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Choosing the Right Turbine

Which wind turbine is right for your site depends on a whole list of factors, some of which are discussed below. We have years of experience in assisting people navigate the various constraints to help bring about a successful installation that meets the needs of the customer.

Wind Climate

Turbines are given a ‘classification’ rating (1, 2 or 3) relating to the wind regime they are designed to withstand.  Please refer to the product information for details on each specific turbine.  The turbine classification must be suitable for the wind regime in order to have a long operational life.

Class 3s Average wind speeds up to 7m/s at hub height
Class 3 Average wind speeds up to 7.5m/s at hub height
Class 2 Average wind speeds up to 8.5m/s at hub height
Class 1 Average wind speeds up to 10m/s at hub height

Land Designation

Conservation areas, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks and World Heritage sites bring with them various restrictions on wind turbine development.  Just because a site is located in a designated area does not mean that planning permission cannot be granted, simply that it must be appropriate is context and scale.

It will be harder to gain planning permission for a wind turbine in a designated land area.

Noise

All turbines produce noise and it is important that turbines are correctly sighted to prevent noise complaints from neighbours.  Each planning application for a wind turbine is assessed by the local environmental health department who will comment on the application in the planning process.  If an area is particularly quiet, then greater separation distances are required than in areas with greater background noise (for example near motorways).

The following table is provided for guidance only.  It gives an indication of the sorts of separation distances required.  Each site will need to be looked at specifically.

Wind Turbine Typical Required Distance from Non-financially involved properties
Northern Power 60kW 350m
Northern Power 100kW 500m

Radar/MOD

Wind turbines can affect radar.  Your wind turbine will therefore need to be sighted in a location that doesn’t interfere with radar or communication systems.  This will affect the location of the turbine on your land and therefore the proximity of the turbine to other constraints.  The height of the turbine will be affected by radar issues.  Smaller tower heights causes less impact on radar.

Finance

Two types of finance are require for a wind turbine project

  • Risk finance  for the planning application
  • Capital finance for the physical installation

Planning application costs and planning risks increase for larger turbines.  You will need to have enough ‘risk’ money available to fund the planning application of the turbine.  This will restrict the size of turbine you can put into planning.

Secured finance is generally fairly well available for turbines over 50kW; however you will need to be able to offer security to the value of the turbine you choose.  This may restrict the size of turbine you can afford to finance.  We can put you in contact with a number of banks and financial service companies who offer finance on wind turbines.

If you have a good wind site, but no access to funds, then consider a land rental option