On their way to lectures, the 15,000 students at Spain's University of Murcian are now greeted by nine 5 kW wind turbines which have been turning since April. The university plans to extend the cluster of tiny wind power generators to 20 machines. Once complete, it will produce power equivalent to the average electricity consumption of over 400 students, or nearly 3% of the university's electricity demand. The turbines are mounted on 15 metre lattice towers and come from Windeco, a regional maker of small wind turbines. Production will go directly to the local grid, bringing EUR 65.89 MWh to the university coffers. Windeco reckons the plant will pay for itself in eight to ten years. The first phase cost EUR 0.3 million, with financing by Murcia's regional energy agency, state energy efficiency agency Instituto para la Diversificación y Ahorro de la Energía (IDEA) and Murcia's city hall. The investment includes a step-up transformer and a laboratory to monitor the plant's performance and simulate stand-alone performance. "We also want to show that new small wind power models are a viable alternative. Compared with large turbines, this type of project is better suited to more urbanised areas," says university rector José Ballesta.
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