Wind Turbine Power Generation – Guidance
Choosing your wind system location
The first step is ‘reality checking’ your general location. Wind generators need ‘clean’ and sufficiently fast wind to produce electricity. Clean wind is strong and laminar, which means it flows in smooth streamlines and is not disrupted by nearby obstacles.
Coastal locations, and flat rural areas without significant vegetation or buildings, offer the most laminar wind flow. Small wind systems should generally be installed only in these areas. Significant turbulence is caused by terrain such as steep hills and cliffs as well as ground clutter such as trees and nearby buildings or structures
Urban areas have a poor wind resource that is usually extremely turbulent. Productive wind power systems need the wind generator to be placed on tall towers in clean wind, well above areas of turbulence caused by obstructions. This is usually hard to acheive in urban areas.
Connecting wind systems
Small wind turbines can be connected as:
- grid connected, no battery storage
- off-grid or independent stand-alone power systems
- grid connected, with battery storage.
A grid connected system allows the wind system owner to send electricity back to the grid when excess electricity is produced, and draw electricity from the grid when more is needed.
Wind Turbine Mounting Tower
The most common mistake for small wind systems is putting a wind generator on too short a tower. It’s the equivalent of putting a solar collector in the shade.
Output from a wind generator is tied to the speed of the wind in a cubic relationship — i.e. doubling the speed available to a wind system increases the power available by eight times. Tall towers that access faster wind speeds can reap larger rewards.
Install your wind generator on the highest tower that is practicable and cost effective for your site. Towers/ Turbine masts for small wind turbines should be at least 6 Metres tall situated in a clear laminar air flow location.
Turbulent winds extend up to two times the height of the obstacle and a distance downwind of 20 times the height of the obstacle.
Place the turbine in the area of smooth laminar air. The diagram illustrates how to test for smooth laminar air using a balloon, tag lines and a tether line.
Small wind turbines are usually considered to be permitted development and do not require planning permission most situations (Check with your local council first). In some instances, you may wish to consider several small wind turbines which maybe less obtrusive than one large turbine.