The facts about wind power

Wind turbines in a North East wind farm Photo: ITV Tyne Tees
  • As a result of our geographic location, the energy contained in the winds that pass over the UK is approximately 40% of the energy of all the winds that blow across Europe.
  • Harnessing wind power depends on local conditions, so it is vital to pay particular attention to where turbines are sited.
  • Wind power is most often converted to electricity by means of rotating wind turbines powering generators.
  • The power extracted from the wind varies as the cube of the windspeed, so a doubling in windspeed leads to the power extracted increasing by a factor of eight.
  • Most wind turbine systems are connected to the national electricity grid and the amount the contribute varies depending on windspeed.
  • Wind turbines come with a potential for noise and vibration which has led to opposition to units being positioned close to residential areas.
  • Typical turbine noise level is 52.8 dBA at 25m distance and wind speed of 8 m/s, this compares with whispering or leaves rustling (30dB), or the noise of city centre traffic at 95dB.
  • Large wind turbines usually export all the electricity they generate via a direct connection to the grid, but smaller turbines generally connected into an existing building’s electricity supply.
  • 'Green' power generating systems, including wind turbines, are eligible to benefit from feed-in tariffs, which means surplus electricity sold on to be use in the national grid.
  • An uncomplicated 1kW building mounted system costs approximately £2,000. A 2.5kW turbine would be about £15,000.