The cost of the wind turbine project depends on the number of wind turbines and their size. For simplicity the table below shows the typical costs for a single 500 kW wind turbine, then multiplication factors that can be applied for larger 1.5 MW and 2.5 MW wind turbines, then a percentage to increase that by for multiple-turbine projects.
|Project Stage||1 x 500 kW||Factor for
|Development – feasibility||£5k||x 1||x 1||x 25%|
|Development – planning consent||£50k||x 1.5||x 2||x 50%|
|Installation||£1,345k||x 1.65||x 2.25||x 95%|
For example, if you are considering three 2.5 MW wind turbines and would like to know roughly what the planning consent process would cost, multiply the ‘1 x 500 kW’ planning consent cost of £50k by 2 to give the budget price for a single 2.5 MW wind turbine, then increase this by 100% (2 x 50%) to give the budget estimate for three 2.5 MW wind turbines, so £50k x 2 x 100% = £200k.
Obviously these are budget costs but would be typical for a normal site and assume using good quality wind turbines (which we’d always recommend).
The income you would receive for the energy generated by a wind turbine is discussed in more detail on the Feed in Tariff for wind turbines, and other sources of income page.
The actual income from a wind turbine varies significantly depending on the average wind speed at the site (see the How much wind energy could I generate from a farm wind turbine? page), so the revenue shown in the table on the How much wind energy income would a farm wind turbine provide? page comprises the net income after maintenance costs, business rates and land rental (latter assumed at 8% of gross income) have been deducted.
Note that the smaller 1.5 MW wind turbine generates a higher income than the larger 2.5 MW for all but the highest wind speeds because a single 1.5 MW wind turbine gets a higher Feed-in-Tariff, and also because it has a blade diameter almost the same as the 2.5 MW turbine. Although this looks odd it is correct.
The revenues shown are for a single-turbine that fits within the FiT project size banding. It is a little more difficult to work the same out for multiple-turbine projects because, for example, 3 x 500 kW wind turbines do not generate the same as a 1 x 1.5 MW wind turbine, and also because larger projects attract a lower Feed-in-Tariff. The exact project revenues for your project would be worked out during the feasibility process.
Payback periods/Internal Rate of Return (IRRs)
Based on the project costs and incomes outlined above for single-turbine projects, the simple payback periods and IRRs shown on the What would the return on investment be from a farm wind turbine? page would be achieved for the different annual average wind speeds shown. It is too complicated to work the equivalent out for multiple-turbine projects, but this should still give you a good idea of the economic viability of a community wind project.
Want to install a wind turbine?
If you are in the UK then take our Wind Site Self-Assessment - Step 1 of our modular Windpower Feasibility Study. It takes about 20 minutes to work through the basic checks to see if your site might be suitable, including:
- Estimating wind speed
- Checking proximity of nearby properties
- Checking site access and approach roads
- Investigating connection with the grid