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Time to start trusting what you can see, Wind Energy!

 

ELSYS Logo         Time to start trusting what you can’t see, Wind Energy!

 

-A Project by ELSYS

                                     

Due to this increase in environmental deterioration caused, there is an emergency for the entire globe to switch from traditional methods to a sustainable, reliable, and environmentally friendly source of energy in every sector. Hence, our team at ELSYS are passionate about bringing this change for the betterment of the near future. This article aims to provide all the necessary steps from choosing the appropriate location to the finance model and considers all its impact.

What might be the impacts if it just uses wind and is situated in a remote area?

Well, there are many impacts, positive and negative as well, which we will come across, as we progress in the article. The highlight of this article will be choosing an appropriate location that provides sufficient wind velocity so that maximum power can be produced which in turn will make the maximum profit to the company, keeping in mind reserved lands. This is done with the aid of software like WAsP, Google pro and Magic maps. The other main aims are to look after the social and environmental constraints and what reform changes our Project can bring to the community nearby. And finally, to plan the finances for the selected number of turbines.

1. Choosing the location for the Wind Farm, three main reasons drew our attention:

Hilly Terrain

When wind turbines are mounted on top and windward side of the hills, they benefit from higher wind speed and lower turbulence intensity. Nevertheless, the performance of a downstream turbine is reduced as it is subjected to the wake of the upstream hill or turbine. Meanwhile, the wind turbines on hilly terrain show a rather rapid recovery compared to the ones on flat terrain when it comes to thrust and power coefficients. Additional benefits of placing the wind turbines on hilly terrains also include delay of flow separation on the leeward side of the hill. Flow separation is known to be responsible for performance losses [1]. Besides the wind farm construction at location 3 can begin without any significant woodland removal, making the project more environmentally friendly. Moreover, this mitigates deforestation costs.

Fig 1: Image of location

Fig 1: Image of location

Local Resistance to the Project

When it comes to wind farms opposition by local people is always present. Recent studies show the opposition is not limited to spatial proximity to the proposed development but rather extends to anticipated visibility that is directly available of the project [2]. Concerns about the project include:

  • Spoiling the Landscape
  • Noise Pollution
  • Harmful to wildlife especially birds
  • Possible interception with radar systems and TV reception

Carefully observing the profiles we are given, we progress to choose location 3 as it has one of the lowest local resistances relatively. This is depicted by the data we are given where 50% of the opinions are in favour of the project.

Fig 2: Resistance towards wind Farm

Fig 2: Resistance towards wind Farm

 

Distance to Substation

Location 3 is just 10 km away from the 132kV Braco Substation. This substation is able to accommodate up to 60MW which covers all the wind turbine capacity to be developed in the area. Given the high cost of transportation of electrical power, we thought a close by substation to be very profitable [3].

Fig 3: Power station

Fig 3: Power station

2. Turbine Selection

For the proposed windfarm 10, 5.6MW turbines have been selected in the positional arrangement shown in Figure 1. With a hub height of 110m and a rotor diameter of 150m, the large turbine selection allows for greater yield potential in the chosen location.

Fig 4: Proposed wind farm map

Fig 4: Proposed wind farm map

Through the use of WAsP software, the optimum arrangement for the proposed wind farm was created to ensure its efficiency. Areas with a mean wind speed of 8.6m/s or greater were considered for the ideal site area of the windfarm. It was also important to consider the wake effects of the nearby Braes of Doune wind farm, highlighted in Figure 1 in the black oval, as well as the wake losses incurred by the turbines in the farm itself. The neighbouring farm is composed of 36 Vestas V80 2MW turbines, placed ahead of the proposed ELSYS windfarm in the wind direction. [4]Wake losses can also be incurred by turbines being aligned in the prevailing wind direction, which in this case is W/WSW. In order to mitigate these effects, it was ensured that turbines were placed between 5 and 9 rotor diameters apart in the prevailing wind direction, and between 3 and 5 diameters apart in the direction perpendicular to the prevailing wind. Taking these factors into account, it was ensured that wake losses for each turbine site remained below 10%.

