Wind Power: Industrial And Commercial
With huge increases in energy costs in recent years it is little surprise that industrial and commercial businesses are now looking to renewable energy as a means of supplementing or completely replacing their mains electricity reliance. For large operations or those which operate in remote areas, one of the best ways to utilize the advancements in renewable energy technology is to make use of wind power. Whilst it is possible to use single wind turbines for supplying a small percentage of your energy needs, the best way to truly benefit from the wind turbine technology is to use the turbines in large quantities (either for the purpose of reselling electricity back into the mains grid or with the intention of powering your operation in its entirety). These collections of turbines are known as 'wind farms' and are quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of renewable electricity generation in the United Kingdom.
Planning And Environmental Issues
If you are considering the possibility of installing one or several wind turbines for your business, or you are perhaps pondering setting up a wind farm for the purpose of selling back the electricity generated to the mains grid, there are a few factors worth considering before you make the final decision.
Location is a big issue with wind turbine technology, not only because the positioning of the turbines needs to be controlled for the sake of maximizing their potential but also because the surrounding community may protest against large or unsightly turbines, deeming them a nuisance or a blot on the landscape. As a general rule planning offices in the United Kingdom try to keep large or numerous wind turbines at least a mile away from any built-up or residential areas - this eliminates noise complaints.
Turbines are also best placed in a position where they can't easily be seen by other members of the community; this reduces the possibility of complaints regarding visual pollution. If you are in a rural area the position of your turbines will also need to be analysed by environmental officers to ensure that the surrounding ecology will not be adversely affected.
Selling Electricity Back To The Grid
After the position of your turbines has been determined you will then need to consider the use of sub-stations for collecting and converting electricity into a moderated and usable supply. It will also be necessary to take into account the service requirements of the turbines, the safety checks that are put in place in case of high winds, and whether or not you will sell excess energy back into the grid. Most utility companies will happily purchase wind-generated electricity as it is now a legislative requirement (through the Renewables Obligation originally laid down in 2003) that a portion of their supply comes from renewable sources.
Commercial Wind Farms
There are a number of companies that now supply commercial-grade wind turbines for wind farms or large-scale electricity generation. If you are intending to set up such generation facilities it is advisable that you get in touch with the British Wind Energy Association which is both the commercial and professional organization that promotes and supports wind power within the United Kingdom. Their recent work has lead to a promise from the British government of subsidies of close to a billion pounds per annum by 2010 for commercial and industrial entities using or supplying wind power.