New wind turbine sheds light on Hanoi's slums

Cheap wind powered technology is having a big impact on those living in the slums of Hanoi.

HANOI (Reuters) - 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 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.

"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," said Le Vu Cuong, developer of Electrical Generators and Architect.

Mr Cuong's wind-powered generator is made from cheap, easy-to-replace material and works with a wind speed as low as 0.4m 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.

"This light source is very helpful for our activities in the evening. It's convenient and at the same time cuts our monthly costs," said pottery trader Bui Thi Huong.

Vietnam only produces 140 megawatts 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.