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What makes a good wind power site?

There are 5 key characteristics of a good wind power site that you need:

  • A high average wind speed. Typically the site would be on top of a hill or in a wide open space with no obstructions nearby. See more details on how windy it needs to be ?
  • Sufficient separation from noise-sensitive neighbours. Modern wind turbines are remarkably quiet, but even so there are very stringent maximum noise levels that have to be met to obtain planning consent. The minimum separation varies depending on the turbine size, but as a rough guide the following should ensure no problems:
Maximum Power Output Typical Turbine Type Minimum Noise Separation
55 kW Endurance E-3120 250 metres
100 kW Norvento nED100 360 metres
500 kW EWT DW52/54 or Enercon E53/48/44 450 metres
1.5 MW GE 1.5sl 550 metres
2 – 3 MW Enercon E82 620 metres

 

  • Good grid connection. All of the wind turbines that we supply require a suitable three-phase electrical supply to connect to. As a rough guide you will need an 11 kV transformer or substation that is roughly double the rated power output of the wind turbine you are considering, or an 11 kV three-phase power line passing close to the wind turbine site that can have a new transformer / substation connected to it.

The larger multi-MW turbines could grid connect to 33 kV power lines, though generally it is too expensive for sub-1MW wind turbine projects to connect at such a high voltage.

  • Good site access. Wind turbines are large and heavy, so the access roads and tracks to the site need to be capable of taking oversize loads with no weak bridges, excessively tight corners or steep gradients. Obviously as the proposed turbine gets larger, the size of the constituent parts that have to be delivered get larger and the access requirements more stringent. The smaller Endurance 55 kW turbine is delivered on standard articulated lorries, but all of the others come on special oversize trailers.
  • No special environmental or landscape designations. A lot of the older objections to wind turbines due to bird strikes have now been shown to be unfounded, but even so it would be good practice to not install a wind turbine(s) in an area that had special bird designations. Peat bog is also generally a no-go area for wind turbines.

Wind turbines are very visible within the landscape, so sites with landscape designations such as National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) will have more difficulty obtaining planning consent, though it is still possible to get planning consent in AONBs.

Assuming your site meets these basic requirements, please get in touch and we will complete an initial (free) desktop assessment, and assuming it still looks suitable would recommend our wind feasibility study package.

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Want to install a wind turbine?

If you are in the UK then take our Wind Site Self-Assessment - Step 1 of our modular Windpower Feasibility Study. It takes about 20 minutes to work through the basic checks to see if your site might be suitable, including:

  • Estimating wind speed
  • Checking proximity of nearby properties
  • Checking site access and approach roads
  • Investigating connection with the grid

If you are in the Republic of Ireland, or overseas, the first step is to consider our modular Windpower Feasibility Study, so please Contact us to discuss your site further.

Start the process here: Take the Wind Site Self-Assessment