“Size isn’t everything” for wind turbine design
“Size isn’t everything” proves new small-scale wind turbine design set to revolutionise the renewable energy market.
Wind power generation is a flourishing sector. Many countries now rely on wind for more than 10% of their electricity, Denmark being the most advanced (43% in 2017). At the end of 2017, there were 539GW of wind power capacity installed in the world, up 11% compared to 2016 and up almost 70% compared to just four years ago. In the UK, progress is also rapid, with a share of almost 20% in the last quarter of 2017.
However, the trajectory has been towards ever-larger turbines generating ever-more power, leading to ever-lower cost of electricity. This, combined with the economy of scale motive (the bigger the turbine, the lower unit costs in construction and installation) has essentially drawn the whole market away from exploring smaller, more versatile solutions. Worldwide, around $100 billion is spent annually installing large utility scale wind turbines of over 1MW. Indeed, EDF has just announced its plans to build the UK’s tallest onshore wind turbine on the Isle of Lewis, causing an outcry among many local people who would want to see the island’s wind resource harnessed by smaller community-owned turbines.
And yet, so far, small-scale wind turbines (ranging in size from 0-20 meters and with power ratings of up to 50kW) have gained no real traction, leaving a multi-billion-dollar potential opportunity untapped. According to the 2017 Small Wind World Report, small onshore wind accounts for only a tiny 1GW of installed capacity. This is because no one had yet come up with a widely accepted wind turbine solution which is small, cost effective and user friendly – ultimately a design which will do for local wind energy generation what photovoltaic panels have done for solar energy.
That was until Spinetic Energy launched its new concept, the Wind Panel, a new technical approach to make community wind energy ultra-simple, modular, scalable and easy to install. These panels can then serve as the building blocks from which a community scale wind farm can be constructed, of a size and configuration to suit the size and power requirements of each site. Individual panels will be linked together to form a ‘Wind Fence’, easily achieved as the panels are demountable and can thus be carried in sections for assembly on site, or alternatively can be transported fully populated with turbines and generators.
Initially, Spinetic is targeting emerging markets in the developing world, where those with electricity want to use more of it, and the billions without electricity want to get connected. In developing countries, the electric grid often has limited coverage which has led to large investment in ‘off grid’ and ‘grid-edge’ electricity systems, but most of these are populated by generators burning diesel at under 300 kW supply. Spinetic’s new Wind Panels will not only help to reduce carbon emissions, but also to save costs in these emerging markets.
This ground-breaking, patented solution has attracted much interest from investors and has, earlier this month, secured the backing of Green Angel Syndicate, the only angel syndicate in the UK specialising in green investments.
Our research showed that no company worldwide has come close to achieving what Spinetic has done over their last five years of product development. There is a huge market opportunity to replace environmentally damaging diesel generators with Wind Fences and we are delighted to be supporting them.”
Simon Acland, Green Angel Syndicate Director
We are delighted to have attracted such knowledgeable specialist investors to join our existing angels and institutional shareholders IP Group and Lark. We passed the tough Green Angel Syndicate due diligence process with flying colours, which in itself provides a powerful validation for our plans. GAS has already begun to add value to our business by making valuable commercial introductions.”
Nick Goddard, Spinetic SFO
This article was featured by Edie.net in their recent post “Sunken data centres and ‘sexy’ plants: the best green innovations of the week.”