Medium-range wind turbines, thanks to their technical characteristics, can be easily integrated in different renewable energy generation, self-consumption and distributed generation projects, provided there is optimal wind resource. This kind of wind turbines are under 100 kW and can operate on-grid, in weak grids, in off-grid systems, as part of a microgrid or smart grid or in hybrid systems together with other technologies such as PV, biogas, gensets with or without energy storage systems, etc.
Norvento develops and manufactures its own 100 kW medium-range wind turbine, nED100. It integrates state-of-the-art wind power technology and has been especially designed to adapt to the specific requirements of distributed generation. There are several possible applications where this technology can fit:
nED100 can be installed in any company with high electrical demand: farms, mines, EVs charging stations, hotels, industries, shopping centres, schools, etc. The generation of part of their own energy allow them to diversify their income and reduce their electrical bills, improve the efficiency and competitiveness ratios of their products or services and improve their corporate image.
Industrial estates are the ideal areas to promote the energy transition and distributed generation as large energy consumers are usually located there. Wind turbines such as nED100, thanks to its advanced control and regulation system, allow them to mitigate the system’s saturation when there is an increasing demand of electrical energy. Their integration in areas with a high industrial activity usually has a lower environmental impact, reduces energy costs, favours industrial competitiveness, sustainability and energy independence. Moreover, it promotes circular economy as all available resources are used and local and participative development.
These locations usually have no access to the electrical grid or they just have access to weak and expensive grids; so, they generally depend on fossil fuels. Most of the energy needs come from small settlements or industries in developing countries, islands or isolated regions in developed regions. Their difficult access and low availability of machinery to carry out projects imply the use of technologies that are easy to assembly and maintain to improve the project’s feasibility. In this regard, Norvento is involved in an R&D project, together with other companies, to develop solutions to implement renewable energy in regions with no logistic means. Among these solutions, a self-raising lattice system has been developed to raise all the parts of the nED100 wind turbine without using cranes for its installation.
Solutions such as nED100 allow these regions with underdeveloped electrical infrastructures to have access to electrical energy as they are easily to instal and maintain and has been designed to work in extreme weather −temperatures ranging from -10ºC to 40ºC, wind gusts up to 52.2 – 59.5 m/s and moisture levels ≤ 95%―. Thanks to its design and technical characteristics it can improve the quality and safety of the electrical supply as it reinforces and stabilizes the grid −black start and low voltage ride through−. On the other hand, its configuration, without gearbox nor hydraulic systems, minimizes its maintenance, which has a positive impact in the operational costs of the project.
The integration of this technology contributes to reduce the cost of the energy they consume −mainly diesel−, increase its energy independence, provides reliable and safe energy and environmental benefits.
Public bodies are key in this transition towards a distributed model as they have the power to promote the use and implementation of new renewable generation technologies. On one hand, by developing energy policies and public incentives to favour this kind of technology and, also, directly integrating them in public projects. So, they can also increase public awareness and support local energy communities where medium-range wind energy can play a key role thanks to its adaptability, production levels and technical characteristics.
Among the different public bodies we should mention ports as they usually provide services to multiple consumers and have a high energy demand −cranes, refrigerated containers, lighting, etc.−. Generally, ports have a great potential to develop wind renewable projects as they usually have space availability, flat terrain, low wind shear, constant wind speed and low turbulences. Shoreham port can be an example. Thanks to the two nED100 wind turbines Norvento has installed there, they have been able to increase their revenue, reduce CO2 emissions and compensate voltage drops, as nED100 power electronics has LVRT.
Any measure to promote this kind of electrical generation will have a direct impact in the modernisation and diversification of a country’s economic structure, in its sustainable development, in the improvement of its energy efficiency ratios, in the reduction of GHG emissions and diversification of energy sources.
The transition has just started, there is a long road ahead. The advantages of small and medium-range wind energy are obvious, but institutions should support this kind of technologies with incentives to investment of financing lines that allow them to take off.