On April 15th, people from all around the world came together in Vienna at the International Small Wind Conference. It took place at the Technikum university of applied sciences. There were experts from several parts of the small wind industry, companies, researchers and NGOs. I went to the conference to represent WindEmpowerment and my own project PureSelfMade. It turned out that I was actually the only person working with locally built, do-it-yourself wind turbines. But anyway, I met people who knew about Hugh Piggott and his design, one man has actually visited Hugh’s home, the Scoraig peninsula in the northwest of Scotland! We discussed issues from the socio-economic side, such as market assessment, funding, feed-in tariffs and also technical things like maintenance and development. In the afternoon the participants went out for an excursion to a small wind turbine test site near Vienna called Energieforschungspark Lichtenegg. At this site some small turbines are installed for monitoring and testing, right next to a big Enercon turbine with 40 m hub height. All the machines on the site were commercial ones – nothing homebuilt. There were mostly downwind running turbines but also some upwind machines. The test site is a project run by the local council in cooperation with some companies.
We then went up inside the tower of the big Enercon turbine in small groups. They got a visitor’s platform right below the turbine head – with an amazing view over the mountains!
Looking back to the event i can say it was truly worth attending. Even if the main focus of the event were commercial turbines, I could establish a good connection to the Austrian scene of small wind people.
The conference will happen next year again, and with any luck, Wind Empowerment can have a presentation as well.