Wind energy may help rebuild Haiti

Cannon says technology will be an important element of bringing the Caribbean island country back from the Jan. 12 earthquake that has left much of it in ruins.

With Haiti virtually denuded of its forests, the minister said that wind power could reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Haiti is the second-largest recipient of Canadian aid spending, after Afghanistan. Ottawa pledged $555 million over five years in 2006, and many expect that number to rise once the international roadmap for Haiti emerges after opening round of talks. Canada committed $1.9 billion to Afghanistan for 2001-2011.

Haiti has suffered from years of extreme deforestation which has caused Haiti ‘s topsoil to run-off into their rivers and out into the sea which has killed almost all fish and wildlife in Haiti ‘s rivers and coastal areas. In 1923 over 60% of Haiti was covered with tropical forest by 2006 less than 2% was forested.

Even before the earthquake, Haiti had extremely low electric power production and distribution. The lowest electricity production in Central America, with merely 40 kWh/person/year. 36% of the population had access to electricity, but this power generation was irregular and unreliable.

Haiti falls in the zone of the trade winds, with consistent wind directions and elevated wind speeds. Haiti’s mainly thermal and hydroelectric plants supply only a fraction of the energy required and even those who can afford to be on the grid receive power for only half the day.

La Gonave is situated such that the Trade Winds blow across the narrowest portion of the island it is ideal for wind farm development.