at least there was some small sense of accomplishment before I left Coca to return to the Quito office.

Finished turbine platform

Finished turbine platform

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