by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The British Wind Energy Association (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 “free standing 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.

The BWEA is the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. Formed in 1978, and with 509 corporate members, BWEA is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK . Wind has been the world's fastest growing renewable energy source for the last seven years, and this trend is expected to continue with falling costs of wind energy and the urgent international need to tackle CO2 emissions to prevent climate change.

While we have this report and statement from the BWEA there have been, at the same time, others that have come out claiming that microgeneration, especially for wind cannot and does not work in most UK locations and, and now please everyone put down drinks and stop eating in case you splutter, that small wind turbines use more energy than they produce and therefore create costs in money and CO2 emissions.

How they come to that conclusion beats me and that is why I advised that the reader not drink or eat at the time of reading my comments here. Some people do not live in the real worl, methinks, and that on more than one level.

© 2009