Is bigger always better?
Although small wind turbines are often hidden in the shadow of their taller, more powerful cousins, the industry is on the brink of take-off, as the upcoming Wind Directions will report.
The market for wind turbines of less than 100 kW capacity increased globally by 10% last year, and was worth €146 mn.
These wind turbines are especially adapted to rural electrification projects and for powering isolated homes, boats and telecommunication facilities. Increasingly, too, schools, factories and other buildings in urban areas are being powered by small wind.
Despite its increasingly popularity, the technology is not completely mature. Design and engineering challenges, as well as common standards, need to be addressed to produce reliable machines. Other issues involve administrative red tape and the lack of a feed-in tariff in some countries, making small wind turbines less economically viable.
If these issues can be addressed, the possibilities for the growth of the tiny turbines are endless.
“[Small wind energy] has the same potential as solar world-wide,” said Miriam Robbins from Southwest WindPower. “The potential is to grow by leaps and bounds.”
The latest Wind Directions is coming soon. To read the last issue, click here.