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This article is from GreenWind, a renewable energy company dedicated to fostering a greener planet. Our team of renewable energy professionals is committed to applying their expertise to advance this vital industry. We are deeply concerned about the global crisis and climate change, and our mission is to promote the spread of renewable energy worldwide. 

In this article, we will discuss our current project: the construction of a wind farm in the UK. This research has been conducted by our outstanding team: Haiya and Jiahui. 

Location 1 

Coordinates: 54°48'41.6"N 3°19'34.0"W 

  • Advantages: 
  • Near transportation routes, facilitating easy access for construction and maintenance. 
  • Minimal population density, reducing the potential for local opposition. 
  • The area is far from peatland. 
  • Substation connection distance of 27 km to HARK1 132kV substation. 
  • Disadvantages: 
  • Potential disturbance to local residents, including retirees and job seekers. 
  • Close to the coast and Lake District National Park. 

 

Location 2 

Coordinates: 55°54'35.7"N 4°42'38.4"W 

  • Advantages: 
  • Accessible by road and close to a large town. 
  • Disadvantages: 
  • Proximity to nature sites, raising environmental concerns. 
  • Risk of property value decline, affecting local residents. 
  • Substation connection distance of 154 km, significantly increasing grid connection costs. 
  • Existing wind farm nearby (Inverclyde Windfarm), leading to potential wake losses. 

Location 3 

Coordinates: 56°27'23.59"N 4°04'29.99"W 

  • Advantages: 
  • Proximity to existing wind farms, indicating good wind conditions. 
  • Near major towns and transportation routes. 
  • Disadvantages: 
  • Complex hilly terrain, requiring extensive modifications for transportation and construction. 
  • Significant substation connection distance of 163 km, leading to high costs. 

Location 4 

Coordinates: 53°39'54.0"N 0°04'36.9"W 

  • Advantages: 
  • Flat terrain, facilitating easy construction. 
  • Close to major road access. 
  • Substation connection distance of 14 km, with moderate grid connection costs. 
  • Disadvantages: 
  • Proximity to coastal tourist villages, potentially affecting tourism and local businesses. 
  • High likelihood of local opposition due to visual and noise impacts. 

Location 5 

Coordinates: 52.059273°, -3.54905° 

  • Advantages: 
  • Far from residential areas, minimizing local opposition. 
  • Major road access for construction material transport. 
  • High wind speed at 8.74 m/s and moderate elevation at 433m. 
  • Disadvantages: 
  • Proximity to nearby farms, potentially affecting agricultural activities. 
  • Substation connection distance of 36 km, adding to grid connection costs. 

Location 6 

Coordinates: 56°25'20.5"N 4°16'09.7"W, Scotland 

  • Advantages: 
  • Near major roads A84 and A85, facilitating transportation. 
  • Away from major residential areas and airports. 
  • No peat found in the area, reducing environmental impact risks. 
  • Disadvantages: 
  • Complex hilly terrain, requiring modifications for transport routes. 
  • Proximity to natural parks, necessitating careful environmental considerations. 
  • Long substation connection distance of 184 km, with very high associated costs. 

Based on the characteristics of the locations, we have selected location 1 and location 5 for in-depth investigation using OpenWind software. In this software, a set of 3 turbines has been placed in the area with the highest wind speed. The loss values have not been considered yet. This method has been used to provide equal conditions to better compare the power generation from the two locations. 

Location 1 

 Location 1

Location 5 

Location 5

 As can be noticed, the net energy from location 1 is higher compared to location 6. Therefore, we should choose location 1. 

Turbine placement 

  • Turbines hub height

     

“Placement of turbines have great influence on the turbine efficiency and power output. Generally, it is desired that turbines be placed on tall masts as these sites favour good wind speed conditions. Turbulence can cause substantial fluctuating velocity components in the wind vector; in the vertical direction this is a major problem. Vertical fluctuations can lead to cross-blade air flow that can significantly reduce output and can even damage the rotor blades. 

We chose to find areas where the turbines could be placed on the pinnacle of a hill and in a place where they would least effect other neighbouring turbines. The turbines also benefit from delayed flow separation when placed on hills. Having reduced flow separation in turbine locations is desired as separation can induce the onset of turbulence thus creating a velocity profile that is not favourable for the turbine’s performance. Crests of cliffs were avoided to ensure the turbines did not have to negotiate strong turbulent updrafts. Ensuring the turbines see a relatively uniform velocity profile within the boundary layer is essential and the masts of hills allow this. Additionally, the topography studied here has very little fetch effects that need to be considered as the site has similar terrain to that surrounding it. This means the velocity profile over the site will be relatively steady and thus sustaining better wind formation. 

