The stages involved in developing a wind farm are:
We analyse the wind speed and directions at a site to assess if it is suitable for wind energy generation. This information also feeds into the environmental assessment’s noise study and identification of a suitable turbine model.
Environmental impact assessment
If an initial assessment indicates that a site may be suitable for a wind farm, Wind Prospect undertakes a comprehensive set of studies to evaluate its potential impact on aspects of the environment including ecology, landscape, visual amenity, noise and archaeology. This process also identifies constraints to development and suitable solutions to environmental issues.
If environmental studies do not identify major impacts, then Wind Prospect would progress with a planning application. A typical planning application may take 8 months or longer to be determined.
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Construction of a wind farm may take up to 18 months. Most of this time is spent constructing foundations and infrastructure. The erection of a single turbine can take less than a day.
Once the project is supplying electricity to the national grid, the turbines are monitored around the clock by Wind Prospect’s operations team, with engineers visiting periodically to undertake routine maintenance.
Each turbine is monitored remotely so that we can observe whether there are any abnormalities that pre-empt a fault, such as a temperature rise. This lets us schedule a maintenance visit often before a fault develops. When the wind is blowing our wind farms generate electricity almost all of the time.
With a high level of maintenance and care, a turbine is expected to generate electricity for 25 years. Therefore, the planning permission for wind farms usually relates to a period of 25 operational years. If, at the end of this period, Wind Prospect wishes to continue to operate the wind farm with the same turbines or with new turbines, a new planning permission would be necessary. This provides the opportunity for the project to be re-evaluated from a planning perspective at that time. At the expiry of planning permission, the wind farm infrastructure will be removed and the wind farm area will be restored.
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