May 5, 1998 update

Nautilus Wind Power Team in DPRK

BEIJING, MAY 9 — A team of U.S. wind-power experts arrived in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Saturday, May 9, the Berkeley-based Nautilus Institute announced today.

The team will deliver a wind-power turbine and other equipment to Onch’on, a flood-affected rural area about 60 miles northwest of Pyongyang.

“This is the first time that American non-governmental experts will work side by side with North Koreans in a rural development project to fulfill urgent humanitarian needs,” said Dr. Peter Hayes, Executive Director of the Nautilus Institute and head of the mission. “This pilot wind-power project will power a medical clinic and school lights in a rural area hit hard by the floods,” he said.

The groundbreaking Nautilus-DPRK wind power facility is being constructed at Onch'on, shown at red arrow near top left of map.

The groundbreaking Nautilus-DPRK wind power facility is being constructed at Onch’on, shown at red arrow near top left of map.

“On this visit, we will erect a tower to measure the wind resource at the site, and complete the system design after inspecting the site,” Dr. Hayes added. “We will return in September to install the seven wind turbines and end-use equipment to be shipped to North Korea in June.”

The other U.S. wind-power experts on the mission are Nautilus Associates Dr. Jim Williams; Mr. Chris Greacen,an expert on rural energy systems in developing countries; and Mr. Mick Sagrillo, one of the most experienced wind-power engineers in the United States.

In addition to delivering the first shipment of equipment, the Nautilus team will train North Koreans in conducting rural energy use surveys and socioeconomic studies, using standard international methods. The result will be the first such survey in North Korea.

“It is time to engage North Korea in cooperative development assistance projects, not just give them food aid,” asserted Dr. Hayes. “Meeting humanitarian energy needs will make it easier to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation in the Korean Peninsula,” he added. “This pilot project will enable North Korea to demonstrate that it is willing to conform to international standards for development assistance. It is a stepping stone from which North Korea can enter the international development community,” he concluded.

The Nautilus team will depart from North Korea on May 16 and return to the United States on May 17 via Beijing.

In December 1997, the Nautilus Institute hosted a visit to the United States of five North Korean wind-power technicians. During that time, the delegation visited California renewable energy projects and, for the first time for DPRK representatives, the World Bank and the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, DC.