Climate change is one of the biggest challenges the world is facing right now. Environment pollution caused by human activities has increased the Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere to an alarming level. Experts have concluded that environmental pollution can result in unexpected weather patterns, intensity of extreme weathers and rising sea levels. The UK is also on the list of countries that can be affected significantly by climate changes. If appropriate precautionary measurements are not taken, the general public in the UK will be particularly vulnerable.
In many ways, high concentration of carbon levels in the environment can results in a disaster for the entire mankind. Therefore, it is extremely important to determine ways to control and reduce these levels to ensure healthy environment for people. The measures of the effect of human industrial activities are significant and the method to measure this impact is called carbon footprint. Essentially, the carbon footprint helps us calculate the quantity of greenhouse gases produced by our daily activities. Burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating and cooling processes and motor vehicles are the most noteworthy sources of green house gases.
The paper thoroughly looks in the advantages and disadvantage of the distributed generation networks that are designed to lower the greenhouse gases concentration levels in the environment. It also critically evaluates the Carbon Reduction Commission Energy Efficiency Scheme.
Basic technical details of equipments required at 1.8 MW wind system at a farm are presented in the document. Selection of the design of the equipments and the monitoring system required to improve the overall productivity and efficiency of the energy system is also discussed in the report.
Businesses in the UK face constant threat from climate changes. Considering the increased risk of storm damage and flooding, the financial losses can be significant and therefore we must reduce the carbon foot print to address this issue while identifying the potential opportunities to control climate changes.
Renewable energy sources (RES) and Distributed Generation (DG) have attracted a lot of attention in recent times in Europe and the United States. Both distributed generation and renewable energy sources are design to reduce the levels of harmful gases in the atmosphere by controlling world’s dependency on fossil fuel energy systems. Distributed Generation can be understood as the local electricity generation system (US environmental Agency, 2007). Although the final cost of such a system depends on a number of factors, we can assume that cost for grid connection, fuel costs, electricity and heat prices and initial investments are the main costs attached to a distributed generation system. Biomass plants are usually the lowest cost systems for generating electricity whereas solar cells mechanism are the most expensive to implement (Keith, Taylor, Francis, 2006).
Of course, distributed generation is a relatively new term but it can potentially change the way we think and design products. Essentially, it can help you achieve two important goals that are:
According to the latest survey conducted by environment control agencies in the UK, carbon footprint in the country has been increasing steadily over the last few years. Facts realised by DEFRA show the there was at least 10 percent increase in the CO2 footprint between 2009 and 2010.
Carbon dioxide footprint is typically measured in the units of tonnes or kg. Essentially, it is a sum of the following two parts
Measure of CO2 emissions caused by the direct burning of fossil fuels including the motor vehicle mechanisms and domestic energy consumption is known as Primary Carbon footprint (Carbon Reduction Commission, 2012).
Secondary footprint, on the other hand, determines the indirect carbon emissions. The phenomenon takes into the account the number of product we use in our lifetime. To put it in simple words, more carbon dioxide emissions will be caused as we use more products and services.
Table 1: Fuels used to generate electricity in the UK
Consumption in percentage for electricity generation
Wind, biomass, landfill
Source: Digest of UK Energy Statistics, 2005
In 2010, carbon reduction commission in the UK intruded the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme. The new method is designed to put more pressure on the large non energy companies to play their part in controlling the carbon foot print’s value in the atmosphere. Both the public privates are now required to run programmes to ensure they pay carbon allowances which will be pumped back into the system. Companies which reduce carbon emissions will be rewarded and those that do not show any improvement will be penalised accordingly (ABB, 2010).
The Carbon Reduction Commission in the UK aims to lower the greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent over the next 40 years. Non energy companies that make an effort towards better environment will be rewarded through extra revenue generated by the sales of their carbon credits (Carbon Reduction Commission, 2012).
Figure 1: CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, 2010
Source: CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, ABB
Carbon Reduction Commission in the UK has already shown that they will take strict actions if companies fail to reduce carbon emissions. Furthermore, if the private and public sector companies do not achieve the carbon emission goals, they could create an opening for potentially large financial losses and penalties (Carbon Reduction Commission, 2012).
