A wind turbine is a device that converts the wind's kinetic energy into electrical power.
How does it work?
Wind energy is generated when the wind rotates a turbine's blades which drive a generator to produce electricity. Wind turbines vary in size, they can be very small (one metre in diameter) and attached to a building. They can be larger and power a school or hospital, or they can be over 100m tall and based off-shore to generate large amounts of electricity.
Is is suitable?
It is important to assess the wind resource available in your area. A wind speed database is available on the BWEA website so you can see if there is potential for wind generation in your area.
Turbines vary in size, and household systems are typically sized up to 6kW (this large would be a fairly rural area or a housing development with a communal space). However, the smaller systems are around 1.5kW in size.
Planning issues such as the look, flicker, strobing, noise and conservation issues also have to be considered. Contact the planning team for advice about permission and building regulations.
You must consider noise nuisance that may be caused by the use of wind turbines in populated areas. However, modern turbines are fairly quiet.
There is potential for vibration damage from micro turbines situated on the roofs of older properties or those of wooden frame construction, however the industry is developing mountings that should overcome this issue.
What are the benefits?
- Cut your bills: free use of electricity whilst it is being generated, you will only need to use electricity from the grid when the wind is low. Surplus electricity can be exported and sold back to the electricity supply company.
- Receive payment for energy exported to the grid: Small scale generators of electricity (up to 5MW) can apply to a Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) Licensee to receive payment for the electricity exported back to the National Grid. SEG Licensees offer different rates, therefore generators should shop around to find the best SEG rate. To see the current list of SEG Licensees click here.
- Cut your carbon footprint: solar electricity is a green renewable technology that can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions.