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small wind

On the occasion of the World Small Wind Conference held during Intersolar Europe in Munich (Germany), WWEA has released the global small wind statistics. The Summary of the 2017 Small Wind World Report indicates that 2015 was one of the most challenging years for the small wind industry in the recent years.

As of the end of 2015, a cumulative total of at least 990’000 small wind turbines were installed all over the world. This is an increase of 5 % (8,3 % in 2014) compared with the previous year, when 945’000 units were registered. It means that worldwide, several million families are getting power from small wind turbines. However, only in Italy, the number of new installations increased during 2015.

 

The recorded small wind capacity installed worldwide has reached more than 945 MW as of the end of 2015. This is a growth of 14 % compared with 2014, when 830 MW were registered. In 2012, 678 MW were installed. China accounts for 43 % of the global capacity, the USA for 25 %, UK for 15 % and Italy for 6,3%.

A downward trend in supporting policies for small wind in the three biggest markets has decreased the number of new installations although the installed capacity was bigger than in the previous year. Smaller markets like Italy or Japan, with more favorable policies, have attracted the industry and became a lifesaver for the sector. Markets like Japan or Australia will become more and more important for small wind manufacturers in the next years.

China continues to be clearly the market leader in terms of installed units: at least 43’000 units were added in 2015, reaching 732’000 units installed by the end of 2015 and accounting for 93 % of the new units installed worldwide.

Stefan Gsänger, WWEA Secretary General: “Small wind can contribute substantially to the power supply in many countries of the world. In particular in hybrid systems and in combination with solar and other renewable technologies, small wind turbines can enable citizens, communities and businesses to produce power at affordable cost, without harming the environment. However, the manufacturing sector requires policies which provide predictable and sizable markets in order to invest and scale up production facilities. If this is given, prices for small wind turbines will decrease further. The small wind sector itself will continue working on improving quality of its products by aiming at harmonizing and simplifying international standards and certification schemes.

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Global cumulative installed capacity of small wind turbines will increase more than fivefold from 912.6 MW in 2014 to 4.8 GW by 2025, at an impressive Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 16.4%, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The company’s latest report states that small wind power capacity, which refers to wind turbines with capacities lower than 100 kilowatts, is expected to grow in European countries including Germany, Spain, Poland, Sweden, and Ukraine, while India and Japan will lead growth in Asia.

Small wind turbines are used to power individual homes, farms and small businesses. They are mounted on freestanding towers and can be installed on properties with as little as one acre of land, using different materials and technologies to large wind turbines, and have the advantage of not requiring huge project financing.

Harshavardhan Reddy Nagatham, GlobalData’s Analyst covering Power, comments: “Small wind turbines are indispensable, and independent of state-sponsored promotions. The end-user cost is the most crucial factor affecting market growth in both developed and developing countries.”

“As energy concerns rise, the small wind turbines will emerge as a cheap and convenient solution to growing anxieties over power supply, and will therefore be in substantial demand.”

While the global market for small wind turbines is set to increase, the US market, which led the world with 37.9% of the global cumulative installed capacity in 2008, will see its share of the market shrink. By 2025, it will command only 20%, behind both China and the UK.

Nagatham explains the shift in market share: “Although the future for small wind looks promising in the US, the market faces particular challenges in the form of the economic crisis, zoning and permitting issues, low public awareness, lack of a federal net-metering program, and certification issues. In China, on the other hand, small wind turbines are a feasible option as the region is replete with remote areas that do not have access to the grid. As such, installing these turbines for the purpose of powering homes and businesses is more readily considered.”

GlobalData forecasts that China will lead the world in cumulative installed capacity for small wind turbines with 1.84 GW by 2025, while the UK will be second with an estimated 1 GW.

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On 26th June the Platform for Distributed Generation & Energy Self-Consumption held a press conference in Madrid, in which it explained its point of view on self-consumption with net balance regulation, and the need for regulation that really benefits not only consumers, enabling them to save on their energy bill, but also industries, enabling them to improve competitivity.


According to the Platform, the development of a distributed generating market, focusing on saving and efficiency, would create employment, promote technological development, help to reach environmental goals, avoid the need for energy imports and allow a good section of the renewables sector to survive, particularly that part of it involved with PV and mini-wind energies.

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