A new study reported by Northwest Public Radio has found a growing trend for small wind turbines in the USA. These are mostly single turbines in people’s backyards, on farms, or supplementing power for businesses.
Meanwhile in China, Xinhua reported yesterday that the government is forcing power companies to provide consultancy and acceptance for individuals setting up small wind turbines and help connect them to the grid.
The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory says small wind producers are popping up all over the US, powering homes, on farms, at schools and businesses. To be considered in the study wind energy had to be used locally and not travel miles and miles over transmission lines.
China is doing much more than the USA to promote small distributed wind power – it took the decision to subsidise the construction of distributed power systems as well as electricity generated from distributed power systems, according to the management methods on distributed power generation issued by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
Distributed power generation which can be granted subsidy includes distributed wind power, solar power, biomass power, geothermal power, and ocean energy power generations.
Those that have received construction subsidy would no longer qualify for power generation subsidy, the NDRC said.
Alice Orrell is an energy analyst with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. She carries a six-inch wind turbine with her to demonstrate this type of energy, called distributed power.
Orrell: “And it’s distributed because all the power gets used right here.”
She has attached a small electrical circuit to the turbine. It demonstrates the power of the turbine to generate energy.
One main advantage to small wind turbines, researchers point out, is they can be more resilient.
The lab’s report was the first comprehensive analysis on distributed wind. Orrell found that 68 percent of all wind turbines installed over the past nine years have been distributed wind projects.
Orrell: “Because there are so many small wind turbines out there that you don’t even see that are considered distributed wind.”
Orrell says she thinks people will continue to install small wind projects.
In China, power grid operators have been ordered to give priority access and ensure the full purchase of distributed generated electricity.
Operators are responsible for the construction of facilities for distributed power systems’ access as well as the upgrades or changes needed for the existing grids.
For distributed power systems under 35KV that connect to power distribution networks, the management methods stipulated that grid access application process should be simplified and power grid operators should provide services such as consulting, testing, and acceptance inspection.
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