EST Report: Small is Powerful

BWEA, the UK’s leading renewable energy trade association, welcomed today the publication of the Energy Saving Trust’s (EST) report on the domestic small-scale wind field trial. The report on the first-ever comprehensive monitoring programme of domestic small scale wind turbines in the UK, had as its main aim ‘to determine how the technology performs when installed in ordinary people’s homes’. The monitoring programme started in 2007 and specifically covered 57 sites across the UK, with the results overwhelmingly indicating that small wind systems could become a major UK renewable energy technology, generating around 3,459GWh, or around the same as UK hydro plants.

Alex Murley, BWEA Head of Small Systems, said: “This report has once again confirmed the vast potential for deployment of small systems in the UK, even at today’s electricity prices. Like all other renewable technologies, these devices work very well when properly sited and are likely to be deployed by an increasing number of households in the next decade. This is why BWEA has invested considerable efforts to develop industry standards, and raise customer awareness on the benefits of the technology.”

The conclusions of the report state, that the number of higher yield domestic wind locations is 455 650, approximately half of which are in England and Wales. The report states that “freestanding pole-mounted turbines, installed in the appropriate location with a clean-air wind resource, were seen to have very good performance throughout the UK, but observed performance in Scotland was exceptionally good due to higher recorded wind speeds. In Scotland, annual load factors in excess of 30 per cent were measured in some instances.”

Commenting on the various wind speed databases available to consumers, the report shows that “there are now a number of additional methods to predict the local wind speed, including an adjustment to NOABL, which has been adopted as part of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).” Estimates at built-up and exposed sites according to current industry standards were broadly in agreement with in-situ measurements from the field trial.

“In 2008 the UK was the world’s biggest exporter of small systems, and is increasingly lauded internationally as the world’s manufacturing leader in the sector. The EST report shows that there are significant opportunities for small systems’ deployment within the UK. There is also scope for agricultural, industrial, public housing and leisure sector deployment. There is a vast number of commercial and domestic users ready to embrace this technology and the work of BWEA on standards and monitoring is helping this happen,” commented Murley.

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