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Small-scale wind energy on the rise

Wind components establishing a strong foothold in the global market, energy group says.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Small-scale wind energy on the rise
China and the United States lead the word in terms of the installation of small-scale wind energy installations, world wind group says. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

BONN, Germany, March 17 (UPI) -- China and parts of North America lead the market in terms of installation of small-scale wind energy components, the World Wind Energy Association said.

The WWEA released data on the installation of smaller wind-energy units, saying the number increased 8.3 percent at the end of 2014, the last full year for which it has data. That follows a 7.3 percent increase in 2013.

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Five countries -- Canada, China, Germany, Britain and the United States -- represent more than half of the market, though China and the United States combine for more than 70 percent of the global market.

China, whose air pollution levels have exceeded the recommendations outlined by the World Health Organization, this week outlined a five-year economic development plan that aims to embrace low-carbon power alternatives more heavily.

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The WWEA said the Chinese market represents most of the world market in terms of small-scale wind power units, noting the economy got a head start in the sector with a launch in the early 1980s.

The United States, meanwhile, saw its installations decline between 2013 and 2014, though it's "well ahead" of other markets, the association said.

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This week, the U.S. government announced it was opening up about 81,000 acres of federal waters off the coast of New York for potential large-scale wind energy operations. The country has no offshore wind energy components in commercial operations.

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Small-scale components range in size from an average half-kilowatt for China and 1.4 kW for the United States.

For small-scale components, WWEA Secretary-General Stefan Gsanger said they're establishing a foothold in the global electricity market.

"To grow further, the small wind industry needs supportive frameworks," he said in a statement.

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