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    The crisis boosts mini-wind energy as an affordable and clean alternative to reduce electricity bills


    September 7, 2022 - CE Noticias Financieras

     

      The energy crisis that has sent electricity prices soaring is boosting small wind power as an affordable alternative for families, communities and small businesses to reduce their electricity bills with a clean source that also contributes to combating climate change.

      The small wind turbines and turbines that transform wind power into electricity are sold at affordable prices, even on the Internet, are easy to install and if they are below 10 kilowatt hours (kwh) of power, the legal and administrative obstacles to connect them to the grid are not difficult to overcome. In addition, it is possible to negotiate with the electricity companies to sell surplus energy that is not consumed.

      "There is a good opportunity for any self-consumption system," says Ignacio Cruz, head of the Wind Energy Unit of the Energy Department of the Energy, Environmental and Technological Research Center (CIEMAT) of the Ministry of Science and Innovation. Cruz points out that although the most widely used form of energy self-sufficiency has been photovoltaic solar energy, mini-wind technology "has advanced a lot and today offers very satisfactory yields".

      Mini-wind power is legally defined in Spain as energy that comes from generators with a power of less than 100 kWh, with windmills whose swept area does not exceed 200 square meters. A much smaller generator of only 5 kWh that operates four hours a day, that is, about 1,500 hours a year, could cover the needs of an average home.

      In communities such as Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and Euskadi, which have the fewest hours of sunshine in Spain, wind turbines are offered as an alternative to the lower performance of solar panels. Although Ignacio Cruz warns that they work "with lower regimes than the large wind industry". "They affect turbulence, trees, the houses themselves.... It is very important to analyze it well because wind has much more local characteristics," he says.

      In the communities where the wind boom has filled the mountains with large windmills, a strong social protest has developed. The mega wind farms with generators hundreds of meters high have an enormous impact on ecosystems and natural and landscape resources, hardly create jobs at local level, cause serious inconvenience to those who must cohabit with them and, moreover, have not served to reduce the price of electricity, but have multiplied the profits of the companies that exploit them.

      The truth is that the energy crisis and inflation, together with the Spanish model of energy price formation, are causing an enormous transfer of income from family economies and small businesses to the large electricity industry. The three largest companies alone, Iberdrola, Endesa and Naturgy, earned 3,548 million euros in net profits in the first six months of this year. Almost two hundred euros for every household in the country and 25% more than in the same period last year.

      More than 23.3% of Spain's energy demand is already covered by large wind power, which is sold at the highest price despite the fact that its production is much cheaper than electricity from fossil fuels. In this pie, small wind power hardly counts for anything.

      According to Appa, the Association of Renewable Energy Companies, the small wind energy sector has been growing steadily in recent years with a contribution of 25.5 million euros to the gross domestic product in 2020. However, Appa attributes the risk of stagnation to the sector's lack of its own regulatory framework.

      "The energy obtained with these small wind turbines tends to cover mainly domestic needs and reduce the electricity bill considerably, although it can also power irrigation systems,

      surveillance on roads, for lighting urban roads, etc.," says Appa, which adds that mini wind power can be "one of the pillars

      of self-consumption and distributed generation, both separately and in hybrid installations with photovoltaic".

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