The prevailing wind distances from each turbine to the following for the turbines of concern were analysed. This was measured in google earth using a line probe that considered local topography and was to ensure that each turbine had sufficient spacing as, to meet the requirement of the 5-9 RD spacing in the prevailing wind direction and the 3-5 RD spacing in the perpendicular wind direction. This minimises the wake loss. It was measured that each distance is indeed sufficient and thus the non-uniform velocity induced on the wind, through the rotor aerofoils from wake effects (due to tip losses, downwash, and swirl effects) will become more or less uniform by the time the velocity profile meets the next successive turbine in the prevailing wind direction.Figure 6 shows the proposed turbine sites.” 

 

  • Shadow and noise flickering 

Based on the figure below, it is evident that the areas with higher prevailing winds are located near small towns. To maintain a safe distance between the residential area and the wind turbines, we have arranged for the turbines to be surrounded by small towns at a distance of approximately 890m. This distance is roughly seven times the turbine rotor diameters of 126m and 128m ensuring that the conditions of noise and shadow flicker are preserved. 

 Shadow and noise flickering

Technical design 

Technical losses  

Predicting technical losses in a wind farm involves analysing and modelling various factors that can affect the energy production. These factors include availability, performance, environmental conditions, and specific technical issues. 

  1. Enviromental losses:  Losses due to icing, extreme temperatures, and other environmental conditions which generally 0.5%- 3%. 
  1. icing and blades soiling losses it is very difficult to estimated but has high influence of the wind turbines   https://www.dnv.com/cases/the-challenge-of-predicting-icing-losses-98806/,  
  1. blade degradation Wind turbines are found to lose 1.6±0.2% of their output per year, with average load factors declining from 28.5% when new to 21% at age 19. Therefore, we have estimated to be (1.4%) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261600738_How_does_wind_farm_performance_decline_with_age,low  
  1. temperature shutdown: due to the low temperature of the UK weather, we have predicted a shutdown temperature of the turbine of 0.1%. 
  1. Windfarm availability: The proportion of time the wind turbine is operational including the substation and grid availability to the project location 3%-5%. 
  1. Electrical (Cable Array) Losses: Losses due to the resistance in cables and other electrical components typically larger for a large project and long connection cables 1% - 4%. 
  1. WTG Performance Losses: Losses due to the actual performance of the turbine compared to its rated performance 1%- 3%. 
  1. Curtailments:  to the reduction in potential energy production from a wind farm due to various external or internal constraints that limit the ability to generate and deliver electricity. The key factors contributing to curtailment losses include grid limitations, market conditions, regulatory requirements, and operational decisions 0% - 2%. 

Setting the technical losses in the software, will help us to predict the load factor value. Which approximately 30% - 50%. 

 

The following figures show the resultant power generation of the location where we have used five 5MW turbines and two 4.5MW turbines. 

 resultant power generation

resultant power generation - Values

Social impact 

Community Updates and Communication Channels 

Activity 

Monthly Community Meeting 

Presents updates on the project’s progress, construction timelines, and any relevant environmental impact assessments. 

 

Website 

Visit this platform to access project documents, view visualizations, and participate in discussion forums. 

 

Newsletter and Mailings 

 

Updates, upcoming events, and contact information. Additionally, the team sends direct mailings for major milestones. 

Social Media Presence 

Maintains social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter), allowing community members to ask questions and share their thoughts. 

 

 

 

Compensations 

Benefits 

Noise Mitigation Fund 

Community Investment 

 

Visual Impact Compensation 

Job Creation 

 

Traffic Disruption Compensation 

 

Educational Outreach 

 

 

Social Impact

 

Environment impact 

  • Project planning   

Large Wind Farms (>50 MW):   

These are considered Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP).   

They require “development consent” instead of regular planning permission.   

The Planning Inspectorate evaluates these projects and recommends decisions to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.   

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is usually part of the process.   

Decisions align with the National Policy Statement on Energy Infrastructure and local plans.   

   

Smaller Wind Farms (<50 MW):   

Local Planning Authorities publicize proposed developments after formal submission.   

The public has a timeframe to view and comment on the proposal.   

Applicants can also initiate their own consultation process before submitting the application. 

  • Ground conditions 

 Ground conditions

The peatland is slightly far from the turbine location, thus has minimum impact.   

  • Landscape and visual 

 Landscape and visual

The minimum to the surrounding natural sites is the Solway coast AONB, which is 5.77km away from location 1. South Solway Mosses National Reserve Park is about 6km from the nearest turbines. The border of Lake District National Park is more than 13km away from turbine sites. North Pennines AONB is more than 40km from the proposed wind farm site. 

