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Wind Turbine As Substitute Source For Electricity 

By Yvonne Massa & Ngwa Tatiana Ngum* — A wind turbine workshop has been set up in Buea, Southwest Region, to produce alternative electricity.

Joseph Mailong, the initiator of the project known as “Nature Power Engineering” at Great Soppo, said, for over three years now they have been providing energy generated from wind turbines and solar panels aimed at supplementing the insufficient supply of electricity experienced by households. Besides, the alternative sources of renewable energy solve some of the practical electric problems faced by the society which are power failures, low voltage especially in remote areas, noisy generators and damage of appliances.

Mailong said their alternative sources of renewable energy besides the wind turbine include the solar system and biogas, which can, among other things, pump water from wells into households, produce electricity and generate cooking gas from waste. All these alternative sources of energy can be used to do various things such as warming water and drying things like cocoa, fish and spices. “Electricity generated from the wind turbine is friendly to the environment and has no effect on the climate, easy to transport to suburbs,” Mailong said.

He said it is cheaper for consumption; it improves the level of technology and provides employment opportunities. “So far, we have manufactured seven wind turbines; four installed in the Northwest and three in the West Region. Presently, we have a project around Bomaka which has been going on for about a month,” Mailong told The Post.

Meanwhile, some solar panels have been installed in Ekona and Federal Quarters in Buea.
There is also a wind turbine project going on in Limbe. Mailong said the prices of these renewable energy instruments vary depending on the amount of energy needed by an individual.

“The smaller solar system costs FCFA 60.000 used just for three bulbs and goes up to millions depending on the amount of energy, and the wind turbine costs FCFA 350.000,” said Mailong.
The solar panel, which is placed on the roof of buildings, traps energy from the sun and stores it in a battery that has a guarantee of 25 years. The amount of light entering the battery is regulated by a control charger in order to prevent the battery from damage. The light stored is later used to light the home which is cheaper to afford than other sources of energy.

In order for the business to operate fully and recognised by the Government, Mailong told The Post that he was given some documents at the Taxation office to compile and take to the court for registration. He added that he started doing electricity and electronics in 1988 and his project started about three years ago.

“I was one among 47 trainees who decided to carry out this project because the others could not handle the challenges, considering that we are from a Third World country. I thought it wise to improve on our technology by creating an alternative source of energy,” said Mailong. The project is, however, limited in that, without wind the turbine cannot function perfectly.

Also, the solar system for electricity cannot operate well without sunlight. Similarly, biogas cannot provide enough cooking gas if there is no abundant waste. Nevertheless, Mailong said, “Biogas remains the best system because it can be used for life.” “The project is new and people don’t know about it. So my aim is to get people to know about it and consume it,” said Mailong.

As to whether he has any problems with AES SONEL, Mailong said, “they have to be grateful because I am supplying what they are supposed to be doing; rather they should support me because when there is a power outage, people can use renewable energy to carry out their domestic activities.”

*(UB Journalism Students on Internship)

First published in The Post print edition no 01370