Economics of Small Wind Power Plants in Urban Settings: An Empirical Investigation for Germany
FCN Working Paper No. 1/2013
41 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2013
Date Written: January 1, 2013
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.
Keywords: small wind turbine, energy storage, urban environment, feed-in tariffs
JEL Classification: Q42, Q48, O18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation