Small and medium wind turbine installations in the UK had a total generating capacity of more than 102MW at the end of 2012, representing an increase of 21% compared to 2011, according to renewable energy trade association RenewableUK.
In its report titled, 'Small and Medium Wind Market Report 2013', RenewableUK observed an all-time high in the rate of turbine installations across all scales of the small and medium wind sector in 2012.
In 2012, the deployed capacity grew by 71% to 37.52MW from 3,743 turbines, up from 21.92MW from 3,086 turbines at the end of 2011, according to the report.
Of the various size bands, the 15kW-100kW bracket has witnessed the biggest growth (more than doubled compared to 2011) and the 1.5kW-15kW and 100kW-500kW bands saw a significant growth in the number of deployed units, with growth rates of 39% and 56% respectively.
The country has deployed around 23,597 small and medium wind turbines with a cumulative capacity of 102.3MW and around 24,939 units were exported by UK manufacturers during the period between 2005 and 2012, the report claims.
According to the report, the increase in deployment in small and medium wind turbines is due to the increase in demand for clean and affordable energy and feed-in tariff (FiT) support. Most of the turbines were installed on farms and domestic properties that would boost the rural economy.
RenewableUK chief executive Maria McCaffery said that as the UK comprises about 20% rural population, it is important for the government to find ways of powering the rural economy, and wind power is significantly contributing to such economy.
"This technology brings over £100m into the rural economy and in the past couple of years we have seen the market almost double in size," said McCaffery.
However, the report reckoned that the UK Government's December 2012 decision to further cut the level of FiT support, alongside the amalgamation of all turbines under 100kW into the same level of FiT bracket, will jeopardise the future growth.
The report anticipates that FiT degression rates, along with increasing difficulties in approval procedure, is likely to lead to a market contraction of around 8% in 2013.
Image: Small and medium wind energy in the UK boosts the rural economy. Photo: courtesy of RenewableUK.