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Although the Government's popular Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme has most often been linked to electricity generation through solar (photovoltaic) panels, wind turbine installations also qualify for this incentive. This means that wind turbine owners will receive a guaranteed income for every kWh of electricity generated and then either used or fed back to the Grid.
While the FiT rates are now significantly below the original rates when they were introduced in 2011, they can still be attractive for those considering installing wind turbines. The significant fall in manufacturing costs means that the FiT rates can still normally provide a 10 year payback, even at the lower current FiT rates.
But Feed-in Tariff income aside, the benefits of this type of renewable electricity option include:
- Wind turbines are a standalone technology, and so can be bolted on to a scheme.
- The prominent position of a wind turbine means it is a very visible measure, and so provides a good advert for your development's green credentials.
- Any excess electricity generated by the wind turbine can be exported, so there are no limits on system size for this reason.
There are however several limitations of wind turbines that should be considered:
- A good average wind speed is vital, as the power output of the wind turbine is related to the cube of wind speed – small decreases in wind speed can result in significant reductions in output.
- Roof-mounted wind turbines can be prone to low outputs due to turbulence created by the buildings.
- Wind turbines are generally not appropriate in urban locations, owing to the fact that people object to their appearance.
There are some additional points to be aware of too:
- If poorly considered, wind turbines can consume more energy than they produce.
- Don't rely on national wind data to decide whether a site is suitable for this type of technology. Consider installing wind monitors at the proposed turbine height and location in order to get more accurate data.If you'd like further information on wind turbines, or discuss their suitability for a particular project, please contact us. You might also want to consider photovoltaics, another option for renewable electricity generation.