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Windpower Income and Project Economics

Windpower Income and Project Economics

Windpower Income and Project Economics

Project costs

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
1.5 MW
Factor for
2.5 MW
Additional Turbine(s)
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).

Windpower Income

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 Free 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

If you are in the Republic of Ireland, or overseas, the first step is to consider our modular Windpower Feasibility Study, so please contact us to discuss your site further.

Start the process here: Take the Wind Site Self-Assessment

Already completed the Wind Site Self-Assessment?

Enter your access code here to see the next available module(s):

Alternatively, contact us to talk about a windpower project.