Engaging the local community is the key to success for those planning wind farm diversification projects, says director Joe Ridgeon.
The use of wind-generated power is nothing new. For hundreds of years, farmers have harnessed the power of the wind to help them run their businesses, and there can be little doubt that renewable energy will deliver a growing percentage of the electricity we use.
Today, there are an estimated 10,000 wind turbines in the UK with a total installed capacity in excess of 20 gigawatts – enough energy to power about 14 million homes.
The current challenging economic and environmental climates places ever-increasing demands on farmers and rural business owners to operate their businesses in a sustainable way and deliver competitively priced produce to the marketplace. So it’s vital that energy costs are minimised in an environmentally friendly way.
An appropriately sized wind turbine on, critically, the right site must maximise use of this free, natural resource and once installed, will provide a long-term source of renewable energy.
But for those looking to develop their wind farm projects, design and location can have a profound impact on long-term productivity and profitability. The key to success is to maximise energy production while minimising capital and operating costs. It’s also important to stay within the constraints imposed by the site. These cover environmental and noise considerations, the location of local dwellings, site access, ease of connectivity to the grid and site boundaries among other factors.
A key component in securing success for a wind farm project is public consultation. Planning applications proposing wind energy development that include one or more turbines, will ‘not be considered acceptable’where it is not in an area identified as suitable by the development plan. Furthermore, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that the proposal must also have undergone consultation and it must be shown that the proposal has the backing of the local community.
Expert planning advice and guidance will be an important step on the path to wind energy success. That’s why engaging professional help from Hedley Planning Services can be so important.