Cheap wind powered technology is having a big impact on those living in the slums of Hanoi. Sharon Reich reports.
In the floating village along Hanoi's Red River electricity is at a prime. Many homes are too far from power stations to benefit, while those living closer can only afford to use a small amount of power. But these electrical generators that use red plastic bowls as blades are beginning to change that and the quality of life for those living here. Besides generating clean energy, they're slashing electricity costs by up to a third for low income families. Developer Le Vu Cuong. SOUNDBITE (Vietnamese) DEVELOPER OF ELECTRICAL GENERATORS AND ARCHITECT, LE VU CUONG, SAYING: "We want to support the low income community and their need for electricity usage. They now can use more electricity without any extra costs with energy coming from renewable sources." Cuong's wind-powered generator is made from cheap, easy-to-replace, material and works with a wind speed as low as 0.4 meters per second. The generated power charges old motorcycle batteries and illuminates lamps with the equivalent of a 45 watt light bulb. While the output generated is relatively small, it's enough to make a big difference to local pottery traders like this woman. SOUNDBITE (Vietnamese) POTTERY TRADER, BUI THI HUONG, SAYING: "This light source is very helpful for our activities in the evening. It's convenient and at the same time cuts our monthly costs." Vietnam only produces 140 mega watts of solar and wind power, but officials say the country has the capacity to produce 500 times more. Cuong hopes to make a dent in that number and is currently seeking financial donors to help brighten the lives of low income families.