Massive increase in capacity from re-powering UK wind turbine fleet possible
It doesn’t seem like that long ago that the UK was in the initial throws of a wind energy revolution. Unfortunately, UK planning policy (and a change of government) stepped in to stop this dead in its tracks.
Many of those trailblazing wind farm developments are now nearing the end of their operational and planning lifetimes and owners of these sites are face with three main options:
- Dismantle the site and reinstate to its former condition;
- Try to extend the planning permission and land lease terms to sweat the original machines for as long as possible;
- ‘Repower’ the site by installing the latest and most efficient machines.
A new report by the ECIU sets out the scale of what could be achieved by facilitating a ‘upgrade’ of these original sites.
Within the industry re-powering is not a new concept, but this doesn’t make the upgrading process any more straightforward than looking at a greenfield development. Many of the limitations to development might have stayed the same in the last 20 years, but much has changed.
The support mechanisms for green energy are far from what they once were, but through increased efficiencies and an improved supply chain the numbers can still add up to make wind energy extremely cost effective.
Planning, technical, environmental and grid constraints all need to be re-assessed so that any revised proposals fit within much tighter limits.
Old land lease agreements will expire or no longer be fit for purpose and new ones will have to be negotiated.
Wilson Fearnall have the expertise to support on technical, planning and land issues for anyone looking to repower an existing wind farm site. We are able to manage the whole project or to provide specific support on any of the individual elements as required.