There is no shortage of wind in the North of England. It is a natural step for professionals in an industry such as agriculture, which already runs off the land, to upgrade to a wind turbine in order to power their businesses.
Agricultural wind turbines are slightly larger than domestic ‘micro turbines’ but vastly smaller than the turbines found in on and offshore wind farms. Despite action from the UK government to make the UK greener, there is still a lot of resistance to making the move to a cleaner energy source. With this in mind, following are some of the main perceived pros and cons of agricultural wind turbines.
Con: A wind turbine produces noise along with energy
An agricultural wind turbine, whilst in motion, is likely to produce around the same level of noise as that of a flowing stream from about 50-100 meters away. You will also find that the noise of the wind itself is often louder than the turbine. Turbines are also situated well away from buildings and structures to reduce turbulence and wind disruption so a turbine shouldn’t be keeping anyone up at night. Contrary to popular belief, turbines also do not disturb livestock either.
Pro: Energy generation
Energy costs in farming are one of the single biggest burdens on the business; an efficient way to work around these often crippling expenses is to produce the energy on site. Gill Mellor of Wold Top Brewery in Yorkshire estimate that their business is 90% wind powered and the other 10% (when the wind isn’t blowing) is more than offset by the funds earned from excess energy production and FiTs.
Con: The wind doesn’t blow all the time
Even in Yorkshire the wind doesn’t blow all the time. On those rare occasions your turbine will not be producing power and your energy will be sourced from a supplier. However, your turbine needs very little wind to function and will often produce a lot of extra energy which will be sold back to your supplier. Any costs for energy sourced from your supplier will be deducted from your earnings and Feed in Tariff.
Additionally, every site is fully surveyed for suitability before installation. A reliable wind turbine installer will only erect a turbine on your property if you will get a significant benefit from doing so.
Pro: Excess energy is fed to the National Grid
Additionally to earning extra cash from resold energy and Feed in Tariffs, your surplus energy will count towards supporting the rest of the UK in a clean and renewable manner.
Con: It may need maintenance
Like any machine your turbine will need some maintenance at some point, although they are very reliable. Wind turbines are expected to last for around 25 years and possibly longer with the correct care; they are also covered by manufacturer’s warranty for the first five years.
Pro: Wind energy is clean and 100% renewable
Whether we harness it or not, the wind will continue to blow. The wind is 100% natural, clean and renewable. By using wind power you are not using up non-renewable resources or harming the O-Zone, environment and eco-system.
Con: The initial outlay for the turbine
Although you will instantly start to see a return on your investment through selling surplus energy to the National Grid, FiTs and significantly reducing or eliminating your energy bills, there is an initial outlay to have the turbine installed. If outright purchase – either immediate or through finance – is not for you then some companies also offer joint-venture and rental options, ensuring that there is something to suit everyone.
With the cost of energy continuing to rise at a rapid rate, it is inevitable that business owners will begin to look for alternative solutions. Unlike nuclear power, wind power is clean and produces no harmful by-products.