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The cost of energy associated with micro wind generation: International case studies of rural and urban installations

Sunderland, Keith M., Narayana, Mahinsasa, Putrus, Ghanim, Conlon, Michael F., McDonald, Steve
Energy 2016 v.109 pp. 818-829
air flow, case studies, decision making, economic incentives, economic sustainability, electricity generation, landscapes, rural areas, tariffs, turbulent flow, urban areas, viability, wind direction, wind power, wind speed, wind turbines, Ireland, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom
National targets for increased renewable energy are common-place internationally and small/micro-generation may help achieve such goals. Energy yields from such technologies however, are very location and site specific. In rural environments, the average wind speed is relatively high and the homogeneous landscape promotes laminar air flow and stable (relatively) wind direction. In urban environments however, the wind resource has lower mean wind speeds and increased levels of atmospheric turbulence due to heterogeneous surface forms. This paper discusses the associated costs per unit of electricity generated by micro wind energy conversion systems from the perspective of both urban and rural locations, with three case studies that consider the potential and financial viability for such systems. The case studies ascertain the cost of energy associated with a standard HAWT (horizontal axis wind turbine), in terms of exemplar rural and urban locations. Sri Lanka, Ireland and the UK, are prioritised as countries that have progressive, conservative and ambitious goals respectively towards the integration of micro-generation. LCOE (Levelized cost of energy) analyses in this regard, offers a contextualised viability assessment that is applicable in decision making relating to economic incentive application or in the determination of suitable feed-in tariff rates.