WilloWind Energy is a developer and operator of wind farms in the UK

WILLOWIND ENERGY

Developing a Wind Farm

Rolling Countryside Hills

Site Selection

Site selection is an important part of the wind farm development process. One of the key variables in site selection is analysing the regional wind speed of the site. Other criterion includes the analysis of and effects on:

  • Aviation
  • Telecoms
  • Residents in the vicinity
  • Proximity to grid connection
  • Good transport access from manufacturer to the site
  • Archaeology issues
  • Hydrology
  • Landscape and visual impact assessment
  • General environmental considerations

A lot of analysis and work is put into these areas as WilloWind Energy aims to secure sites and the location of the wind turbines in order to minimise the effects on local people, wildlife and the landscape.

Detailed assessment

Once a site is deemed suitable for wind farm development from the initial site selection criteria it is then progressed further to a detailed assessment. Technical Consultants review the site and its merits on a technical, planning and environmental standpoint.

Scoping

At this stage, a Scoping document is compiled and consultation with third parties that would clearly have an interest in the project would take place. This may include parties such as the Ministry of Defence, the Civil Aviation Authority, the Local Planning Authority and local community groups.

Planning application

In order to prepare a planning application, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) must be carried out. An EIA is a thorough investigation into how the wind farm may affect the local environment. It takes into account a wide range of issues which include, but are not limited to aviation issues, noise, landscape and visual impact issues. It is very important that the EIA is full and comprehensive as this will be heavily scrutinised in the planning application process. Once the EIA is complete it is submitted to the relevant planning authority. Sites that are under 50 MW in size are submitted to the local authority and sites larger than 50 MW are submitted to the central government. Analysing the potential issues, both current and future, enables measures to be put into place to help minimise any adverse impacts before consent is granted.

Financing

Financing is then sought to provide the funding to construct a wind farm. Additional finance can be raised through equity fundraising, bank finance, joint ventures with wind turbine manufacturers or a combination of these. WilloWind Energy have strategic partners who have the above mentioned capabilities to raise the financing required for construction.

Construction

There are a huge range of turbine designs, building contractors and energy suppliers to choose from, so it is important at the beginning of the construction process, to carefully select the right combination for the site. Once all these have been finalised, construction work can begin. Construction of a wind farm usually takes between 12-18 months.

Operation

Once fully operational, it only takes a small team to run and maintain the wind farm. The wind farm can remain running, producing clean and renewable energy for more than 25 years.