Interviews

Mini and micro Together for wind power in harmony with nature


L'wind power, that mini and micro, is a market still with small numbers in Italy but Together undertakes to promote the use of these sources. On the one hand, there is no experience of builders, installers and plant maintainers, on the other there are excessive bureaucracy, technical connection problems and high operating costs, especially for microturbines. Alessandro Giubilo, di Assieme, talks about their commitment to recover the great difference we have with historically more advanced nations, such as the United Kingdom.

1) When was your association born and for what purpose?

Together was born in June 2011 to promote the use of the source micro and mini wind, in a balanced relationship between settlements and nature, and to support research and technological development aimed atuse of the wind resource and torational use of energy. Our main activities are the collection, processing and dissemination of any information useful for the knowledge of issues related to the use of micro and mini wind source, and the management of relations with public institutions to represent the needs of our members. We are also committed to fostering cultural and technical exchanges between members. He engages in creating one evaluation standards of micro and mini wind generators.

2) Mini and micro wind sources: what are they? In terms of impact on the landscape?

In Italy, in general, we define micro as machines between 0 and 5 kW and mini as those between 6 and 200 kW with a further restrictive upper limit linked to procedures and incentives of 60 kW. There classification between micro and mini windHowever, it is very generic and there is no international regulation that exactly defines these thresholds, there are indications that are not universally recognized.

The impact on the landscape of machines within 20kW is almost zero, corresponding to the classic mechanical wind turbines for pumping water practically everywhere in the landscape of our countryside. For machines larger than the limit of 60kW, of course, the impact is higher but still limited compared to large wind turbines of 90 m and more.

3) How many realities adhere to your association today? How has the sector been performing over the past 10 years?

We currently have 32 associates including manufacturers, distributors and EPCs, including a small representation of designers, we expect other non-associated manufacturers to join in the coming years. The market over the past 10 years has been essentially flat and crushed by competition from photovoltaic which offers undoubted advantages in terms of practicality and ease of use. Only about 21 MW of plants in the 250 kW range have been installed, but many of these have been connected in the last 3 years. With the new all-inclusive tariff, we should still connect at least 10-20 MW per year for the next 3 years, making up for the big difference we have with historically more advanced nations than us, such as the United Kingdom.

4) What are the major problems related to the use of micro and mini wind sources today?

I believe that the technical problems are strictly connected to the lack of experience on the part of relatively young builders and above all of installers and plant maintainers who need a period of apprenticeship to get to know the machines thoroughly. If, on the other hand, system criticalities are meant, these are attributable to excessive bureaucracy, even if not homogeneous between region and region, to the almost total lack of credit on the part of banks, to technical connection problems and to high management costs, especially for microturbines.

5) What are the prejudices and commonplaces to dispel?

The prejudices are those related to the low reliability of the machines and the low producibility due to numerous past installations of prototypes or relatively new and little tested products. For public bodies the main problem is that of untying the concept of large wind power from small wind power reason that prevents its spread. Unfortunately, we often come across characters who do not understand the difference between a 15-meter and a 90-meter machine and tend to reject any project that bears the name of wind power.

6) What relationship do you have with public institutions? What requests do you make of them to enhance your sector?

We are among the founders of coordination FREE (Coordination of Renewable Sources and Energy Efficiency) which deals with interfacing with the Government all the sector associations, in particular as far as it contributes to development of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency within the framework of an environmentally sustainable economic model, the decarbonisation of the economy and the cutting of climate-altering emissions. The requests we address to the Government are the bureaucratic simplification and uniformity of behavior of the various administrations, the reduction of the fixed costs of managing the meters for micro-wind machines at least within 6 kW, the total liberalization of the grid connection below 1 kW, the official recognition, through a declaration of the revenue agency, of the IRPEF deduction also for micro and mini wind, the equalization of the taxation of agricultural companies with respect to photovoltaics, the elimination of ICI for all mini wind machines, the facilitation access to the connection.

7) Why is an evaluation standard for micro and mini wind generators necessary?

It is necessary to better target customers and investors. The wind farms have the characteristic of producing their own power in relation to wind speed, consequently, the first step to simplify the various technical data sheets would be to set a given wind speed for all the machines and univocally identify the nominal power on this. The second step would be the certification of the machines by a third party in order to be reasonably certain that with correct data of average windiness the machine produces exactly what is specified in the manufacturer's data sheet. It could then, as already happens in many countries of the world, extend the certification to include safety and durability factors of the machines. The problem that in a market with small numbers like ours, these operations would weigh on the purchase cost of the machine and consequently on the final customer making the operation uneconomical unless you have a product capable of competing globally, as happens in particular with some European and American products present in Italy.

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