By connecting to the Grid through the nearby 132KV Braco substation, the capacity of the windfarm is limited to 60MW, and so 10 turbines were chosen to produce a farm capacity of 56MW. The gross AEP of the ELSYS windfarm was calculated to be 259,221 MWh.

After taking into account the following:

  • Wake losses: calculated for each turbine site
  • Wind farm availability: 3%
  • Electrical losses: 2%
  • Turbine performance: 2%
  • Environmental losses: 3%
  • Curtailment: 1%

The net AEP of the windfarm was calculated to be 218,285 MWh.

3. Finance:

To ensure that the proposed wind farm is both profitable and worthwhile, a 25-year projection of the project’s finances was carried out. An outline of this project financial plan is as follows.

Revenue

The Net AEP of the proposed windfarm is 245,264 MW. After accounting for additional technical losses highlighted in the table below, the Net AEP of the proposed windfarm is calculated to be 218,295 MW. With electricity being sold at a price of £70 per MW, this generates a turbine revenue of £15,279,947 per year.

 

Additional AEP Losses

Wind farm availability (%)

Electrical losses (%)

Turbine performance (%)

Environmental losses (%)

Curtailment (%)

3

2

2

3

1

Table 1: Revenue 

 Initial Costs

The proposed wind farm will be composed of 10 5.6MW turbines. At a unit cost of £4,334,400, the turbines will amount to a CAPEX value of £43,334,000. Installation of the turbines, transport and laying of foundations is 25% of the WTG cost, amounting to a value of £10,836,000. In order to connect to the Grid, cables will be laid to the Braco substation 10km away. At a rate of £750,000 per km, the Grid connection for the wind farm will amount to £7,500,000. In order to assess the effects of the proposed windfarm on the surrounding environment, an Environmental Impact Assessment will be carried out by a professional body to ensure that potential negative impacts can be mitigated. For this, £50,000 is allocated in the budget of the project.

 COSTS

Grid connection

£7,500,000

Community Benefit per year

£280,000

Turbine Units Total

£43,344,000

Location Rent per year

-        £922,797

-        £1,230,396

Turbine maintenance per year

£4,334,400

Social development plan

£4,000,000

Installation 

£10,836,000

EIA

£50,000

Table 2: Cost

Yearly Costs

A community benefit is being paid to the local residents, paid at the Scottish rate of £5000 per MW of the farm annually. For a 56MW wind farm, this value amounts to £7,000,000 over the lifespan of the project. This is divided up per year, resulting in an annual community benefit value of £280,000.

£4,000,000 is also allocated to our social development plan to maximise the positive impact of the site on the local community.

To ensure efficient operation of the turbine units, annual maintenance will be carried out, amounting to an OPEX value of £4,334,400 per year for the wind farm.

Location rent of the land costs £6,000 plus 6% of the windfarm revenue per year for the first 13 years, amounting to £922,797 per year. After this, the rent of the land costs £8,000 plus 8% of the windfarm revenue per year, amounting to £1,230,396 per year.

Taking the first 12 months of build time as “Year 0”, location rent is also taken into account for this year at £922,797. At the end of Year 0, a cost of £62,730,000 is incurred due to the initial capital costs of turbine units, installation, grid connection, location rent, and the EIA.

For this reason, a £70,000,000 loan is to be taken out for the windfarm to accommodate these costs, plus to cover any unforeseen circumstances. An interest rate of 3% is applied to this, with the initial loan being paid back to the bank over the first ten years of the project. A payment of £7,000,000 is made per year with an interest value of £2,100,000.

To summarise,

Costs and Revenue Over Project Lifetime

Turbine Revenue Total

Location Rent

Total

Loan Interest Total

Community Benefit Total

Turbine Maintenance Total

Windfarm Capex Total

£381,998,680

£27,683,905

£2,100,000

£280,000

£108,360,000

£61,720,000

Table 3

 

Taking away the costs from the revenue generated from the turbines, a profit of £181,844,775 is made at the end of the project lifespan.

A break-even analysis of the project over its 25-year lifespan is highlighted below.

Graph showing Break Even Analysis

Figure 5: 26-year Breakeven analysis of project

As can be seen from the break-even chart, a profit is made after Year 8 of the project. This means that the bank loan will be repaid with interest in time and the wind farm will continue to generate a profit for the rest of its lifespan, highlighting the viability of the project.

