Is my Land Suitable for a Wind Turbine?

January 10, 2013

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?

UK Draft Energy Bill published

May 25, 2012

nuclear power station

“Substantially higher energy prices” are the words on every news station further to the release of the draft energy bill earlier this week”.

The government published the bill with the intent of dramatic energy market reform. Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said:

The draft Bill includes measures necessary to reform the electricity market to deliver secure, clean and affordable electricity.”

One of the key objectives of the Bill is to secure a sustainable supply of energy for the UK by creating policy which will encourage £100 billion investment into nuclear plants and renewable energy.

Read: UK Draft Energy Bill published

Brighton Launches Solar Power Co-operative Despite slashed FITs

May 21, 2012

Solar panels

Brighton Energy Co-operative has launched a pioneering project to generate community renewable energy in Brighton & Hove.

Seventy people met last Wednesday to hear about the £200,000 share offer and by the end of the evening, the co-operative had raised £27,000 towards their target. The same day the co-op was also offered a £50,000 loan facility from a community investment fund – all contributing towards their solar panel project at Shoreham Port.

Read: Brighton Launches Solar Power Co-operative Despite slashed FITs

Huhne Keeps Solar Industry in Limbo

January 29, 2012

Solar Panels Roof

Chris Huhne, energy secretary, has taken another step to undermine the solar industry in seeking to appeal to the Supreme Court to defend his feed in tariff cuts. The saga of the cuts started back in October when Chris Huhne first proposed that the rate that home-owners received for their excess energy should be halved. Although the industry accepted that the price of panels had significantly reduced and therefore profits were higher than expected, the proposal to backdate the cuts before the end of the consultation period was the real bugbear. Solar companies, HomeSun and SolarCentury along with Friends of the Earth, decided to take the Government to court and quickly won their case. Since then the Government has been appealing the decision.

Read: Huhne Keeps Solar Industry in Limbo

New UK Renewable Energy Tariff Rates Confirmed

June 10, 2011

New UK Renewable Energy Tariff Rates Confirmed

The new feed in tariff rates for small scale renewable energy were confirmed today by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The revised Feed In Tariff rates are due to be implemented on 1st August 2011.

The rate for larger scale solar energy projects of 250 kW – 5MW has been dramatically reduced from 30.7 pence per kWh to 8.5 pence. As a result the UK is unlikely to see proposals for ground based solar parks of this scale.

Read: New UK Renewable Energy Tariff Rates Confirmed

Solar Energy Expansion in South West England

November 23, 2010

solar power park

Since the introduction of the UK feed in tariff, solar power has started to become a serious contender in the UK renewable energy market.

The first solar power project of any scale was consented in Cornwall in October of this year. The £4m, 1.3 Megawatt purpose built solar farm is expected to generate enough electricity for the annual needs of 287 homes.

With the UK government offering a whopping 29.3 pence per kWh, solar energy technology has seen a huge increase in popularity

Read: Solar Energy Expansion in South West England

Early Renewable Energy Adopters Angry at Government U Turn

November 1, 2010

solar

Early micro-renewable energy generators are angry at the government for doing a U turn on promises relating to feed in tariffs (FITs).

The Tories and LibDems both promised equal FIT rates to early adopters of renewable energy in the run up to the general election. Now the coalition government has gone back on its word and the microgenerator’s campaign is calling on early adopters to let their MPs know how angry they are.

Read: Early Renewable Energy Adopters Angry at Government U Turn

Government Report Confirms Feed in Tariff Rate Review

October 20, 2010

solar panels

The government has committed to reviewing the renewable energy Feed in Tariff (FIT) rates in the spending review report published today. A reduction in FIT rates in the future could threaten small scale householder renewable projects.

The government report says “the efficiency of Feed-in- Tariffs will be improved at the next formal review, rebalancing them in favour of the more cost effective carbon abatement technologies. This will save £40 million in 2014-15. Support for lower value innovation and technology projects will also be reduced, saving £70 million a year on average over the Spending Review period.”

Which carbon ebatement technologies will be favoured has not been specified…

Read: Government Report Confirms Feed in Tariff Rate Review

Can British communities claim renewable energy grants and the Feed in Tariff?

September 20, 2010

community wind turbine

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has now confirmed that the feed in tariff (FIT) is compliant with European law on State Aid Rules.

However it is still unclear as to what communities can claim to help them install renewable energy projects. Although the European Commission has said that grant recipients should not be eligible to receive the FIT, the latest DECC advice is that in some cases both grants and FITS can be claimed without breaching State Aid rules.

According to DECC…

Read: Can British communities claim renewable energy grants and the Feed in Tariff?

UK Feed in Tariff Boom Continues

September 17, 2010

solar panels

Latest Ofgem figures show a boom in small scale renewable energy systems across the UK.

Since the introduction of the feed in tariff (FIT) by the previous government in April, over 9000 new wind, solar, hydro and micro combined heat and power projects have been installed by both householders and commercial organisations. Installations in August doubled those in July with nearly 4000 householders going green.

Read: UK Feed in Tariff Boom Continues

UK Councils to sell Electricity to the Grid

August 16, 2010

sunflower picture

From this week the public sector are allowed to sell electricity to the grid in the UK.

The move comes as Energy Secretary Chris Hulne tries to add momentum to the decentralisation of electricity production in the UK via the Feed in Tariff.

