Can I own a wind turbine?
Your site specifics (such as location, wind speed and local landscape) will determine the best turbine type and size. Wind turbines are ideal for farms, businesses and communities.
How do I find out if my site is windy enough?
The actual wind speed at your site will be influenced by local factors, such as trees, other buildings and, in particular, by the terrain. Wind movement around buildings is unpredictable, so it is best to site the tower some distance from buildings. A site with an average wind speed of 4.8 to 5 metres per second is generally sufficient enough to make installing a small wind turbine worthwhile.
How tall are wind turbines?
The height varies and in general, the higher the turbine, the higher the wind speed experienced by the turbine and the smoother the air.
Do I need planning permission?
Yes, and this can take upwards of 6 months to obtain. We can help you with progressing planning permission with your local authority.
It is important to discuss your plans with your neighbours. Relevant factors include environmental impact, access to the site, noise and visual effects. Planning policies vary by council.
How does a wind turbine make electricity?
The wind turbine has three blades on the rotor which face away from the wind; the wind turns the blades round, this spins the shaft the rotor is mounted on, which connects to a generator. A generator produces electrical energy from mechanical energy.
What are wind turbines made of?
The wind turbine tower is made of galvanized steel. The blades are made of glass-fibre reinforced polyester. The finish in most models is matt, to reduce reflected light. The turbine is made from galvanized steel, stainless steel and some plastic components; everything is built to marine quality.
How is electricity connected?
The electrical output from the turbine is three-phase, at 415V AC. For example, the Endurance wind Power E-3120 is a directly coupled turbine, with the generator running at 1,500 rpm, and the generator is directly connected to the Grid through an automatic control system, without any conversion. Power will only be connected if the Grid conditions allow it.
How does the turbine face the wind?
Our turbines face away from the wind, they are known as downwind turbines, and they are blown about, like a flag, so that they are always receiving the maximum wind. The turbine monitors the direction that the wind is coming from and rotates itself around to ensure it is always facing in the right direction.
How does the turbine cope with high winds?
Our turbines are designed to be used in all wind conditions, excluding severe winds when the safety function will automatically close the turbine down until the winds have subsided to safe levels – disk brakes stop the turbine turning and the turbine rotates to minimise the wind force on the blades. The design of the blade uses a technique called ‘Aerodynamic stalling’ which sheds wind in excessive wind conditions in order to protect the turbine from damage. The turbine effectively protects itself. It also means that you can get power from the turbine even in high winds.
What happens if there is no wind?
If there is no wind then no power will be generated. You will need an alternative source, such as batteries (which are charged when the turbine is operating) or a generator. If you have a Grid connected system, then you will draw power from the National Grid.
Are wind turbines noisy?
No. The aerodynamic efficiency of the blades means that the turbines are quiet in operation. In general, the wind itself makes more noise than a wind turbine. The noise increases with wind speed, but so does the noise of the wind.
Will small wind turbines affect birds?
Experience and careful monitoring by independent experts shows that birds are unlikely to be damaged by the moving blades of wind turbines. Bird strikes do happen, but rarely. Siting of the turbine is important to avoid nesting sites and migration paths. Birds are more likely to be affected by natural predators than wind turbines. The RSPB actively supports and promotes the use of wind power and does not object to wind turbines, because they see the greatest threat to birds is from climate change.
Will small wind turbines affect animals?
Not at all. There is no noise or emission that can affect animals. We have turbines installed on livestock and poultry farms, as well as equestrian centres.
What about lightning strikes?
Lightning strikes do occur and can cause damage to any structure raised from the ground. However, lightning protection is a well known practice and can be applied to wind turbines as for other equipment. On some turbine models, full protection of electrical circuits is installed at manufacture. Protection against lightning is advisable if the turbine is installed in an area where lightning strikes are frequent. Insuring the turbine against lightning damage may be a wise precaution.
Does the turbine produce electricity during a power cut?
For safety reasons the turbine will need to disconnect from the Grid if there is a power cut. Engineers may be working on repairing downed cables, so it is important that wind turbines don’t feed power onto the lines. This is done automatically as part of the turbine’s control system.
Does the turbine interfere with electrical equipment or TV and radio?
The turbine will not interfere at all, with any electrical equipment or with radio, TV, mobile telephones etc. There is no radiation or electromagnetic fields produced at all.
Does the turbine need servicing?
Yes, a turbine requires regular servicing which must be carried out by trained technicians. On the larger turbines, there is a service platform just below the hub and the maintenance work is done with the turbine in situ. The servicing is straightforward and includes an inspection of all parts for any wear and tear.
What is the life of a turbine?
The turbines we supply have a design life of 30 years, providing the regular servicing is carried out.
What are the warranty terms?
For all of our turbines, the standard warranty is for 5 years. Our terms are that the servicing must be carried out annually, and we have trained maintenance and operation technicians to carry out the servicing.
How long will the turbine take to pay back?
This will depend on several factors.
- The extent of your wind resource will govern how effective the wind turbine is.
- How much electricity you have to buy or how much you export.
- Whether you are eligible for any grants.
Most of the Government effort is now directed at Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) and the level of support has changed over recent years. https://www.gov.uk/feed-in-tariffs/overview
What rate of VAT applies?
VAT at the standard rate (currently 20%) is charged on wind turbine installations, the exception is when the electricity goes directly into a domestic property, rather than into the national grid, when the ‘reduced rate’ is charged (currently 5%).