Site Suitability for Wind Turbines
It may be an obvious thing to say but wind turbines require wind to turn them. This means that they need to be constructed in a place where they will receive as much wind as possible in order to generate enough electricity to justify the cost of building them. A wind turbine which does not receive much wind and barely turns is of minimal use and will ultimately be just an expensive statue.
The windiest places are those which are exposed (i.e. not in built-up areas) and those which are high up such as on a hill. Unfortunately this creates conflict between the local community and those wishing to build wind turbines or wind farms in the area. This is because exposed hills are found in the countryside where no existing buildings are present, which means they are unspoilt areas of natural beauty, so any construction project whether it is a wind turbine, houses, shopping centre or indeed any other structure is likely to be met with opposition, particularly in a relatively small landmass such as the United Kingdom where available land is at a premium.
To compound the problem, building a turbine on top of a hill will mean that it can be seen for miles around, causing residents spread over a significant area of land to oppose the building as it will spoil the view out of their windows. The same argument also applies to offshore wind farms where a large number of turbines are built off the coast out to sea, as this spoils the coastal view for local residents and visitors to the area. There are also noise concerns associated with certain types of wind turbines too as the blades rotate.
Household Wind Turbines - Advantages and Disadvantages
The increase in environmental education and awareness, in conjunction with rising energy bills, has resulted in numerous households taking advantage of this free source of energy. Saying this, although the wind energy itself is free, it can still be costly to erect and construct a wind turbine. There may also be a requirement to carry out work to increase the structural stability of a roof so that it can support the weight of the turbine upon it, again creating additional expense before the financial benefits of the wind turbine can be enjoyed. The visual impact associated with large turbines mentioned at the top of this page is also apparent on a smaller scale when they are built on private property. As such, planning permission may be required before the turbine is constructed, especially if it is to go on or near a listed building for example.