According to the stats released by the Carbon Reduction Commission at least 5000 companies (over 6000 MWh threshold) will be directly affected by the CRCEES. Additionally, 15000 organisations operating below the 6000 MWh threshold will have to provide information regarding their energy use and carbon emissions and failure to do will result in heavy fines and penalties. A lot of key players are already showing commitment towards lowering the carbon footprint value in an effort to improve transparency and performance levels. Any organisation that embraces this scheme is likely to be rewarded financially in the long term (ABB, 2010)
Distributed generation can be defined in a number of ways. While renewable energy sources refer to energy production systems; for distribution generation system the text is valid only for electricity generation system. Essentially, electricity produced by a distribution generation system must be used at the point where it is produced. Therefore, if a farmer uses electricity generated from wind turbines at his own farm land, it is a distributed generation system (Gerwen, 2006).
According to research conducted by CEC, most small scale renewable energy sources are DG. Combined heat and power generation also falls under this category. Both heat and electricity are produced at a combined heat and power generation plant. While heat must be used locally to avoid transport costs, the electricity can be used locally and fed into the grid if required (Gerwen, 2006). There are a numerous benefits attached to DG. Generation of power at small scale plants ensure constant electricity to domestic and commercial users. Other applications of DG include producing heat, electricity, carbon dioxide and steam for greenhouses, industrial users and grid stations (Hordeski, 2011).
The economy of sale is perhaps the main reason why central electricity production is still a popular choice. Furthermore, centralized electricity generation is considered to be more efficient as it provides a better lifetime and fuel capabilities. Since increasing the production results in lower cost per MW, it is safe to say that electricity generation is the dominant force in the power production industry right now. Even large power plants that use small electricity generation units can achieve lower cost per MW (Hordeski, 2011).
However, with technology improving with each passing day, the small power plants are seeing an improvement in their profitability levels. Another reason why we keep building large power plants is their higher and better fuel capabilities. Coal, natural gas and oil are abundantly available in the world. Although coal is the most abundant fossil fuel with a stable price, it is economically unviable for distributed generation networks (Gerwen, 2006)
Furthermore, the costs of metering, balancing and connection for a distributed generation are also likely to be higher. So why do we develop distributed generation power plants if large power plants offer a lifetime of up to 50 years (US environmental Agency, 2007). The main reason is that distributed generation allows for a better use of electricity or heat generated and it improves the overall plant efficiency. Other benefits of distributed generation include the following:
Gerwen, 2006 states that in 2005, approximately 643 GW power was produced in 15 European countries. Out of 643 GW, 8 percent was generated through renewable energy systems, 19 % was produced from hydro capacity and a whopping 100 GW resulted from cogeneration (Jochem, 2009).
Economically, distributed generation and renewable energy plants rely on a number of things. The direct cost for the fossil fuel prices and the market value of electricity play a key role in determining the capital cost investment. Therefore, it the prices of fossil fuels increase, the cost for electricity will also increase.
The electricity prices are likely to be determined be fossil fuel prices until we keep relying on large fossil fuel plants (Gerwen, 2006). The cost of distributed generation or renewable energy system can be divided into two parts:
It should be noted that cost for installing the grid connection is considerable, when discussing DG.
Table 2: Cost for DG and RES including fixed and variable costs
Type pf Expense
MWh based connected cost
Fuel costs, fuel taxes, unplanned maintenance, MWh based distribution tariffs
Engineering cost, licensing and permits costs, MW based connection metering, investments
Fixed taxation costs, planned maintenance, insurance, MWh based distribution tariffs
Source: Kuhn, 2010
Connection of any DG or RES electricity plant to the grid is an important aspect of the entire system. While the electricity suppliers in the European markets operate independently, network operators work in a regulated market. This issue has attracted a lot of attention in recent years and experts are now looking into the subject of grid connection including the benefits, hurdles and costs attached to it.
Figure 2: Schematics of an average European electricity gird with the levels of connect for both the RES and DG
Source: Kuhn, 2010
It is the duty of grid operators to ensure constant electricity supply to the connecting users. It is recommended to be aware of the points on obligations of generators connected to the grid and obligation of the distributed network operators listed by a grid code.
With the need for more reliable and environment friendly energy resources increasing with each passing day, it is has become crucial to realise the importance of wind power. A lot of counties including the UK and the US have invested heavily in this sector. However, out of all available renewable energy systems, wind turbine power systems are perhaps the fastest growing. The European Union has set strict renewable energy system targets for 2020.