  • Landscape wind energy capacity study in council website 

 Landscape wind energy capacity study

The landscape wind capacity energy balances energy & environmental impact (moderate landscape capacity). 

  • Forestry 

 Forestry

There are only 3 small areas of ancient woodland or forest close to the proposed wind farm, we don’t need to remove them during turbine construction. 

  • Access 

 Access

The wind farm site is about 7.51km from the port-Silloth, which is very convenient for the turbine components transport. 

  • Cultural heritage 

 Cultural heritage

The figure shows the surrounding monuments and heritage sites, the turbine sites are outside the buffer zone, and about 5 km from the nearest monuments. 

  • Biodiversity 

Biodiversity

RSPB reserve is farm away from the proposed wind farm. The nearest SSSI is about 5 km away from the turbine sites. Bats and birds' habitats are more than 5 km away, we will invest more in contributing to protecting the environment.  

  • Culmulative impact 

 Culmulative impact

There are several adjacent wind farms, we can create a buffer zone, and adopt a regular layout to minimize effect.

Financial planning 

Cost Breakdown 

Our funding request is driven by the need to cover the initial capital investments required for the development and construction of the wind farm. This includes the purchase and installation of wind turbine generators (WTG), balance of plant costs, and grid connection expenses which constitute the majority of our initial expenditures. Additionally, investments in community engagement, environmental assessments, and expert consultancy are essential to ensure the project's success and compliance with regulatory requirements which has been illustrated in the table below. 

Budget of Planning and Construction: 

Item 

Cost (£) 

WTG Cost 

17,100,000.00 

Balance of Plant (BoP) 

4,275,000.00 

Grid Connection (27 km) 

20,250,000.00 

Community Fund 

95,000.00 

Environmental Impact Assessment 

100,000.00 

Engagement Plan 

40,000.00 

Wind Mast 

235,245.00 

Development and Consenting Services 

50,000.00 

Engineering and Expertise Consultancy 

76,000.00 

Total 

41,986,245.00 

 

Additionally, we have found a grant from RCEF Stage of £40,000 (non-repayable) that can be used to reduce the Badget cost. 

Bank loan 

We have chosen a loan option from Equate Wind Farm Project for less than £50 million with a favourable interest rate of 1%. This low interest rate significantly enhances the project's financial feasibility and expected profitability. The bank loan has been set to 20,000,000.  

 Bank loan

 

  • initial Years: The first 10 years show significant annual losses due to high initial costs, loan repayments, and interest.
  • Recovery Phase: Starting from year 11, the project begins to generate positive annual gains due to the consistent income from operations and reduced financial burdens from the loan repayments.
  • Profitability: By year 14, the project achieves a positive cumulative gain of £521,112.

 

Investment: NPV method 

In the first 10 years of the project, the profits will be used to pay back the bank loan. After year 10 and for the remainder of the project's duration, we plan to reinvest the profits. However, after using the NPV method 2, we found that the project is not feasible for investment as the NPV is negative. The following table illustrate the calculation made using the least discount rate value option from windfarm investments. 

investing starting from year 10 

Total CF 

PV factor (DR of 7.5%) 

End of year balance 

0 

-£ 1,526,557.13  

1 

-£                 1,526,557.13  

1 

 £  2,473,442.87  

0.117647059 

 £                      290,993.28  

2 

 £  2,473,442.87  

0.01384083 

 £                        34,234.50  

3 

 £  2,396,966.26  

0.001628333 

 £                           3,903.06  

4 

 £  2,396,966.26  

0.000191569 

 £                               459.18  

5 

 £  2,396,966.26  

2.25375E-05 

 £                                  54.02  

6 

 £  2,396,966.26  

2.65147E-06 

 £                                     6.36  

7 

 £  2,396,966.26  

3.11937E-07 

 £                                     0.75  

8 

 £  2,396,966.26  

3.66985E-08 

 £                                     0.09  

9 

 £  2,396,966.26  

4.31747E-09 

 £                                     0.01  

10 

 £  2,396,966.26  

5.07938E-10 

 £                                     0.00  

11 

 £  2,396,966.26  

5.97574E-11 

 £                                     0.00  

12 

 £  2,396,966.26  

7.03028E-12 

 £                                     0.00  

13 

 £  2,396,966.26  

8.27092E-13 

 £                                     0.00  

14 

 £  2,396,966.26  

9.7305E-14 

 £                                     0.00  

15 

 £  2,396,966.26  

1.14476E-14 

 £                                     0.00  

 

 

total years of balance 

 £                      329,651.25  

 

 

total NPV 

-£                 1,196,905.88 

 

 

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