Wind is the most rapidly expanding energy source with an average growth rate
of 33% between 1998 and 2002. This is partly due to the environmental benefits
to a world that is being irrepairably damaged by the harmful emissions from
fossil fuels. However, although the UK accounts for 40% of Europe's total
wind resource, it remains largely untapped, currently meeting only 0.5% of
our electricity requirements.
HOW DO THEY WORK
|| The kinetic energy in the wind is intercepted by two or three rotating blades.
The action of the blades extract energy from the wind slowing it down. This
energy first appears as mechanical energy and is transformed to electrical
energy from a generator coupled to a shaft through a gearbox.
Turbines should be positioned to gain maximum energy from the wind and those
placed at a higher level will not be placed close to buildings or trees, as
these provide shelter. Wind speed is obviously an important factor when assessing
the suitability to harness this resource and needs to be measured at the potential
Wind turbines can be used to power anything from a caravan (using less than
100 watts) to whole towns (using several megawatts). The most recent example
of a wind farm in Northern Ireland is Altahullion in County Londonderry , which
has an installed capacity of 26 megawatts, which is enough to supply 20,000
homes with electricity. The most common turbines used on average-sized farms
are 20 kilowatts and would stand at around 30 metres in height.
Planning permission is always required for the installation of a wind turbine.
Factors assessed will include location, size of turbine and likely visual and
STAND ALONE OR GRID CONNECTED SYSTEM?
An off grid system will only provide that particular household with electricity
and surplus power is stored in batteries, which can be expensive. However,
implementing the system is less expensive, as connecting to the grid can incur
Grid-connected systems ensure that power is always available in the event
of a low supply of wind energy. Any surplus energy is exported to the grid
and sold to the electricity supply company. However, it is much more economical
to ensure that most of the electricity is used on site, as the cost per kilowatt
hour (kWh) from the grid is 10p, but the price paid for input into the grid
is 3p per kWh.
For small-scale applications, ‘Clear Skies' offer
a grant of up to £5000 but only for turbines up to 5Kw. For community
grants, the size of the grant is the lower of 50% of installed cost or £100,000
regardless of the technology.
There is a new funding initiative offered by the DARD, where a limited number
of applicants will receive 50% funding on a 20Kw turbine. However, the deadline
is getting closer!
HOW DIVERSITEC CAN HELP YOU -
The system cost is currently £2,500 to £5,000 per kWe (electric
kilowatt), for smaller scale turbines and a 20Kw turbine is estimated to cost £26,000,
which includes turbine, mast, inverters and installation.
- Aid you with all aspects of the planning process.
- Help you with grant applications.
- Calculate the wind speed at your potential
- Keep you up to date with recent developments that may benefit or hinder