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Windpower Energy Use – export or local use?

Windpower Energy Use - Export or Local Use?

Energy – Export or Local Use?

How do you consider windpower energy use? If a wind turbine is close to a large energy consumer it may be possible to supply power direct using a ‘private wire’. This has the advantage of being able to sell the electricity generated for a higher price than can normally be achieved if exporting direct to the grid.

Normally what happens is that you work out how much you could get for the electricity generated if it was exported to the grid, and then the large consumer finds out the cheapest price they could pay for buying electricity, then you agree a price somewhere in between the two. This means you get more for the electricity you generate and the large energy consumer gets electricity cheaper than they would otherwise pay. Such agreements are normally put into a proper legal agreement because this needs to be a long-term relationship because the cabling and switchgear can be quite expensive.

This set-up often has the additional advantage of a lower-cost grid connection because the large energy consumer normally already has a strong grid connection that requires no upgrades. Note that it is not a problem if the wind turbine cannot supply all of the consumer’s loads – the deficit would be seamlessly imported from the grid. Similarly if the wind turbine was not operating for any reason, the consumer would just get their electricity from the grid. If the consumer was shut down (at Christmas for example) the electricity would just be exported to the grid through their grid connection. Electricity just flows like water to the nearest load, so there are no switches that need throwing to achieve this – it all happens seamlessly and invisibly! There are more details on this kind of set-up in the Wind Learning Centre.

If you can’t supply electricity to a local consumer don’t worry – most sites can’t – you’ll just need to get a ‘Power Purchase Agreement’ and sell all of the electricity to the grid.

Also note it isn’t really possible to supply power to multiple-consumers (a village for example) because the metering and administrative burden would be huge. Also there are complications with the electricity supply regulations that would be impossible to overcome for a reasonable cost. The Government is looking into ways of making local supply simpler, so this may change in the future.

Want to install a wind turbine?

If you are in the UK then take our Wind Site Self-Assessment - Step 1 of our modular Windpower Feasibility Study. It takes about 20 minutes to work through the basic checks to see if your site might be suitable, including:

  • Estimating wind speed
  • Checking proximity of nearby properties
  • Checking site access and approach roads
  • Investigating connection with the grid

If you are in the Republic of Ireland, or overseas, the first step is to consider our modular Windpower Feasibility Study, so please Contact us to discuss your site further.

Start the process here: Take the Wind Site Self-Assessment