4. Social and Environmental Impact:

Location 3 Environmental Description

When viewing location 3 via Google Earth, it is on the top of a grassy hill. There is a forest 1 km down the hill. The location is away from the resident’s area, and it is only 10 km away from the Braco substation.

In terms of landscape and visuals, according to the Magic Map website, there are two National Parks (Immervoulin Caravan & Camping Park, and Loch Lubnaig) and one National Forest (Pendreich Forest) within 20 km distance. [5]

In terms of biodiversity, there are seven Special Areas of Conservation (SACs): Glenartney Juniper Wood 8.1 km, Kippenrait Glen 13.4 km, River Teith 13.6 km, Shelforkie Moss 13.8km, Flanders Moss 14.1 km, Upper Stratheam Oakwood 14.8 km, and Trossachs Woods 15.3 km within 20 km.

Figure 6: Map showing SACs

Figure 6: Map showing SACs

 

There more than 20 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) within 20 km. The closest one is Loch Mahaick 3.8 km South-West of location 3.

Other sites nearby include:

  • Glenartney Jupiter Wood 8.2 km
  • Westerton Water Meadow 7.8 km
  • Leny Quarry 10 km
  • Loch Watston 10.2 km
  • Quoigs Meadow 12.2 km
  • Ochtertyre Moss 12.7 km
  • Kippenrait Glen 13.2 km
  • Carsebreck and Rhynd Lochs 13.8 km
  • Flanders Moss 14.1 km
  • Wolf’s Hole Quarry 14.4 km
  • Drummond Lochs 15 km
  • Lake of Menteith 15.5 km
  • Shrigarton Moss 16 km
  • Loch Macanrie Fens 17.1 km
  • Killorn Moss 17.2 km
  • Craig Leith and Myreton Hill 19 km
  • Bog Wood and Meadow 20 km

Figure 7: Map showing SSSIs

Figure 7: Map showing SSSIs

There are two Ramsar sites and two Special Protection Areas (SPAs) both are the same location with the same name “South Tayside Goose Roots.” The first one is 13 km East of location 3 near Braco and the second site is 14.7 km North-East of location 3 near Drummond Park.

Figure 8: Map showing Ramsar Sites and SPAs

Figure 8: Map showing Ramsar Sites and SPAs

There are 11 Seabird Nesting Counts within 20 km. The closest location is only 6.6 km North-East away.

Figure 9: Map showing Seabird Nesting Counts

Figure 9: Map showing Seabird Nesting Counts

 

There is no ancient woodland, no RSPB, and no SWT reserved area.

In terms of archaeology and cultural heritage, there are no World Heritage Sites, Monuments, or any site of culture or religion within 5 km from location 3.

In terms of aviation, there is only one airfield named Strathallan Airfield 19.2 km away from location 3.

According to the Scotland Soil map website, location 3 is not considered a high-value agricultural land classification, it is classified as 6.1 Land capable of use as rough grazing with a high proportion of palatable plants. [6]

Figure 10: Soil Map

Figure 10: Soil Map

In terms of cumulative impact, there is a neighbouring wind farm 500 m West from location 3. This resulted in a wake effect, which causes turbulence flow making our wind farm not generating power at its maximum potential.

Location 3 Environmental and Social Impact

Fig 11: Impact on other animals

Fig 11: Impact on other animals

The wind farm construction at location 3 can begin without any significant woodland removal, making the project more environmentally friendly. Moreover, this mitigates deforestation costs. The site is away from houses and residents enough that there would not be any issues with noises for the turbine or shadow flickers. However, since the site is in a rural area and separated from the civilization, there are many biodiversities and important sites within 20 km. The construction process of the wind farm will cause environmental issue to the local wildlife and the conservation area. In addition, the site is close to seabird nesting counts which the turbine might hit these flying birds. However, since there is a neighbouring wind farm right next to the site, some of the local wildlife will already have moved out of the area or have gotten used to the wind farm. The animals already migrate away and build their habitats in other areas. The birds adapt themselves and establish new flying routes that avoid the neighbouring turbines so it is likely that these birds would not injury by collision with our turbines. Therefore, the environmental impact is acceptable.

