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Small Scale Wind Power

Small-scale wind power installations have particular characteristics which mean they offer a series of additional advantages over large wind power installations

Large wind farms are essential to increase the contribution of renewable energy to the national electricity system. However, what has not yet been exploited in Spain is the ability of wind technology to provide renewable energy in a distributed manner through its integration in urban, semi-urban, industrial and agricultural environments, especially associated with points of consumption of the distribution network.

Small-scale wind power installations have particular characteristics which mean they offer a series of additional advantages over large wind power installations (such as a potential greater overall efficiency because they avoid losses in the transport and distribution networks) and which allow the integration of renewable generation without the need to create new electrical infrastructures. In addition, they can promote citizen involvement in the improvement of energy efficiency, energy self-sufficiency and the fight against climate change. The most significant advantages are listed below:

Generation of energy close to points of consumption.

Versatility of applications and locations, linked to self-supply, with the possibility of integration with hybrid systems.

Technical accessibility for the end user, ease of equipment transportation and assembly.

Operation with moderate winds, without requiring complex feasibility studies.

Use of small sites or land with complex geography. 

Supply of electricity in places which are isolated and distant from the electricity network.

Optimisation of the use of the existing electricity distribution infrastructure.

Low operation and maintenance costs and high reliability.

Reduced environmental impact due to the smaller size, lower visual impact and its integration into environments where there is human activity.

Technically, these wind turbines have a structure similar to large wind turbines, but their design is much simpler (passive orientation systems, robust low-maintenance electric generators, absence of multipliers...). Their simplicity of operation means that, in general, these small installations can be looked after by the users themselves.

Currently in Spain, small wind turbines are mostly used for self-supply of isolated buildings. In addition, they are usually accompanied by photovoltaic solar panels forming part of small hybrid systems which, by means of the combination of the energy of the sun and the wind, allow a guaranteed electricity supply. These systems, which are quite reliable, include batteries where any surplus energy is stored for when there is no wind or sun.

Another option is to use these machines to produce energy and feed it into the electricity grid. This option is still very underdeveloped in Spain, although with more favourable conditions that could change during this decade.