A question which is is being asked more and more frequently is ‘are we going to run out of sites at which to install wind turbines?’ and this is a question we ask ourselves on a regular basis.
The planning process for a potential wind site is fairly complex and combines the need for an acceptable wind speed, with adherence to specific planning guidelines. For example, an area may have an average wind speed of 8m/s (which is ideal) but it is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), therefore meaning it is highly unlikely that this site will be given planning permission.
Sure enough there will come a time when the windiest spots are all hosting wind turbines. With this in mind, we have considered the development of demand management systems, as well as owning and operating medium size turbines and we have looked into other types of renewable energy technology. However, one thing we have also considered is placing wind turbines in areas of lower average wind speed and it looks like we are not the only ones.
Siemens has developed a portfolio of low-wind option turbines which offer an attractive solution for sites with low wind speeds. In fact, there is a wide range of turbine models which operate at a lower wind speed and this is of crucial significance if we want to continue harvesting the readily available source of wind energy in the UK. This is an exciting time for wind technology and we look forward to seeing how we can play our part in the site development process.