In a joint endeavour to help meet the UK’s ambitious renewables commitment, Glasgow based measurement and testing specialist, TUV NEL, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), announced a major new initiative that will assist the growth of the UK’s wind energy industry.
As the UK, particularly Scotland, is faced with some very challenging targets in terms of reducing greenhouse gases and the uptake of new and renewable energy technologies, TUV NEL’s new initiative, supported by DECC, will see the expansion of the company’s Myres Hill wind turbine test site. The latest funding for £750k will help support the development of 10 new test pads at Myres Hill test site for public use by industry, certification and test organisations.
In addition, TUV NEL will also carry out a DECC sponsored research and development project to investigate some of the issues surrounding the implementation of the standards established under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), which was introduced in 2006 to verify the performance, reliability, and safety of wind turbines.
Talking of the new R&D project, Alistair Mackinnon of TUV NEL said that significant efforts were required to perform the testing necessary to comply with the MCS standards. It was proving to be a challenge to undertake this testing at a cost that was acceptable to the small wind industry. In view of this, DECC has sponsored a R&D project, which is aimed at exploring the potential for streamlining the certification process and identifying improvements that can be made to the overall process of achieving MCS certification for small wind turbines.
“This project should lead to the development of a more cost effective MCS testing and certification process that reduces the costs for manufacturers of small wind turbines and lowers the perceived barriers of certification,” explained Alistair.
Other benefits of the project include more appropriate test standards and improved test procedures. Small wind turbine users will also benefit from improved confidence in product yield data, durability and safety.
TUV NEL will work in collaboration with NaREC, BRE Global and British Board of Agrément, as well as with a number of manufacturers, test laboratories and certification bodies to administer this project. The aim is to focus on the complete MCS process, from product testing through to final product certification. While most of the product testing will be undertaken at TUV NEL’s Myres Hill wind turbine test facility, where possible, the project will embrace the other routes by which manufacturers can demonstrate compliance with the relevant standards.
Alistair said, “We are pleased to be supporting this new government initiative, which will encourage the uptake of some of these newer types of microgeneration devices, including small and micro wind technologies. As the low carbon revolution is already upon us, it is vital that we all shift to a more sustainable use of what resources are available. TUV NEL’s aim is to further aid manufacturers and installers of small wind turbines to harness this plentiful energy source, and help the UK to maintain its drive to reduce carbon emissions.”
Alex Murley, head of small-systems at RenewableUK (formerly BWEA) said: “Following over two years of communicating the importance of industry standards, appropriate infrastructure, and the need to support indigenous small wind manufacturing, RenewableUK is delighted to welcome recent government announcements on small wind testing.
The UK leads the world in small wind system manufacturing, and the development of robust industry standards. Together with the imminent launch of new financial incentives, the new DECC funding for small wind testing will usher in a new dawn of technological maturity and sustainable market growth, and help consolidate the UK industrial leadership.”
To date, TUV NEL has made significant technical contributions to the development of renewable energy technologies, including the standards development. In August 2009, the company became the first UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accredited ISO 17025 organisation to test and certify small wind turbine manufacturers under the MCS.