In term of social impact, even though the wind farm is away from the local houses and past all the noises and shadow flickers restrictions, the residents are still reluctant to support the project. According to the local resident’s opinion from the brief, some say that these turbines destroy the natural view which is an inevitable fact. Therefore, we need to offer the local community something as a return. Firstly, bringing the wind farm to the community has the potential to bring them jobs for the project lifetime. This will improve the economics of the town. Moreover, we can offer dual land uses to the locals, since According to the Scotland Soil map website the soil in location 3 is classified as 6.1 land capable of use as rough grazing with a high proportion of palatable plants. The land can be used to grow palatable plants to feed the livestock. The locals can rent our wind farm and let their livestock roam. This both benefit us and locals, so we can reduce the cost of trimming the grass and clean the land monthly. The land will be used in the most profitable ways. In addition, wind farms help stabilize the energy prices for the community. This is because the produced energy can be sold to the community directly at a fixed price of £70/MWh, by sending an agreement to the locals, this can provide them with a stabilizing electricity cost [7].

Finally, we can offer community benefit, and in Scotland, the price is £5000 per installed MW. Our site has 10 turbines producing a total of 56 MW. The total community benefit is £280,000.

To mitigate the issue with view and tourism in the area, there is going to be an education site at our wind farm. The site going to contain information on our wind farm details, wind energy, renewable energy, financial plan of our site, technical details about the turbine, and other useful information about the wind farm. The site will be a landmark for any students, educators, locals, and others who want to know and study about wind energy. This going to become a model site that inspires and educates others. Moreover, we going to create a walking and biking route around our wind farm so the viewer can see the turbines and livestock in the area. It going to become a new tourist attraction. This will also bring other businesses to the area. For example, souvenir stores, rent bikes, and restaurants. Hence, the residents will get a benefit from more job chances and the economics of the town will grow. We can contact the university, or local high school to organize a field trip program. A shuttle bus route around the wind farm can be added, and open a video explaining each part of the site and some brief information. This project will have a lot of positive social impact since it promotes and raises awareness about clean energy to the public while not disrupting the tourism industry, bring jobs to the area, educate visitors, and improve the town's economics.

Engagement Plan

Fig 12: Engagement plan

Fig 12: Engagement plan

Firstly, we will approach and inform the locals by advertising wind energy to make them understand that it is a renewable clean energy that the turbines do not emit greenhouse gases during generate electrical energy. We can advertise by creating a website, writing articles in the local newspaper, raise awareness through television, radio, and send a letter to each resident. We will set up a team that deals with the community throughout the project lifetime, the team will keep in contact with the community representative. Moreover, surveys will be sent to the locals to know their opinions about the project. We will give out information about the construction plan and details of our project. In terms of the resident's concerns, the community can call us, contact us via email, social media, or through the community representative to express their needs or concerns, which our team will listen to and aim to help.

 

 

References: 

[1]

Wind characteristics in wind farms situated on a hilly terrain, "Science direct," 2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167610517306372. [Accessed 28 05 2021].

[2]

"National Wind Watch," 2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2020/06/19/as-wind-power-grows-in-europe-so-does-resistance-from-locals/. [Accessed 29 05 2021].

[3]

Power transmission, "Wikipedia," 2020. [Online]. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_power_transmission. [Accessed 30 05 2021].

[4]

Thewindpower.net, "Thewindpower.net," 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.thewindpower.net/windfarm_en_1357_braes-of-doune.php. [Accessed 30 May 2021].

[5]

"Magic.defra.gov.uk.," 2021. [Online]. Available: https://magic.defra.gov.uk/MagicMap.aspx. [Accessed 30 May 2021].

[6]

M. 2. S. S. -. s. m. [. A. a. h. [. 2. M. 2021]., "Map.environment.gov.scot," 2021. [Online]. Available: https://map.environment.gov.scot/Soil_maps/?layer=1. [Accessed 30 May 2021].

[7]

"US Department of Energy," 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/56386.pdf. [Accessed 30 May 2021].

 

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