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Economics of Small Wind Power Plants in Urban Settings: An Empirical Investigation for Germany

  • Grieser, Benno

    ()

    (RWTH Aachen University)

  • Madlener, Reinhard

    ()

    (E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN))

  • Sunak, Yasin

    ()

    (E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN))

In this paper we investigate the location-specific attractiveness of small wind turbines (SWT) for private households. In order to assess the economic viability of an investment in SWT, we analyze a set of scenarios that incorporate different types of SWT, various storage system options, support schemes, and specific urban surroundings for the case of Germany. As urban structures substantially influence local wind speeds, and hence the potential energy yield of a turbine, the potential location of the SWT in the urban area is crucial for the economic feasibility. We find that SWT today are only profitable under very favorable conditions, the most important parameters being prevailing wind speeds and the location’s degree of urbanization. In most cases, the coupling of the SWT to a storage system is crucial for cost-effectiveness. A feed-in tariff system specifically adapted to the SWT technology is found to be an important driver of diffusion. Further research needs are identified in the field of long-term performance and yield projections for SWT. Based on the findings from our study, significant SWT diffusion can be expected, if at all, only in coastal suburban and rural areas.

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Paper provided by E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN) in its series FCN Working Papers with number 1/2013.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ris:fcnwpa:2013_001
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  1. Ross, S.J. & McHenry, M.P. & Whale, J., 2012. "The impact of state feed-in tariffs and federal tradable quota support policies on grid-connected small wind turbine installed capacity in Australia," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 141-147.
  2. Anselm Mattes, 2012. "Grüner Strom: Verbraucher sind bereit, für Investitionen in erneuerbare Energien zu zahlen," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 79(7), pages 2-9.
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