"Despite the fact that the country’s future prosperity is apparently assured by such bounty, the country is taking tentative steps toward exploring the potential of alternative energy sources. In a development that may have a more substantive impact on the lives of Turkmen dwelling in isolated communities than Westerners shilling for exploration rights, specialists of the Giun ('sun' in Turkmen, 'Solntse' in Russian) Scientific and Production Association under direction of Berdimukhamedov’s Higher Council for Science and Technology have constructed a prototype wind turbine capable of generating five kilowatts (Internet-gazeta, www.turkmenistan.ru, August 14).
"The windmill was tested at Birkova near Ashgabat and its performance certified by Giun researchers and officials from Turkmenistan’s Department of Energy and Industry. The windmill is destined for the isolated island of Gyzylsu ('Red Water' in Turkmen), two hours by boat and 11 miles southeast of Turkmenistan’s largest Caspian port, Turkmenbashi (Gosudarstennoe informatsionnoe agentstvo Turkmenistana [TDH], August 13). When installed, the windmill will provide power for the island’s school, kindergarten, and a day nursery for 100 children. The windmill will also provide electric power to a solar seawater desalination system in the village, its pumps, reservoir-distillate accumulator, and ultraviolet water disinfection unit, which was designed specially for the facility...
"As Giun researchers note, Turkmenistan’s climatic conditions provide an ideal setting for both solar and wind power research, as approximately 86% of the country is covered by desert. Even though Turkmenistan is self-sufficient in electrical power generation, producing about 14 billion kwh annually, a number of localities such as the Caspian islands preclude stringing centralized electric power lines but where power shortages could be addressed by local renewable energy facilities."