The Business Case for Small Wind Energy

Grattan Healy
MnaG Workshop Presentation
Tullamore Court Hotel
17th May 2013
Objective and scope of ‘Embedding Sustainability’ study
Methods and constraints
Main findings
Action Plan
Objective of Study
(defined as between 500kW and 20MW scale)
Scope of Study
Wind in Ireland - the context
Small scale wind energy - current status
Winds of change - policy and technology developments
Challenges - various obstacles to small scale wind
Opportunity - potential future for small scale wind
Way Forward - supportive policies and actions
Prepared by:
consulting engineers with extensive wind energy experience
(Jennings O’Donovan)
Supported by:
economics consultant (EPEC)
grid consultants (Mullan Grid)
tax specialists (Porter & Co)
Methods and constraints
Summary of Ireland’s energy status, based primarily on
SEAI data
Project financial modelling based on extensive
experience, ranging from 500kW to 50MW
Financial viability comparison
Economic comparison between fossil & wind generation
Qualitative analysis of benefits of small wind energy
Policy analysis, with input from Meitheal na Gaoithe
But, funds not available for full cost benefit analysis
Main findings 1.
Wind is cheaper than fossil in all scenarios
Main findings 2.
Small wind has a natural cost disadvantage
Main findings 3.
But small wind brings natural
technical advantages
Benefits of embedded small wind generation to power system include:
Reduced losses
Deferral of network investment
Smart grid technology
Improved utilisation of existing network capacity
✤ Improved generation control to provide necessary system ancillary
Small wind can provide these benefits in ways large wind farms can’t
Main findings 4.
Small wind also brings natural
economic advantages
The economic benefits of small wind energy projects include:
Additional income to rural landowners
Benefits in kind
Community benefit schemes
New jobs
Indirect sources of income
Local ownership of shares in the project
✤ Potential for community-owned energy projects
findings 5.
The current process
for wind projects is
1. Small wind helps social acceptance, delivers sustainable communities
2. But, current process for wind energy projects is unfit for purpose
3. Grid access is the major source of cost & risk
4. Consequently, it can take 15 years or longer to deliver a wind project
5. Incentives undercut by other measures - curtailment damages REFIT
6. Wind projects have free fuel but high CAPEX, so harder to finance
7. Small wind is half of current capacity and fundamentals are good
8. But it is endangered because of misaligned policy, targets at high risk
Action Plan 1.
1. Transparency of electricity bills to be improved by the CER
2. Planning Forum to be established with input from wind industry
3. Reassess legislation setting thresholds for EIAs for wind farms
4. Finance to adjust EII reliefs for wind projects
5. Discussions with EIB on a specific fund for small wind projects
Action Plan 2.
5. Transpose Article 13, RE Directive to reduce administrative barriers
6. Curtailment and constraint to be compensated fully at REFIT price
7. Three year time limit on grid connection from application, for projects
with planning, where connection financed by its owner
8. Support scheme automatic on achieving planning & grid connection
9. Consistent County Wind Strategy Plans & standardization of scope &
methodologies of environmental studies by all Local Authorities
Report and Annexes fully completed
Limited number of copies printed for policy makers and stakeholders
Launch planned to coincide with Global Wind Day, June 15th
Report and Annexes will be put on Meitheal na Gaoithe website then
Considering ‘Print on Demand’ service, to enable interested parties to
purchase printed version directly online
according to
Calvin Coolidge
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
Thank you
Study and Annexes
will be available soon at: