A dark cloud is gathering over the UK’s renewable energy future following the announcement of an auction process for renewable energy subsidy to be introduced from 2017.   The change mooted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change towards the end of last year leaves renewable energy investors with no idea of the price they […]

Read: Auction gloom for the UK Renewable Energy Industry

Further to public consultation in the summer of 2013 the UK’s Electricity Market Reform delivery plan was formally published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in December 2013.  The plan sets out the Contracts for Difference (CfD) ‘strike prices’ for renewable energy technologies.  Strike prices are the amount the government guarantees to pay […]

Read: UK Government Sets Renewable Energy Strike Prices

Energy Secretary Ed Davey has hit out at Tories opposing wind farms, describing them as irresponsible due to their attempts to cull wind turbines. The Lib Dem Energy Secretary is ‘at war’ with Tory minister Owen Paterson who took it upon himself to commission a report on the impact of wind farms on the countryside […]

Read: Tories Trying to Cull Wind Turbines According to Davey

Donald Trump has expressed his anger at the offshore wind farm granted planning consent off Aberdeen Bay in Scotland. The European Offshore wind Deployment Centre has been given the go ahead this week despite high profile attempts by Donald Trump to thwart the plans. The news comes to the delight of green groups like Greenpeace […]

Read: Trump Trumped by Offshore Wind Farm

wind turbines

With the UK government feed in tariff (FIT) still looking healthy for smaller wind turbines many people want to know if their land is suitable to host a wind turbine.

There are many contributing factors to a good wind turbine site. The two key factors are wind speed and proximity to an electricity grid connection. Environmental impacts are also very important and proximity to for example hedgerows or buildings where bats may be present will need to be considered.

Wind Speed

You can find out an approximation of the wind speed in your area by inputting your grid co-ordinates into the DECC wind speed database. Be warned however localised physical influences can mean that the wind speed on your land is very different than the DECC predicted average. These influences can include local topography and presence of trees. Trees and undulating terrain can interrupt the flow of the wind and increase turbulence. Generally sites with wind speeds of 7 metres per second or above will be viable for wind turbines if there is a suitable grid connection point nearby.

An accurate wind speed can only be secured by using an on-site anemometer mast, although some wind farm developers have more detailed databases utilising collected mast data. Generally however if you own an open site on relatively high ground or near the coast, your site is likely to have a good wind speed. Clearly if your land is low lying and shielded by hills then wind speed is likely to be poor.

Grid Connection

For turbines in the 100-500kW range, your site needs to be close to a 3 phase electricity supply i.e. within a few hundred metres to 1km. Larger turbines need an 11kV or 33kV supply point within a few km.

Environmental Impacts

Wind turbines should be located away from buildings, trees and hedgerows potentially used by bats. If there are such features in the locality a survey by an expert consultancy showing that impacts will not be significant may need to be carried out. Check this website for a national bat and tree survey company.

Read: Is my Land Suitable for a Wind Turbine?