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Wind Technology Information
- Under a new scheme that started in April 2010 called the Feed In Tariff (FIT) the government pays up to 36.2 pence per kWh for wind generated electricity. At a good (average wind speed of at least 5 metres per second) location in the UK this represents an annual income of £400 per kW installed on top of electricity bill savings.
- Location location location! The wind speed is critical to generation so correct siting of a turbine is EVERYTHING when considering this technology.
- UK has the best wind resource in Europe.
- Two main types of turbines currently available are vertical axis (VAWT) and horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT) (see images).
- Very low maintenance systems.
- A good location can yield impressive paybacks (see cost calculator).
- Turbines are sized by their maximum generation capacity or rated capacity as it is sometimes known, e.g. 5kW However turbines only generate at this power in very strong winds.
- Field trials have shown that a good location can generate 19% of its maximum annual capacity, (sometimes called load factor). That is to say it can generate 1750 kWh a year per kW installed. This value varies widely depending on wind speed.
- Unless well clear of surrounding buildings, urban turbines rarely generate large amounts of electricity.
- Planning permission may be required (see tab above).
- Grid connected systems need to comply with distribution network operator's (DNO) technical regulations (ER G83/1 or G59).
- Can be combined with batteries to store unused power for later use in isolated (not connected to the grid) systems.
A typical stand alone grid-connected turbine installation will consist of:
- The generator unit (turbine blades and generator) fixed to
- the mast (the taller the better!) fixed to
- a large concrete foundation. The electricity is transported from the base of the mast via
- an armoured underground cable to
- the local circuit connection consisting of a rectifier/inverter system (this converts the electricity into a usable form such as 240 AC). Meters are used to measure the electricity generated and exported into the local grid.
- The key requirement for a turbine installation is a good wind resource. A recommended 4.5-5 metres per second average annual wind speed is the minimum required in order to generate significant electricity. An ideal location will be:
- Elevated from surrounding land, on top of a hill is ideal. Alternatively, very tall masts have cost and planning penalties but the resulting yield improvements can be significant.
- Surrounded by open fields: any surface roughness (bushes, trees, buildings etc.) causes turbulence that can mix up into the air (a process called shear) and reduce wind speed at turbine hub height.
- A good distance away from domestic dwellings both for the wind speed ramifications and to reduce noise disturbance issues.
- (Recommended) In a coastal location: land and sea breezes caused by the heating and cooling of land and water masses significantly increase annual wind speed.
- A nearby grid connection point: a domestic circuit or suitable distribution network transformer, will prevent prohibitive cabling costs. For a small wind turbine 400-500 metres is a economic maximum distance recommended.
- Planning permission is still required at most locations.
- A space of 1 to 2 square metres is needed for the grid connection system. This is usually wall mounted.
- Small wind 1.5-15kW turbine costs roughly £10,000 plus £3,000 per kW capacity. E.g. A 5 kW turbine will cost £10,000 plus 5 x £3,000. Total cost: £25,000
- Medium sized turbines 15-50kW cost roughly £3,500 per kW capacity e.g. a 20kW machine will cost around £70,000
This is a rough guide only and market prices vary widely, even for the same turbine. It's best to get as many quotes as possible. Use the 'Free Quotes' button below to get free no-obligation quotes from all the installers operating in your area. Use the S&G technology calculator for more on the economics of wind.
.Download and read the the 'S&G Feed In Tariff (FIT) FactSheet' here
Financial support is available to many energy efficiency and microgeneration measures. Support is currently available via capital grants or the recently launched Feed In Tariff (FIT scheme) More detail about the different support available is given below.
The Feed In Tariff (FIT)
In April 2010 the UK government launched the Feed In Tariff (FIT) scheme. The FIT pays a fixed rate for any electricity generated from microgeneration systems for a set 20 to 25 year period, depending on technology type. The FIT is a technology-specific rate per kWh regardless of where the electricity is used. This means that you can generate and use the electricity and still get paid for it.
The following FIT rates apply for wind turbine installations
- Less than 1.5kW installed - 36.2 p/kWh
- Between 1.5-15kW installed - 28 p/kWh
- Between 15-100kW installed - 25.3 p/kWh
- Between 100-500kW installed - 19.7 p/kWh
- Between 500-1.5MW installed - 9.9 p/kWh
- Between 1.5-5MW installed - 4.7 p/kWh
For any system rated below 50 kW, in order to qualify for the incentive both the technology and the installer carrying out the work have to be MCS accredited. Certification details are listed on the S&G installer web pages.
As of 24 May 2010, the Low Carbon Building Programme (LCBP) is closed to all new applications. For more details click here.
Regional & Local Grants and Incentives
NOTE: Any grants or funding from a publicly funded body may affect your eligibility to the FIT scheme described above.
There are numerous regional & local grants and initiatives available as local government try to meet ambitions carbon reduction targets and other sources of funding, for example EU Rural Development Funding is targeted at sustainable development. Your local installers are best placed to access the latest information on these incentives. As part of the S&G Get a Quote function installers provide details on local incentives you may be eligible for in your area.
Alternatively you can contact your local authorities directly to try and source opportunities for support. Click here to find your local authority contact details.
In the majority of areas in the UK, stand alone wind turbine installations require planning permission unless the turbine mast height is less than 10 meters and the turbine blade length less than 1 metre. Extended development rights allowing any turbine up to 15 meters mast height on farmland or industrial estate are currently under consultation. See S&G news section for updates.
A turbine with blades of less than 1 meter are very small units of less than 1kW capacity. Therefore most wind power installations require planning permission. Due to the fact that planning in the UK is a devolved responsibility, ease of the planning process depends entirely on your Local Planning Authority (LPA). The main issues to consider before proceeding with an installation are:
- Military installations. A small wind generator may not be allowed in close proximity to a military airfield or radar installation.
- Proximity to neighbours. A small wind turbine should be located at least 50m from the nearest neighbour, and ideally at least 75m - 150m depending on the size of the turbine.
- Designated areas. Whilst there is not an absolute ban on small wind generators in National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you may find it more difficult to satisfy the local planning officer.
Overall, national planning policies support the development of small scale wind power.
- any wiring associated with the wind turbine system must adhere to building regulation part L (currently under review)
- a grid connection system must comply with distribution network operators (DNO) technical regulations (ER G.83/1)
Any MCS accredited installer will be aware of these requirements.
Permitted development rights for microgeneration technologies are under consultation at the moment. See 'more on planning' below for details.
If you get a no obligation quote through the S&G 'get a quote' function the local installers contacted will be able to advise you further. Alternatively you can check with your local planning authority (LPA) for details. The contact details of your LPA can be found by going here and entering your postcode.
- If you have any outstanding questions once you have looked at all the information pages relating to this technology, please write to us on email@example.com and we will aim to get back to you with an answer ASAP.
- You can also use the above email address to get in touch with our independent energy experts who will be more than happy to provide you with tailored project consultancy support if required. Click here to find out more about Save & Generate's Independent Energy Assessment services, or visit the S&G Energy Consultancy web site for more details on our consultancy services.
- Our latest independent energy expert blogs on wind provide further critical insights into developments within the industry and topics of current debate, including latest Government policy developments. Click here to read more.
- Use the above tabs to find out further information on this and other technologies.
- Use the feasibility function to instantly see how well suited your location is to these technologies
- Use the S&G Get a Quote function to receive FREE, no obligation quotes from the accredited and user rated installers working in your area.
- Make sure to review our info section on energy efficiency for options to reduce your energy consumption as far as feasible, as this will ultimately make the microgeneration equipment more economical for you.