The Local Government Act of 1976 previously prevented local councils in England and Wales from selling electricity not produced alongside heat. The UK government now believes that local authorities should be leading the way when it comes to investing in small scale renewable energy.

Hulne said:

Read: UK Councils to sell Electricity to the Grid

Solar PV ‘Feed in Tariff’ Outlook

August 11, 2010

solar PV

Market research company iSuppli predicts that the global PV market will expand next year despite reduced government incentives in some European countries.

Overall, reduced solar PV prices are expected to boost the industry with global installations predicted to total 20.2 Gigawatts in 2011. Even in Germany and Italy where incentives via feed in tariffs have been significantly cut, return on investment is predicted to be in the 8-10% range.

iSuppli’s de Haan said “iSuppli believes 2012 will be the year when the PV industry weans itself from the generosity of German subsidies …The German market will cool off and expand by only 4 to 5GW per year for the next several years. We believe the government aims to keep an orderly progression in order to achieve an ultimate goal of around 80GW of installed PV capacity.”

Although cuts in government feed in tariffs have had an impact in some countries, new incentives have appeared in others such as the UK.

Read: Solar PV ‘Feed in Tariff’ Outlook

Coalition Changes to Planning System Based on Conservative Ideas

May 21, 2010

conservative logo

The UK Government is set to make changes to the planning system and it has been confirmed that these will be in line with the Conservative Green Paper ‘Open Source Planning‘ released prior to the election.

The Coalition’s new “Programme for Government” believes it is time for a shift of power from Westminster to local authorities giving new powers to local councils, neighbourhoods and individuals.

The Programme confirms the previous Tory goals of reviewing local government finance, abolishing regional spatial strategies and the Infrastructure Planning Commission and promoting ‘Home on the Farm’ schemes that encourage farmers to convert existing buildings in the middle of nowhere into affordable housing for people who have no cars.

Read: Coalition Changes to Planning System Based on Conservative Ideas

Solar Power To Increase Fivefold Across the UK

May 18, 2010

solar park

With the roll out of solar panels expected to increase fivefold since the introduction of the Government’s new feed in tariff, many developers are now looking to the sun aswell as the wind to generate electricity.

Read: Solar Power To Increase Fivefold Across the UK

Kevin McCloud Endorses Feed in Tariffs

April 5, 2010

Even celebrities are excited about the new renewable energy Feed in Tariff (FIT). Here is Kevin McCloud talking to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) about the benefits of FIT at Ecobuild 2010:

Read: Kevin McCloud Endorses Feed in Tariffs

UK Feed In Tariff Launched

April 2, 2010

UK Feed In Tariff Launched

The Government introduced two new renewable energy incentive schemes yesterday in a bid to encourage greener homes and businesses. The two schemes are expected to improve energy efficiency and increase small-scale low-carbon electricity.

The Government say that their Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC EES) for businesses and Feed in tariffs (FITs) will help people save money on fuel bills, reduce carbon emissions and generate decentralised low-carbon electricity.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband, said:

Read: UK Feed In Tariff Launched

Tesco to Sell Feed in Tariff Solar Panels

March 28, 2010

solar panels

Supermarket giant Tesco is to start selling solar panels in the UK according to the Timesonline today.

The UK Feed In Tariff is programmed to start on Thursday 1st April and expected to result in a substantial number of people starting to generate their own green electricity. Under the scheme

Read: Tesco to Sell Feed in Tariff Solar Panels

UK Micro – Renewable Energy to Receive Financial Boost

August 19, 2009

solar thermal panels

The UK Government wants people and organisations producing electricity from renewable energy sources to receive higher rates for their home grown electricity.

The UK government has launched a consultation on the prices to be paid to people generating their own electricity from renewable energy. The new fixed rate tariffs, or ‘feed in tariffs’ as they are known in the renewable energy industry are aimed at domestic and micro -renewable energy generators and vary according to the renewable technology.

The Consultation on Renewable Electricity Financial Incentives proposes that tariffs will be paid for 20 years for new projects, except for solar PV which will be paid for 25 years.

Read: UK Micro – Renewable Energy to Receive Financial Boost

China Moves Up The Renewable Energy Attractiveness Ladder

August 13, 2009

solar panels

China has stepped up 3 places in the latest Renewable Energy Attractiveness league table put together by Ernst & Young.

China now holds second place jointly with Germany further to moves by the Chinese Government to support national solar PV generation.

China now has a whopping 9GW target for solar power. According to Ernst & Young, the impact of this substatial demand in the country may start to stabilize the recent global decline in solar module prices. Wind energy has also dramatically increased in China with targets of 100GW by 2020 announced earlier this year and more attractive feed in tariffs now being offered in some regions.

Read: China Moves Up The Renewable Energy Attractiveness Ladder

What Does the Future Hold For Small Scale Renewables?

July 31, 2009

Domestic Wind Turbine

The UK has a green target to provide 15% of its energy from renewables by 2020. This means producing enough energy from renewable sources for the requirements of 26 million homes in the UK by 2020.

Already – renewable electricity has doubled in the UK in five years, however this has mainly been thanks to large scale commercial renewable energy – in particular wind energy which has doubled in the UK in five years. We already have more offshore wind energy in the UK than any other country.

However what does the Government’s new Renewable Energy Strategy have in store for small-scale renewable energy?

Read: What Does the Future Hold For Small Scale Renewables?