Rural sites hold wind energy potential

Rural areas hold the greatest potential for energy generated by wind turbines, a study for the Carbon Trust revealed today.

The report found that rural sites can create four times as much electricity and carbon savings as urban areas ? mainly due to wind speeds generally being higher in rural areas.

And it warned that in many urban situations, roof-mounted turbines may not pay back their embedded carbon emissions.

For small-scale wind energy to be successful the report said higher height limits for stand-alone turbines should be allowed under permitted development rights.

It also called for a criterion to be used in any new grant schemes to measure likely carbon savings.

The report published today marks the culmination of 18 months of research by the Met Office and Entec, and is partly intended for government policymakers.

The research found that small wind turbines could provide up to 1.5 terawatt hours (TWh) per year of electricity (0.4 per cent of total UK electricity consumption) and 0.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emission savings.

This is based on ten per cent of households installing turbines at costs competitive with grid electricity, which is currently around 12p per kWh.

Dr Mark Williamson, director of Carbon Trust innovations, said: "Small-scale wind energy is attracting growing interest, and at the Carbon Trust we are receiving increasing enquiries from organisations considering installing small turbines.

"It's vital that people understand the wind resources available to them, and we hope they find the guidance in our report useful."

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