Planning for Wind Power

Posted on 22nd February, 2011

I was asked this question earlier today "Hi Les, ...would we need planning permission for a 1 kilowatt machine or even a smaller (DIY) one?,..."


Planning Policy is quite clear on this! All wind turbines require planning approval.


If the hub (nacelle) height exceeds 15m then the planners will ask for an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) - but this is a standard maximum height for most domestic size turbines (i.e. 6 - 15 kW) so an EIS is not normally needed for domestic applications. If you are thinking however, about producing electricity from wind purely to sell back to the grid at a profit, then the planners will regard this as a commercial enterprise.


Some 1 kW turbines can be building-mounted but a 1 kw turbine will only contribute to - not run - the average dwelling. If I was going to spend my money on building and erecting a tower - I think I would go for at least 6 kW. Your requirements might be more or less than this - see below.


Wind turbines come in various shapes and sizes including also vertical axis and building-mounted versions. Available average wind speed is a critical factor in estimating how much electricity you can produce and I believe that it is absolutely essential that the site is properly surveyed for wind speeds as early as 12 – 18 months in advance of making a decision to use wind energy. If viable, you should work out how much electricity you require for your needs (base it on your annual electricity bill which will show your kW/h usage) and then compare turbine systems in terms of lifetime costs and efficiency.


Currently, on the commercial market, a 6kW turbine will cost from £18,000 (for a 10m hub height) to £22,000 (for a 15m hub height). Then add about £2,500 for parts, labour & service warranty.


I hope this helps, and will post more wind power related issues in future blogs.




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