Global study hails UK potential for small wind sector

by Published Fri 01 May 2009 15:48, Last updated: 2009-05-01
UK is the world’s biggest exporter of turbines

A global study released by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) today, flagged up significant international growth in demand for small wind technology.

Last week, the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) released their own figures that revealed the UK is the world’s biggest exporter of turbines in the sub 50kW division, last year deploying 4.7MW in international markets.

The study’s author Ron Stimmel of AWEA said: "The UK currently exports more small wind systems than any other country in the world and has a great potential domestic market.

“In the US, the world’s largest small-wind market, 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. With the right policies, the UK market could see similar growth."

UK manufacturers currently hold an 82% revenue share of the UK market and export 50% of their output to over 100 countries worldwide. Benefiting from a weak British pound, 2008 export revenues for UK companies doubled and in the same year the sector created 500 new UK based jobs.

The AWEA Small Wind Turbine Global Market Study commented: “The cleantech economy sector in general has been relatively strong throughout the global recession and credit crisis, and small wind is no exception. Even amidst the downturn, economies of scale are beginning to take shape in the industry and growth projections are the strongest in the industry’s 80-year history” .

Alex Murley, BWEA Small System Manager, said: “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. If the UK marketplace is supported now, this promising UK sector could supply fast expanding global markets for decades to come.”

Since 2005, over 10,000 small systems have been deployed in the UK, equating to over 20MW of installed electrical capacity. In total, this growing industry now provides 1,880 UK based jobs.

Leonard McGrill, Chairman of Iskra Wind Turbines: “We hope that unlike big wind, the UK’s early technical lead will result in sustainable long term success, and the Government should further expand support to this potentially very big industry.”

David Sharman, Director of Ampair, added: “It would be helpful if the UK followed through on current successes with a strong feed-in tariff for small wind and a predictable planning system, to consolidate UK leadership in small wind manufacturing.”

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