Planning

DO I NEED PLANNING PERMISSION TO INSTALL A WIND TURBINE?

As long as some limits and condition are respected, most domestic wind turbines don’t require a planning permission under new permitted development rights. However, to ensure if you need one, you should contact your local authority to find out.

If a planning permission is required, your neighbours will be consulted to voice any objections they have to the wind turbine. For this reason, it is still good practice to speak to your neighbours before investing time and money in the planning process.

HOW DO I IDENTIFY A SUITABLE SITE FOR MY WIND TURBINE?

There are multiple factors that go into determining a suitable site for your wind turbine. Here are a few factors to keep in mind when deciding where to place your wind turbine:

  • Wind Speed: minimum average wind speeds of 5-6m/s are required to obtain a good return from a wind turbine, potentially higher for commercial developers who are looking to maximise profits.
  • Monitoring Wind Speed: wind speed monitoring is advisable prior to developing a wind energy project, to obtain more accurate data on wind speeds at the height of the proposed turbine, to allow energy output to be estimated. Ideally, monitoring will be undertaken for a full year. Planning permission may be required for the wind monitoring mast.
  • Grid Connection: although some small turbines may be specified for off-grid locations, many will require access to a grid connection point. Underground or overheard power lines can be very expensive, so the closer the site is to a suitable connection point, the better.
  • Spacing: if more than one turbine is being installed, a space of at least five times the diameter of the rotor should be allowed between turbines to optimise power output by reducing wind shadowing and/or turbulence.
  • Access: access for installation also needs to be taking into account. While remote areas may have better wind resources and less impact on the local community, access for vehicles to construct the foundations and transport the turbine blades and mast may be constrained.

DO I NEED A LICENSE TO INSTALL A WIND TURBINE?

A wind turbine typically requires a building permit. Zoning regulations often limit the height, placement, and other characteristics of “appurtenant” structures, so a conditional (special) use permit or variance may be necessary.

HOW MANY TURBINES ARE NEEDED TO POWER A HOUSEHOLD OR FARM?

For a home or farm, one turbine with a power rating of anywhere from 1kW to 25kW is normally installed. The turbine’s size is chosen to meet the energy requirements given the available wind resource.

WILL I HAVE TO CHANGE ANY OF THE WIRING IN MY HOUSE?

No, a wind turbine can easily be installed at virtually any existing home without the need to change any wiring or appliances. In most cases, the utility will install a second utility meter to measure how much surplus electricity it is receiving from the turbine owner.