Skye™ small-wind chief calls for ‘parity’ with large power suppliers

The Skye™ small-wind turbine manufacturer has called on the UK Government to help operators to produce ‘green’ electricity supply from their own while permitting access to the equivalent amount of energy generated by these turbines from the local grid.

Gerry Lalonde, Chief Executive, Orenda Energy Solutions wants to encourage the small-wind industry to leverage a higher share of the wind energy market without being handicapped by rules which often deter prospective small turbine users wishing to be self-sufficient in their energy usage.

He said that small investors, private landowners and farmers need parity with large power suppliers called for a change in legislation’ to harmonise the rules for everyone and promotes fairness for the small-wind turbine owner’.

Orenda manufactures the 49kW Skye™ fully integrated wind turbine system for the rural segment of the small distributed wind industry.

Lalonde is keen to see a time when 100,000 kW hours of green electricity placed onto the grid, by a rurally located small turbine, gives the owner parity to draw the same amount -100,000 kilowatt hours from the grid and not have to pay for it, other than perhaps transportation charges or a management fee.

His blueprint would see a relaxation of supply rules to enable individual private owners, farmers and small businesses siting a turbine within a ‘small wind farm’ in areas of the country that predominantly have high wind speed exposure, irrespective of location.

He explained: “One of the primary concerns facing the small wind energy industry is a geographical one, based purely on supply and demand whereby the supply is not being efficiently matched to that demand.

“For example, current legislation prohibits any ‘green’ energy consumer based, say, on the South Coast of England, to purchase a wind turbine and locate it hundreds of miles away in the North of Scotland. I see no logical reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to export energy to the grid and use the same generated amount of electricity from the grid where they are domiciled?

 “The situation greatly differs for a large utility company that might own a mega-watt wind farm. It may have the resources to become a re-seller. However, for an individual who owns one or two small turbines, this is currently very hard to achieve.

“I know of a company in Liverpool that spends almost £700,000 a year buying electricity. It was planning to specify solar panelling and erect a small wind turbine to giving them a level of self-sufficiency.

“A site inspection revealed, that the location was not viable for a turbine. The street they were located on was mostly residential, so there was little separation distance between them and the residents. Moreover, under test conditions the wind speed on that site was very poor, averaging 5.4 metres per second. For this company, wind energy at this location was simply not viable.

“However, they would be more than happy to rent land in northern Scotland in high wind areas such as Caithness or Grampian and erect three or four turbines where significant wind speeds will bring them a surfeit of electrical power.

“Separation by 400-miles should not be a barrier to adopt wind energy. We need to be more efficient in our use of this power and as it stands.”

16 Oct 2017

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