Wind power empowers rural community for over 20 years

8 August 2017 Kingspan Group

Back in the early 1990s, The Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic was a very different place. The situation was unsustainable.

At the time, residents on the islands relied solely on diesel generators for power as there was no grid network available to them. With a population of just over 2,900 people and a land mass covering 4,700 square miles, the situation was becoming problematic.

The cost of transporting the diesel to fuel the islands was unsustainable. It was also damaging to the sensitive environment there. The rural lifestyle of those living on the islands was under threat.

In March 1996, an initiative to support the uptake of off-grid renewable energy on the islands was launched.
The Falkland Islands Development Corporation (FIDC) had a vision to introduce renewable energy to support the local community’s economic growth. But more importantly, it wanted to ensure rural life on the islands could continue.
The potential for harnessing ‘small scale’ wind power was realised with a 50% grant made available through the FIDC. Today, 85% of the rural population has 24-hour power thanks to Kingspan Small Wind Turbines.
Initially, a number of turbine manufacturers were tried for the project, but many of them weren’t able to withstand the harsh weather conditions on the islands.
After a 12-month pilot trial, FIDC opted for a reliable, robust and easily maintainable wind turbine - the Kingspan KW3.
The Kingspan KW3 is a downwind turbine that doesn’t need to shut down in high winds. These are available on tower heights from 6m to 20m.

Reflecting on the project’s success, General Manager of Kingspan Wind, Richard Caldow, said: “We have been manufacturing off-grid systems for many years and are proud our turbines are now entering their third decade of operation.
Funding is critical to supporting rural life within these remote areas and our success in the Falklands is a great example of what can be achieved with small wind and rural electrification.
“Funding is critical to supporting rural life within these remote areas and our success in the Falklands is a great example of what can be achieved with small wind and rural electrification,” he added.
21 years on from the first installation, Kingspan Wind continues to supply the Falkland Islands with turbine systems. These systems have integrated multiple 6kW turbines and make use of battery storage. Though a diesel generator is still there for back-up, in case of very rare occasions when the wind doesn’t blow.
With over 130 turbines on the islands, Kingspan has what is believed to be the largest off-grid turbine fleet in the world. Kingspan Wind has been a market leader in off-grid energy solutions since 1989.
The company has over 5,000 global installations, which can be found everywhere from offshore platforms in the North Sea to research stations in Antarctica.
Kingspan turbines can be supplied as either stand alone, hybrid or mini-grid systems. To find out more about Kingspan Environmental and its products click here.

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