© Altergen 2015
Farms throughout the UK, Europe and the US are turning towards large wind turbines to produce a large proportion or all of their electricity requirements, selling electricity back to the Grid is another way to maximise the natural wind resources available on open farmland.
Renewable "green" environmentally friendly energy can be produced without compromising valuable farmland.
Wind turbines, appropriately sited, are the renewable technology that 'pay back' the fastest, they can be so viable that many are installed solely for revenue; many organisations sell all the electricity they produce back to 'the grid'.
Wind power provides on-site generation for individual buildings or organisations - excess power being sold to the grid when not needed. Power utilised on site replaces grid power purchased at the highest price and therefore the particular turbine installed is usually based on power consumption requirements. The Feed in Tariff makes wind
power more cost effective with payments being made for every kW exported back to the grid.
Prior to installation of a large wind turbine or wind farm several assessments need to be made including a feasibility study. The complete process is generally pre-feasibility to full feasibility, detailed design, planning and grant applications, supply, installation and maintenance.
Should a problem arise at any stage of the process, the installation can be halted without incurring unnecessary expense.
A pre-feasibility study determines whether there is any possibility of development. Proximity to housing, aerodromes, wind resource including local terrain, power consumption patterns and electricity connection capacity are all investigated. If the study results in no insurmountable barriers being met, a feasibility study can commence.
As well as looking in detail at several aspects of the pre-construction process the feasibility study produces a checklist for the complete project. The pre-construction process includes:
A planning application is produced which may include:
A successful application signals the start of the construction phase of the project.
The next stage is to undertake detailed design of the wind turbine or wind farm installation. The purpose of this stage is to produce a document and drawings that enables the installation engineers to construct the turbine that meets all regulations and conditions that may be set by the local authority and power distribution network operator. The detailed design briefly includes the following:
Having undertaken the pre-construction phase the task of installing and connecting a wind turbine is a relatively simple process. Foundation installation takes around 3 days with turbine installation and testing being complete in 2 days.
Wind turbines require regular maintenance to ensure safe operation and service life is achieved.
Typical medium to large wind turbines.