It will not be wrong to say that improvement in wind turbine technology has played a key role in the success of wind energy power plants. Farmers across the world can lower the electricity bill considerably by installing wind turbine power system on their land. The information in this document is presented in an effort to help the farmer determine if he should purchase a wind turbine system. Furthermore, it will also help him understand the type of wind energy system that will best suit his needs (Piggott, 1998).
Essentially a wind turbine system consists of several small components. The designer of the plant must take into account the main equipment such as the tower, nacelle, blades and the foundation designs. New developments and advanced techniques has allowed the mechanical and civil engineers to come up with improved turbine design techniques, using today’s taller, better and light weight turbine. These tall wind turbines have the ability to better winds at higher elevations and therefore reduce the overall cost significantly. Wind turbines foundation and towers should be designed considering the moments and heavy loads caused by high wind speed at high elevation. Furthermore a good wind energy system should also be able to cope with the ice loads, wind loads, earthquakes and weight of the tower itself (Lysen, 1982).
Considering the fact the energy demands are changing rapidly, it is extremely important to understand the construction, mechanical and operation variables affecting the design and operation of wind turbines.
According to the figures released by the US department of energy, wind energy is the fastest growing energy source for producing electricity and mechanical power (Springer, 2008). The country is expecting the wind energy to provide at least 30 percent of the total energy requirements by 2030.
Figure 3: A typical win turbine system with other important components
Source: Victorian Consumer Guide to Small Wind Turbine Systems
Wind turbine systems can be classified depending on the power output and orientation of its axis that can affect the final design of the overall structure. They are available in the following two main designs:
However horizontal axis wind turbines are the most commonly used type in the world and they are readily available. Furthermore, they are less expensive as compared to their vertical counterparts. Since vertical axis turbines are ideal for large score wind energy systems (1.8 MW) and there is a lot of information available on the design and constructional aspects, we will be using that for our 1.8 MW power output wind turbine plant at the farm (Solmes, 2009).
VAWT systems usually have two or three tapered fibreglass reinforced blades (Robotham & Freere, 2004). Rotor, nacelle, blades and other equipment is also part of the turbine unit and they are connected to steel tower which works with an electric generator and main rotor shaft. Illustration of horizontal and vertical axis wind turbine systems is shown in the figure below.
Figure 4: Horizontal and Vertical axis wind turbine systems
Source: Izaak Walton League of America
Wind turbine systems can be classified by the amount of electricity or energy produced by them. In fact, they are directly related to the size of the turbine used. The larger the wind turbine is, the more energy it will produce (Solmes, 2009). Depending on the amount of energy a wind energy plant produces, it can be classified as utility, industrial or residential. The 1.8 MW wind energy systems at the farm will be classified as the utility wind turbine.
Table 3: Wind turbine classification
Average output range
400W to 50 kW
Battery charging, remote power, net metering type generation
50 kW to 250 kW
Reduced consumption of higher cost grid power, can be allowed with the valid certificate, remote grid production
900 kW to 2 MW
Mostly implemented in farms, can produce electricity for power market.
Before proceeding with this project, it is important to ensure the site we are going to use has good wind conditions. There should be consistent and strong wind speeds at the location of wind turbine. Furthermore, there should be acceptable turbulence in the wind and you should not be an unpleasant addition to your neighbourhood (Natakhan, 2009).
To be able to produce electricity, there should be sufficient wind resource in the area of choice. Unlike urban areas where there are tall building blocking winds, rural areas are generally more suitable to wind turbine system as they present fewer hurdles. Therefore, installing wind turbine energy production system on a farm presents a very lucrative and feasible opportunity. However, we must look into the practical guidance on how to determine if thee chosen site is appropriate or not (US Department of energy, 2005).
To determine how much electricity the farm at the chosen site will be able to produce, the average wind speed at the location must be determined. Most wind turbine manufacturers calculate the approximate daily production based on the average daily production. In fact, accurate estimation of electricity production can only be made by monitoring the wind speed in the area. Installing monitoring devices is an additional cost and you may have to spend some extra cash to ensure maximum productivity levels. However, if there are sufficient and strong winds at the location, then you probably may not need to install these monitoring devices.
