The Viability of Small-Scale Wind Turbines for Domestic Use in South East Queensland

Regan, Darryl (2019) The Viability of Small-Scale Wind Turbines for Domestic Use in South East Queensland. [USQ Project]

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Power prices have increased in Queensland by over 136% in 10 years. Roof top solar has been one answer to reducing energy costs, another option could be wind power. Wind power is also an abundant, renewable and clean energy source however, Australia lags other developing nations in wind power generation. To date, wind power has been the domain of large scale energy producers while smaller scale wind turbines (SSWTs) are significantly underrepresented. Wind power for domestic use has been largely unexplored and further research may unlock its full potential. Therefore, the aim of this research is to theoretically establish if SSWTs can be a viable renewable energy source and compete with photovoltaic systems for domestic applications.

To ascertain the potential of wind power, five SSWTs were selected to operate on three South East Queensland locations, one coastal, one city and a rural site. Wind data was sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology and together with the power curves for each SSWT, power outputs were calculated using a MATLAB program. This data is compared to a photovoltaic system for power generation, savings in electricity, purchase and installation costs plus life operability and warranty. The turbines are ranked and a pay-back period for each turbine calculated and feasibility established.

Results indicated that turbines located in a coastal area can eclipse solar. Two wind turbines out performed the solar system, one by more than 57%. However, these results were not reproduced further inland. For the city and rural sites the winds were not consistent enough to produce a reliable source of power and lagged behind solar. When comparing costs SSWTs had significantly higher purchase and installation costs than solar, resulting in a payback period, with one exception, that is outside the operational life of the turbine and therefore considered unacceptable. One turbine was considered a viable option, it substantially outperformed the other wind turbines and solar system and had the lowest purchase cost.

Despite these findings, wind power still has a place in the renewable energy sector for domestic applications. Generating power from wind, especially on the coast, has the potential to be a 24 hour a day operation, unlike photovoltaic systems which are restricted to the daylight hours. Generating power outside the peak solar production hours can have additional benefits for users and the national power network.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Bowtell, Les
Qualification: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Power)
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2021 00:34
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2023 23:05

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