If we are to slow down climate change we need a complete global transformation from our existing carbon based technologies and economy. However, this transition is not happening as fast as it is needed.
In order to effectively transform our economies and societies, creativity and knowledge must be unleashed -- this includes in technologies for renewable energy.
In order for actions to be taken urgently, we believe that the benefits and costs must be shared by everyone, in particular between the global North and South. That is, the clean transition must be a just transition.
For these reasons, the open sharing and development of renewable technology designs can play a critical role in bringing about a low carbon future. In particular it:
- Enables the development of local capacities for the manufacture, deployment and maintenance of suitably sized sytems, rather than relying on external services;
- Encourages designs suited to local conditions and local needs;
- Frees innovation and creativity to develop the technologies.
We take our inspiration from an ethos in part of the renewable sector and the open source software movements. The renewables sector has strong roots in a common imperative to build a sustainable future – this has promoted openness and sharing. We will build the knowledge that is already public and dispersed, shared among the industry, academia and government. The open software movements have also been extremely successful: demonstrating innovation, novel ways or collaborative working and developing new ways of protecting intellectual property in the public domain.
Renewable energy systems require both software and hardware. Although Open Source development has been related mainly to software production, there are initiatives in what is termed Open Design of hardware. However, the production of tangible goods, rather than software, introduces a new set of challenges, including higher impact of design modifications, manufacturing constrains, supply chain, cost of inventory, etc.
Onawi will initially work towards the design and development of a wind turbine and will engage in technology transfer projects to promote manufacture by local partners. We will work with others to help ensure that these designs will bring benefit to communities through the creation of industrial capacity and social enterprise, in addition to the supply of low carbon energy.