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Small scale wind turbine

blue-light / 2014-05-06
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 A small wind turbine is a wind turbine used for microgeneration, as opposed to large commercial wind turbines, such as those found in wind farms, with greater individual power output.

These turbines may be as small as a fifty-Watt generator for boat, caravan, or miniature refrigeration unit.

Small wind turbines have less generating capacity than the huge commercial turbines found on wind farms, but their reduced costs and added versatility allow wind power to be used in a wider set of applications. These small turbines are used primarily for distributed generation – generating electricity for use on-site, rather than transmitting energy over the electric grid from central power plants or wind farms. Small turbines are a small-scale alternative to solar panels, providing clean renewable energy to rural homes, farms and businesses. This reduces reliance on large fossil-fuel power plants and lowers the burden on the electrical transmission grid.

Small wind turbines can have a generating capacity of anywhere from 0.3 to 100 kW, though the amount of power they actually generate depends on wind speed. A small turbine will typically need wind speeds of four meters per second (or nine miles per hour) at the height of the turbine. Because steady wind speed is important, small turbines must be placed away from buildings, trees, and other obstructions that may block the flow of wind. This makes them ideal for rural and suburban communities that do not have the space restrictions found in urban centers.

What issues need to be considered?

Wind turbines will have a visual impact on the local area. While some people may argue that wind turbines are “ugly” and spoil the landscape, other people may like them. It is important to remember that small scale turbines can help us generate energy locally, and are a lot smaller than the turbines used in commercial wind farms, and have a much smaller impact on the landscape.

Wind turbines produce noise, primarily from the blades as they move through the air. This noise increases as the wind gets stronger, but, in strong winds the noise of the wind can often mask the noise of the wind turbine. The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) gives the volume of noise from a wind farm 350 meters away as equal to a busy road 5 kilometres away, just louder than a quiet bedroom (around 40 dB).

At certain times of the year when the sun is low in the sky, the sun may pass behind the rotors of a wind turbine and cast a shadow over neighbouring properties. When the blades turn, the shadow flicks on and off; the effect is known as ‘shadow flicker’. It only occurs inside buildings where the flicker appears through a narrow window opening.

The incidence of shadow flicker depends on the position of the sun in the sky. It occurs only at certain times and only affects nearby buildings to the north of the turbine. The likelihood of shadow flicker occurring and the duration of such an effect depends on a range of factors, including the time of the year, the size of the turbine, the direction and speed of the wind and the relative cloud cover. Whilst problems caused by shadow flicker are rare, it will need to be considered when installing small wind turbines near to existing buildings.

What are the planning requirements?

Most householders can carry out small extensions or additions to their homes without the need for planning permission. This is known as ‘permitted development’. Permitted development rights currently allow for small domestic wind turbines to be installed without the need for planning permission, providing certain conditions are met. These conditions have been set to ensure that any negative impacts such as visual impact, noise and aviation interference are kept to a minimum.

The planning requirements for wind turbine development in different settings is summarised below:

i. Roof mounted wind turbines on homes

Installing a single roof mounted wind turbine onto the roof of a detached house or onto the roof of a detached building within the garden area of a house or block of flats is permitted development provided that the following limits are met:

The wind turbine complies with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) Planning Standards (or equivalent).

No other wind turbine or air source heat pump has been installed on the building (additional equipment will require planning permission).

The blade diameter should be is no more than 3.8 square metres.

The tip height of the turbine is no higher than 3 metres above the roof (excluding the chimney) or no higher than 15 metres in height (whichever is the lesser).

The lowest part of any blade must at least 5 metres above ground level and the turbine is installed at least 5 metres away from the site boundary.

In conservation areas, wind turbines should not be fitted on a wall or roof which fronts a highway.

Planning permission will be required for listed buildings, sites designated as schedule monuments and on land safeguarded for aviation or defence purposes.

ii. Stand alone wind turbines in residential gardens

Stand alone wind turbines within the garden area of a house or block of flats is permitted development provided that the following limits are met:

The wind turbine complies with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) Planning Standards (or equivalent).

No other wind turbine or air source heat pump has been installed on the building (additional equipment will require planning permission).

The blade diameter should be is no more than 3.8 square metres.

While choosing a good small wind turbine, quality is very important, it must be able to generate enough electricity and most important, it must be safe enough. It is very important to choose a reliable brand such Wellsee so that you can enjoy the convenience of green energy.

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