UK a big fish in small wind pond

Posted on 8 May 2009 by The Manufacturer

An American study has pointed to the UK as one of the leading global regions in the small wind technology sector.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said in its Small Wind Turbine Global Market Study report that the British domestic market is set to benefit strongly in the coming years from its strong manufacturing base coupled with government’s recent call to arms and financial provision for renewables in the 2009 Budget.

“In the US the federal government recently enacted a long-term financial incentive for small wind turbine consumers that could bring a 30-fold growth to the US industry in as little as five years,” said the report’s author, Ron Stimmel. “With the right policies, the UK market could see similar growth.”

Small wind technology is classed as turbines that produce under 50KW of energy. While Britain is lagging behind in the larger category, in this one it is flourishing.

The British Wind Energy Association’s own figures, released last week, recognised the UK as the world’s biggest exporter of turbines in the division, last year deploying 4.7MW in international markets.

UK exporters have seen their revenues double in the last year because of stronger demand and the weakened pound, according to BWEA. British small wind technology companies now supply 82% of the home market and send 50% of their wares abroad, to over 100 countries.

“In the context of the current economic climate, record falls in UK manufacturing output, and challenging times for the UK green agenda, this news represents a glowing success story for a vibrant world leading UK manufacturing industry,” said Alex Murley, BWEA Small System Manager.

“If the UK marketplace is supported now, this promising UK sector could supply fast expanding global markets for decades to come.”

There are currently 1,880 British workers employed in the small wind technology industry.