Los parques eólicos de gran potencia son fundamentales para aumentar la contribución de la energía de origen renovable en el sistema eléctrico nacional. Sin embargo, todavía no se ha aprovechado en España la capacidad de la tecnología eólica para aportar energía renovable de forma distribuida, mediante su integración en entornos urbanos, semi-urbanos, industriales y agrícolas, especialmente asociada a puntos de consumo de la red de distribución.
Large scale wind power farms are essentially meant to increase the contribution of renewable origin energy into the national electric grid. Nevertheless, so far the capacity of the wind technology has not been exploited so as to provide renewable energy in a distributed way through its integration in environments of urban, semi-urban, industrial and farming kinds, and specially associated with consumption points in the distribution network.
Low power wind installations show characteristics of their own, which endow them with a series of additional advantages with respect to large scale wind power, such as a greater potential, global efficiency because of the prevented losses on the transport and distribution networks, and which enable the integration of renewable generation without resorting to new electric infrastructures. Moreover, they can enhance citizens’ implication in energy efficiency improvement, energy self-supply and the fight against climate change. Next are the most significant ones:
Energy generation next to consumption points.
Versatility of applications and locations, linked to self-consumption, with a possibility of integration in hybrid systems.
Technological accessibility to the end-user, easy equipment transport and assembly.
Running on moderate winds, without need of complex feasibility projects.
Exploitation of small locations or terrains with a complex relief.
Electric power supply in isolated places and away from the electric grid.
Optimisation of the exploitation of the existing distribution electric infrastructures.
Low operation and maintenance costs and high reliability.
Low environmental impact, due to a lower size and visual impact, and because of its integration in human activity environments.
Technically, these wind turbines have a similar structure to the large ones, with the sole exception that their design is simpler (passive orientation systems, low maintenance robust electric generators, lack of multipliers…). In general terms, their simple running makes these small installations easy to be tended by their own users.
Currently in Spain, small generators are mostly used for self-consumption in isolated buildings. Moreover, they usually go along PV solar panels, made up of small hybrid systems which enable to guarantee electric supply thanks to the combination of the energy from the sun and the wind. These systems, quite reliable, include batteries where the surplus of energy is stored for days without either wind or sun.
Another possibility consists in using these machines to produce energy and pour it into the electric grid. This option is still little developed in Spain, even if this could change this decade with more favourable conditions.