The joint water boards agreed in 2018 that they want to be energy neutral by 2025. This means that they generate as much energy on their own sites as they consume. To achieve this, they are looking at solar energy, biogas and the opportunities for wind energy.
Many locations have limited space, making large turbines impossible. However, there are also plenty of smaller models on the market, with a capacity of less than 1 MW. However, the knowledge about this within the water boards was very limited, and the opportunities were therefore unclear. That is why the Foundation for Applied Research on Water Management (STOWA) had a study carried out last year into the ‘Opportunities for small wind turbines at the water boards’ to map these opportunities. This research was done by NWEA member RenCom in collaboration with Wing. NWEA also participated in the advisory committee of this research.
Plenty of opportunities for small wind
The research focused on two sides. On the one hand, the study looked at the best possible integration of wind turbines into the landscape. The locations of the water board, such as sewage treatment plants and pumping stations, are often on the edge of the built-up area. Placing a windmill on this site can have a major impact on the environment. For this reason, we looked at the impact of the different types of turbines on the environment and how they can best be integrated. This has resulted in various design principles that can be applied to water boards.
It is also important to complete a business case. Small turbines have relatively higher costs than larger turbines. However, they compensate for this with a smaller grid connection, among other things. They also generally provide enough to make a location energy neutral. With all these principles in mind, a business case has been drawn up for a large number of turbines without making use of subsidies. Opportunities have also emerged here for a number of turbines.
Both parts of the study have been merged in the last part. A quick scan has been made for three locations in windy areas to map out the options for actually installing a wind turbine.
The entire report, including information about the various turbines, can be found in the report ‘Opportunities for small turbines at Water Boards’. You can find it on the sourcepage.