Distributed Wind Energy

80kw Turbine

Distributed wind energy systems are smaller, decentralised, more flexible technologies that are located close to the load they serve with a capacity generally less than 10MW. They can provide electricity to rural communities, businesses or any energy user wishing to reduce their bill costs and gain an alternative revenue stream. Distributed turbines are grid connected and therefore the owner receives payments for each kWh of electricity generated via the Feed In Tariff. Electricity not used on site will be fed back into the grid and the owner will receive additional payments from their utility provider via the export tariff. Alternatively, the owner of the turbine also has the option to sell their generated electricity to local residents at a discounted rate compared to standard utility prices.

Benefits of distributed wind energy

Distributed wind turbines have many advantages over traditional, larger centralised power generation systems:

 

  • Grid benefits: Reduces burden on the electrical transmission & distribution grid and also improves the reliability of the grid. Distributed power generation allows electric utilities to delay or even forego expensive transmission and distribution upgrades by reducing the need for imported power. Distributed resources can provide stability to the grid by meeting the peak demands of local distribution feeder lines or major customers.
  • Energy independence: Decreases the dependency on domestic and imported fossil fuel resources, hence increasing the security of electricity supply. Distributed generation also provides increasing competition in the electricity sector.
  • Economic benefits: Most of the UK’s energy sources are imported. As a result, when we import electricity or fossil fuels, we export money and jobs. Distributed wind power presents an opportunity to create jobs locally and nationally. One of the most significant economic benefits of distributed wind turbines are the domestic jobs linked to the manufacturing, installing, maintaining and selling of wind turbines. Local communities benefit when project materials, equipment and services are purchased through local suppliers. Wind turbine owners also benefit from reduced utility bills and tax incentives.
  • Environmental stewardship: Small clusters of distributed systems, if sited correctly, will have a significantly lower impact on the surrounding environment than large scale centralised systems. During operation, wind turbines emit no greenhouse gasses and therefore contribute towards mitigating the effects of climate change. Turbines are also pollution free, meaning fewer pollutants in the atmosphere, rivers, streams and fewer negative impacts on health

Community energy generation

Community energy projects have an emphasis on local engagement, local leadership and control and the local community benefiting collectively from the outcomes. Community wind power schemes offer local residents the opportunity to benefit from a local turbine installation. Potential benefits may include establishing a community benefit fund for local projects important to the community, owning shares in the turbine and receiving discounted electricity rates. Government funding is available for communities interested in a wind power project.

The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) is a £15 million programme, jointly funded by DEFRA and DECC. It supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects which provide economic and social benefits to the community. The fund provides up to approximately £150,000 of funding for feasibility and pre-planning development work to help projects become investment ready.  More information on the RCEF can be found at http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/rural-community-energy-fund.

 There is also an Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF), which is a £10m fund to kick-start renewable energy generation projects in urban communities across England. Community groups will be able to access grants and loans to support renewable energy developments. More information on the UCEF can be found at https://www.gov.uk/urban-community-energy-fund.