Study highlights U.K. farmers’ need for small wind energy as price hedge

It’s as true in the U.K. as it is in the U.S.  It’s also just as true about small wind as it is about the utility-scale segment of the industry: clean, affordable wind power provides a hedge against notoriously volatile fossil-fuel prices.

Gaia-Wind, a leading U.K. small wind turbine manufacturer (and AWEA member), recently highlighted a Barclays Bank study revealing that U.K. farmers, increasingly worried about the rising cost of energy, are turning to distributed wind systems in order to protect themselves against those increases. Almost a third (31 percent) expect a move towards renewables to reduce their business costs. (One of the great stories about the U.S.-based small-wind industry, incidentally, is its growing track record of exporting made-in-the-USA products to places like the U.K., considered the top small wind market.)

Gaia-Wind obviously understands there’s a market need to be met. According to the Barclays research, it notes, over one quarter of farmers see rising costs as the single biggest threat to their business.

Of course, distributed wind does not always refer to small wind. Increasingly, heavy industry is turning to wind power to help manage its giant energy bills, in this case right here in the U.S.

But small wind, too, has the same proportionate impact on consumer bills. Discussing one of its U.K. customers’ installations, Gaia observes, “In addition to tariff payments, the turbine provides energy security and a hedge against ever-increasing energy bills.”

Energy security. Sound familiar? On this side of the Atlantic, wind power supporters often reference that term in explaining wind power’s benefits. Increasingly, utilities in every region of the U.S. are finding that wind power allows them to keep electricity rates low.

So whether we’re talking about the U.S. or the U.K., utility-scale wind or distributed wind, the benefit is the same: wind power protects electricity consumers against rising prices.

By Carl Levesque,