Another recommended way to find out if there will be continuing winds is to check if the trees and bushes are at a sharp angle. Additionally, if the surrounding area is grassy and open with no hurdles and obstacle and there are negligible houses and buildings, the area is likely to be rich in wind resources. The turbine operation is directly related to the average wind speed and not the wind velocity on a particular day. Therefore, if you knew the exact wind velocity for a day or months, the turbine output will be determined from the more important long term average wind speed (Green energy ohio, 2004).
Of course, monitoring wind speed can be expensive but this is the only way to make sure the wind turbine power plant is not underperforming. If the wind is marginal at the top of the turbine, the output power is likely to be power. It should be noted that the cost of monitoring system is expected to be worthwhile. By purchasing the right equipment for wind speed monitoring, significant savings can be made. An anemometer is a device that can add value to the wind turbine system. This will have to be bought separately as most wind turbine system do not come with an anemometer as a permanent option (Kuhn, 2010).
For this project, we will be using the most commonly used cup type anemometer that consists of a cup to trap the wind and spin it at a rate proportional to the wind velocity. A wind vane will also be purchased with the cup anemometer (Victorian consumer guide, 2010). Both these devices come as a single unit. Essentially, a wind wane lines up with the incoming wind direction using its rudder type shape.
Weather monitoring system that includes rain gauge, temperature gauge, anemometer and wireless loggers can be another way to determine the wind speed and direction at the location. Depending on the state, obtaining the licenses or permits to operate a wind monitoring system may be required. Weather forecasts provided by the local weather stations are usually not accurate enough and we will not be relying on them in this project. Therefore, it is safe to say that wind speed and direction is the most important measurement that must be taken on regular basis to ensure maximum output (Kuhn, 2010).
The cost for an anemometer is negligible as compared to the cost of the entire system. Even if you are short of money, this device can be borrowed from friends or relatives who also want to evaluate the wind velocity in their area (Kuhn, 2010).
Turbulence is created when the direction and speed of wind changes. Wind circulation and eddies are caused by the friction the wind experiences against large object on the ground including houses and buildings resulting in excessive turbulence.
While monitoring the wind is an expensive choice, it has several advantages attached to it. By monitoring the key, we can easily determine the electrical power generated by the wind turbine. Even small changes in wind speed and direction can result in huge losses. Therefore, it is recommended to use win monitoring devices rather than relying on personal experiences (Victorian consumer guide, 2010).
For this project, we decided to use the vertical axis wind turbine which essentially consists of an electricity generator, a tower and the blades. The wind turbine is designed in a way that there is a multi phase permanent magnet alternator inserted into the system. A horizontal axis is used to rotate the turbine that faces the rotor into the wind direction. With the movement of blades, electric current is produced converting mechanical energy into the electric energy through the alternator ((Victorian consumer guide, 2010). AC electricity is converted into direct current with the help of a bridge rectifier, which could be placed on the outside or inside of the generator. The flow char given below explains how the company approaches a farmer regarding. The farmer must determine and select the size and types of wind turbines are on offer.
A flow chart showing the right method to choose the wind turbine
The power curve usually provided by the wind turbine manufacturers is not accurate. Research and studies have shown that the design power curves published in the literature are not accurate enough as compared to the performance on the real site. The turbine will be bought from a reputable company with considerable experience to ensure maximum performance while addressing the health and safety issues. Most wind turbines come with five year warranty though. It is also crucial to gather information about the noise the turbine will produce as the some council planners can request you to provide them with information on noise emissions caused by the operation and installation procedures.
Figure 5: Basic components of a small wind turbine system
Source: Victorian Consumer Guide, 2010
Wind turbine towers are available in a range of heights and design and the choice of tower should be made to suits your needs. Guyed pole tower, free standing lattice tower, tubular monopole, see saw monopole and guyed lattice tower are some of the most commonly used designs (Victorian consumer guide, 2010).
For this project we will be selecting the monopole tower as it uses the smallest foot print area, to be installed 100-150 m above sea level Although it is slightly expensive as compared to other designs, it comes with a thicker and reliable steel pole capable of handling tower load and other weather disturbances.
