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United States

A slot for small wind

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While small wind issues tend to be dwarfed by discussion of the challenges facing their larger cousins, organisers of the Windpower 2005 conference singled out the sector for some special attention.

A Small Wind Pavilion -- a first for an American Wind Energy Association event -- was "quite a success," says AWEA's Stephen Miner, with seven small wind turbine exhibitors in the pavilion and a handful of companies on the main floor.

On the first day of the conference, the association unveiled the results of a market study revealing that business is brisk in small wind turbine sales -- and the business has the potential to grow significantly. The study forecasts sales of nearly 13,000 small turbines in 2005, totalling about 14 MW of installed capacity. It also found growth targets of 18-21% are possible over the next five years with the right policies in place. But it also pointed out that government support at the residential market level tends to favour photovoltaics over wind. Cost continues to be an issue, with manufacturers aiming to reduce small turbine prices 20% to $1700 per installed kW by 2010.

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