The number of homes which can be powered by a typical wind farm
This is calculated by multiplying the installed capacity of the wind farm in megawatts (MW) by the number of hours in a year (8,760) and then multiplying this by the locally independently assessed capacity or load factor (30.0 per cent) expressed as a fraction of 1 (e.g. 0.30).
According to the Government, a typical UK household will consume 3.938MWh of electricity each year.
The capacity or load factor is the actual output of a turbine benchmarked against its theoretical maximum output in a year. The capacity or load factor can either be a site specific calculation based upon the monitored conditions locally and specific site specification, as in this instance, or the official national average load factor as monitored and published by the Government in the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The latest DUKES was published in July 2016. In the figures for July 2015 specifically (as opposed to the rolling average from 2008 to 2013 mentioned below) onshore wind speeds in 2015 in the UK were the highest in the last fifteen years, and up 7.2 per cent (0.6 knots) on 2014. This resulted in the highest onshore wind load factor (on an unchanged configuration basis), at 29.4 per cent, since 1999, and an increase of 3.0 percentage points on 2014. Similarly, offshore wind load factors were at a record 39.7 per cent, 1.9 percentage points up on 2014, reflecting the higher wind speeds and technological advances in newer sites. DUKES 2016, para 5.45, page 124. Please see our links page for a link to DUKES 2016, para 5.45, page 124.
The national average capacity or load factor for wind farms in the UK often cited by the Government and Renewables UK in the media is based on the five year average from 2008 to 2013 figures using data (on an unchanged configuration basis) from the DUKES published by BEIS in July 2013:
For onshore wind this is 27.3 per cent (NB includes England and Scotland. It is generally higher in Scotland than England as Scotland is, in general, windier)
For offshore wind this is 36.9 per cent. (Wind speeds are generally higher offshore)
The load factor for all wind (onshore + offshore) is 30.4 per cent. Please see our links page for more information.
Banks Renewables use the local, independently assessed, capacity or load factor in calculating the performance of our wind farms wherever possible.
For Banks Renewbales Birneyknowe wind farm the sum is: 51MW installed capacity x 0.30 capacity or load factor (local independently assessed capacity or load factor for Birneyknowe) x 8,760 hours in a year / 3.938MWh annual consumption = 34,034 homes.
CO2 – The amount of carbon dioxide saved by a typical wind farm
A typical modern wind turbine has a capacity of two megawatts (MW) and is expected to avoid emissions of over 1,880 tonnes of CO2 in an average year.
The simplest formula to estimate the amount of energy generated by any electricity generating station is:
(Power x Time) x Capacity factor = Energy (electricity) generated
The units of energy normally used are megawatt hours (MWh) and kilowatt hours (kWh) but sometimes Joules (J), Kilojoules (kJ) or Megajoules (MJ).
Power = the rated capacity of the generating station
Time = the number of hours in a year
Capacity factor = an adjustment to take account of the fact that no power station operates at full output all year round
A wind turbine’s output varies with the wind speed and an average modern wind turbine has a capacity factor in the range of 25-30%. This figure should not be confused with the amount of time a wind turbine is generating energy which is much higher (approximately 75%).
Here is a worked example for a 2MW (2000kW) wind turbine over a year:
Power = 2,000kW
Time = 24 hours x 365 days = 8,760 hours
Capacity factor = 0.25 (25%)
Energy = (2,000 x 8,760) x 0.25 = 4,380,000 kWh
The electricity generated by a wind turbine reduces the need to generate electricity from other sources. In the UK these other sources will almost certainly be fossil-fuelled, i.e. coal, oil or gas.
The number of people employed by the UK wind industry
Currently the onshore wind industry in the UK supports around 15,500 jobs. Renewable UK publish a report on the state of the wind industry in the UK. Please see our links page for the latest Renewable UK State of the Wind Energy Industry Report in the UK. Banks Renewables holds events for local companies that are interested in supplying goods and services for the construction of our wind farms.
The investment wind farms can bring local communities
At Banks Renewables, we have led the way in community engagement around the design, building and opertaions of our wind farms. We firmly believe the success of our business depends upon building strong relationships with the communities near our sites and ensuring they see direct social, economic and environmental benefits from our presence in their area. We call this development with care. It is at the heart of all we do. Each project is developed hand-in-hand wth the local community so each is bespoke to that area. But each of wind farms has a community fund. Banks Renewables wind farm community funds have been established to provide financial assistance to community groups, voluntary organisations and the local community in the area of a wind farm. Some of our funds are able to provide support for local training and employment initiatives. The geographical boundaries for fund eligibility will normally be restricted to the community councils or parishes in close proximity to the wind farm. Projects outside of these areas may be eligible if it can be shown that they benefit local people from these areas. Please see our Wind Farms Community Funds page for more information.