The UK cost of living crisis moved into a new phase on 26 August with news that the Ofgem energy price cap would be rocketing 80% from October 2022.
It almost certainly means consumers will face higher energy bills, at a time when their budgets are being squeezed by inflation and higher interest rates.
Given the current money challenges we’re facing, you may well be thinking about ways to can cut down your energy bills.
Wind is the cheapest form of electricity generation in the UK and could cut your utility costs as well as your carbon footprint.
So, how easy is it to get a home wind turbine - and are they cost-effective?
How do home wind turbines work?
Wind turbines use the power of the wind to generate power.
When their blades are blown around by the wind, they drive a turbine, which in turn generates electricity.
In the case of home wind turbines, they not only produce energy that can be used in your home but they also give you the option of selling your surplus energy back to the national grid.
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 be exposed to an average wind speed of 11 miles per hour (18 kilometres per hour).
As with other privately owned energy generation systems, like solar panels, you can earn money for selling surplus energy back to the grid through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).
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 opposition to on-shore wind turbines, England is alone among the four nations in not requiring planning permission for the installation of a home-mounted turbine.
But you do need to meet several criteria to put one up.
- 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.
However, you don’t need to get one for a standalone turbine as long as it’s the only one you have and is more than 100 metres away from your neighbour’s property.
How much money will a home wind turbine save you?
Pole mounted turbines typically cost between £20,000 and £25,000 to buy.
But they can come to £30,000 to £40,000 in total, according to OVO energy, due to the costs of planning permission, preparing the ground it’s going to stand upon on and connecting the turbine 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 unlikely to last beyond 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.