Figure 6: Types of wind tower
Height of the tower has a direct impact on the power production. The taller the tower, the more output it can generate. However, high towers can be very expensive and the output increase offered by them is not considerable as shown by an American study conducted in 1993 (McLean-Conner, 2009). For the 1.8MW wind turbine energy system, the use of high tower is recommended to convert wind energy into maximum power output. The Vane length, rotor diameter, rotor area and blades types are all important/influential parameters that will be designed to support maximum turbine power output
The inverter usually comes with the wind turbine system package. It is recommended to use the inverter recommended by the wind turbine manufacture for improved results. Most inverters are designed to be used for solar PV programs and therefore it is advised to check if your inverter is compatible with the wind turbine system.
Recommended procedures must be followed for grid connecting wind turbine system to the grid. This usually includes notifying the local electricity distributions company so it could make the necessary arrangements (McLean-Conner, 2009).
For a distributed generation wind energy system, a bidirectional meter will be installed to ensure the power is recorded in both directions i.e. imported and exported from the grid. Typically, the wind energy system owners are required to consult the electric supply company and the installers to make sure the type of meter they are using meets all the requirements.
The installer of wind turbine tower and the entire system must provide concrete evidence that the tower is structurally safe. Furthermore, it should be able to withstand wind loading and its own weight. The expected pressure or load on the tower should also be estimated (Victorian consumer guide, 2010).
When considering large scale wind turbine systems, it is important to remember that a lot of effort goes into engineering and design of the power systesm. Strutural integrity and reliability of the system is given special importance as thousands of dollars are required to successfully complete such projects.
Before proceeding with any large or small civil/mechanical engineer project, it is important to determine its feasibility. The 1.8 MW wind energy system at the farm is expected to be a profitable venture (Kuhn, 2010). The cost of construction, material and designs should be used for calculating the economic value. Furthermore, a cost analysis of the final design will be carried out to ensure the project and its operations are affordable. As a farmer you will also make a considerable amount of money by producing your own electricy and distributing electricity to the utility company as an independent power producer. Since the wind energy present an emission free, clean and renewable energy source, you can expect to save a lot of money over time. Furthermore, the onetime investment will make your farm energy independent. Large wind turbine systems can offer lower production costs per every kw. Cost of a large wind turbine system was calculated to ensure the project offers great and long term return on investment.
Engineering projects can have long terms impacts on the environment. The constructions site and its surrounding will need to be protected by looking into the affects of wind turbine plant on wild life including the animals and plants. Construction and design of the project will be finalised taking into the account the environmental constraints including the UK regulations and codes on construction and operation of the turbine.
A detailed study is conducted to look into the available condition monitoring techniques. The following figure provides detailed maintenance plan for the wind turbine system with emphasis on condition monitoring and preventive maintenance.
Maintenance plan of the 1.8 MW wind turbines system for the first year after commissioning is shown in the table below.
Farmer’s daily business can be run without experiencing any hurdles or obstacles. Since the maintenance plan includes, monthly, three monthly, six monthly and yearly investigations and checkup, the farmer will not have to dedicate too much time to make sure the equipment is in good condition and operating without any problems. The company responsible for the maintenance of the plan will be expected to implement various maintenance techniques to ensure the energy systems work efficiently. The farmer may also contact the maintenance company should the plant experience any operational or structural problems. Other than the days when maintenance checkups will be done, the farmer can expect to perform his daily business activates without experiencing any trouble.
In many ways, we are all responsible for causing green house gas emissions by consuming products and services such as food and drink, travel and tourism, household products and personal travel. With the amount of product and energy usage increasing with each passing day, the level of carbon footprint in the environment has increased considerable. It is our moral and ethical duty to work to lower the carbon levels to ensure better environmental conditions. The UK Carbon Reduction Commission introduced the new Energy Efficiency scheme in 2010 which insists the large energy production plants should design their operations to meet the required standards. Furthermore, by using the distributed generation and renewable energy system networks, significant electricity savings cane be made. Summarizing, DG and RES have advantages and disadvantages that might be energy-related, grid-relatedor environmental which need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In this project, we looked at the 1.8 MW wind turbine energy system. Relative technologies and theory was applied to conclude the project can be both feasible and affordable. The farmer will be benefited considerably by having a 1.8 MW wind energy system installed on his/her land. On successful completion of the project, the wind turbine energy system not only will make the farm self sufficient but also supply electricity to local distribution companies. The farmer can also expect to save a decent return on investment over a long period of time. There would be a guaranteed return on investment with respect to energy savings using the natural source of energy at the said site. The payback period and detailed financial analyses will be carried on maturity of the proposal.