How Does a Wind Turbine Work?
The simplest way to think of this is as the reverse of a fan – a fan uses electricity to turn blades which push air. A wind turbine uses wind to turn the blades which, through a generator, is converted into electricity.

How much does a wind turbine cost?
The costs of a wind turbine varies depending on a number of factors, but largely on size. Industrial scale turbines that are used on Wind Farms cost millions of pounds to install whereas a smaller domestic turbine (e.g. one to power a typical home) would typically cost about £20,000. Although the smaller turbines obviously cost a lot less, when compared on a ‘cost per kw of electricity’ basis, the general rule is that the bigger the turbine, the lower the overall cost per Kw.

How do I know if my site is suitable?
If you have a site that you are considering installing a wind turbine in, there are a couple of steps that you can take to move the project along. The first is to consider how close to the electricity grid your site is – are there electricity wires running close by, or is it away out in the open? If you are a long distance from a mains electricity line then the cost of getting connected to the grid may be substantial. The second thing to consider is to get a wind survey carried out. Wind speeds are measured using an anemometer and to be meaningful, the survey should be carried out at the exact location of the proposed site, and should be allowed to run for at least a couple of months. The Energy Saving Trust does not recommend wind turbines in environments where the average wind speed is below 5 meters per second. Ideally, a wind speed in excess of 7-8 meters per second would be preferred.

What are ROCs (Renewable Obligation Certificates)?
Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) is the name for a digital certificate detailing exactly how a unit of electricity was produced. ROCs are designed to encourage the production of electricity from renewable sources. Energy Companies are required to produce 10% of their electricity from renewable sources. ROCS are tradeable, so a electricity producer can continue to generate below the 10% rate, but they would then need to buy ROCs from a cleaner company who has exess ROCS. With this system, ‘dirty’ producers are penalised for not producing renewable energy while clean producers are rewarded for reducing their carbon footprint.

Where can I learn more about Wind Turbines and Wind Energy?
There are several useful websites where you can find out more about Wind Energy. The Energy Saving Trust website has information on the benefits of installing a small-scale wind turbine for domestic use. The BWEA has stats on the current state of the wind power market in the UK, including an interactive Google Map feature showing all wind farms in the UK that are operational, Under construction, Consented or Submitted.