Home wind turbine UK: can you get a domestic turbine, how much energy does it produce, and what does it cost?

The UK Energy Security Strategy 2022 has largely shunned onshore wind farms - but getting your own wind turbine could help you save money on your energy bills

The government has had a mixed response to its new UK Energy Security Strategy, with many criticising the lack of support it contains for the existing cost of living crisis.

Its launch was delayed for a few weeks because some of Boris Johnson’s cabinet, including Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, did not want to see a commitment for “eyesore” on-shore wind farms.

Wind is the cheapest form of energy generation in the UK and, if you put a turbine on your own home, could cut your energy bills and carbon footprint.

So if you want to install a domestic wind turbine, what steps do you have to take - and how much would it cost?

Here’s what you need to know.

You don’t need planning permission to put a turbine on your home in England (image: AFP/Getty Images)

How do home wind turbines work?

Wind turbines use the power of the wind to generate electricity.

When their blades are blown around by the wind, they drive a turbine which generates electricity.

According to the Energy Saving Trust (EST), there are two types of wind turbine that can be installed on your property:

  • Pole mounted – free standing turbines that need to be put in exposed locations. They can generate around six kilowatts (KW) - enough energy to power a dishwasher for six cycles
  • Building mounted – smaller than pole mounted turbines and less expensive, this type of wind turbine can be installed on the roof of a home which has enough exposure to the wind. They can generate roughly 2KW - enough power to power an oven for 30 minutes

To make them cost effective, turbines need to have an average wind speed of 11 miles an hour (18 kilometres per hour).

As with other privately owned energy generation systems, for example solar panels, you can earn money for selling surplus energy back to the grid through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).

Free standing wind turbines cost more but generate more electricity (image: Getty Images)

You can find out more about SEG on energy regulator Ofgem’s website.

Do home wind turbines need planning permission?

Despite the UK government’s hostility to on-shore wind turbines, England is alone among the four nations in not requiring planning permission for the installation of a home turbine.

But you do need to meet several criter to put one up, including:

  • You have to have a detached house
  • You can only put up one turbine
  • You don’t already have an air source heat pump in your home
  • The turbine doesn’t extend more than three metres above the height of your chimney
  • If it’s a standalone turbine, it cannot go higher than 11.1 metres

In Scotland, you have to have planning permission to put a wind turbine on your roof, but you don’t need to get one for a standalone turbine so long as it’s the only one you have and is more than 100 metres away from your neighbour.

How much money can you save with a home turbine?

Pole mounted turbines cost between £20,000 and £25,000 to buy, but could come to £30,000 to £40,000 in total, OVO energy says, due to the cost of planning permission, preparing the site it’s going on and connecting it to the national grid.

They can generate 9,000 kilowatt hours a year - enough power for 9,000 showers.

EST estimates they could chop £510 off the average household’s annual electricity bill and save around 2.1 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

However, they will require maintenance checks every few years and are likely to last for more than 20 years.

A smaller roof mounted one could cost around £2,000 but will only generate around 2,600KWh over 12 months - meaning annual savings are likely to be between £100 to £200 a year.

Solar panels cost more - an average of £6,500 according to Money Saving Expert - but could generate more electricity and therefore cut more money off your bills.

EST reckons you could be in line to knock between £165 and £405 per year off your bills with a standard solar system.