French specialist wind turbine manufacturer Vergnet is no stranger to finding innovative solutions for providing electricity in remote locations. In 2007, the company inaugurated a wind-diesel station at Coral Bay in an isolated and cyclone-prone corner of Western Australia. Three of Vergnet's GEV MP 275 kW units are coupled to seven low-load diesel units of 320 kVA each. A fly-wheel stores energy and also acts as a buffer. Overall, the wind turbines generate 70% of the community's electricity and the diesel units 30%. Wind penetration reaches up to 90% in periods. While the system allows considerable savings in fuel costs and wear and tear on the diesel generators, it is still very expensive technology, says company founder Marc Vergnet. Having shown it is possible for wind to supply the majority of electricity on a grid, he now wants to develop the idea further -- and make it more affordable.
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