Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a wind turbine to power my business?

Yes. Industrial estates make ideal locations for renewable generation, giving opportunities for businesses to generate their own power “behind the meter” and thereby reducing their dependence on the grid.

Car parks can often be used for a wind turbine, with only a small footprint being neutralised. If adjacent space is limited – or if the premises are leasehold and the landlord proves uncooperative – a wind turbine can be installed off-site on nearby brownfield or greenfield land.

Why should I have a wind turbine on my land?

An annual lease fee is paid to the landowner. This usually equates to at least £20,000 per annum.

Do I have to invest in the wind turbine project?

No. CleanEarth take care of the complete project on a ’turnkey’ basis. We deal with all the project aspects from site investigations, through planning, financing, legals, building, operation and maintenance, and removing the turbine at the end of its service life.

Do you consult with the local community on developing a wind turbine? How do you handle issues raised?

We manage all aspects of the planning process including the community consultation period.

Through careful siting of the proposed development, we aim to minimise the impact on the local community. We make sure every step of the process is executed properly; holding a public consultation before the planning stage and, where appropriate, organising site visits for parish and community councils, councillors, objectors and supporters.

We respond to all objections and objectors in writing and can meet with them to discuss their objection and any mitigation we can offer.

My land is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) or Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) – is that a problem for wind turbines?

Land designations vary considerably. However, an AONB has the same legal protection as a national park and we would not consider a site within an AONB.

Ecological designations vary in significance. Development within an SSSI for flora or fauna may present few obstacles, for example, but a Special Protected Area, Ramsar site or SSSI designated for birds will be off-limits. We do have experience with projects within and close to ecological designations, and each one needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Local designations such as Areas of Great Landscape Value (AGLV) and Local Nature Reserves can still hold relevance in planning and will be considered accordingly.

I already have an existing wind turbine project which has not yet been built. Can CleanEarth help?

Yes. If you have an existing project which has not been built, for whatever reason, CleanEarth will be pleased to investigate the possibility of completing the project for you. Just send us all the information you have.

By agreeing to a site investigation and returning the required forms, am I committing myself to working with CleanEarth?

No. We conduct the full site investigation at zero cost and no commitment on your part, and on a confidential basis. A formal development agreement is only entered into when both parties are agreed on developing a project.

How long will a site investigation take?

We usually advise 10 to 12 weeks for the initial site investigation phase, as this is the timeframe that most Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) work to for providing a grid connection quotation. During this period CleanEarth will also investigate all the other aspects of your potential project (planning, access, radar mitigation etc).

Do you connect the wind turbine directly to the national grid? Do I need an existing 3-phase supply?

We will connect to the local network through a District Network Operator (DNO), normally at 11kV or 33kV. An existing 3-phase supply is not necessary as we will look to obtain a new export connection.

How deep are the foundations for a wind turbine?

Not as deep as you might think. A typical foundation will have a depth of around 2m and diameter of 15m. Each foundation is designed for its unique location, taking into account the ground conditions and the specifics of the soil characteristics.

Are there any soil or land conditions which make it impossible to install a wind turbine?

No. CleanEarth have installed turbines in environments that range from peat bogs to backfilled quarries. Our foundation design will take into account any characteristics of the ground that may make for a challenging installation and these will be addressed during the initial design process.

What are the access requirements for erecting a wind turbine?

Access is critical when evaluating a site and the key factors are:

  • Weight – an assessment will be made of all structures on the access route and their weight-bearing capacity.
  • Width – a minimum road width of 4m is required. Hedges and walls may need to be looked at to allow access for the wider components.
  • Length – turbines are comprised of several long components, so access can be made difficult by tight corners. Our team will assess any challenging corners on the route and work to find a feasible solution.
  • Gradient – the weight of certain components means that steeper gradients can prove difficult. Gradients greater than 12% will usually require extra towing vehicles.

Before we consider bringing a turbine to site we may need to conduct a highways survey as part of the planning application. The manufacturer and crane team will also inspect the site prior to installation, to ensure there are no issues on delivery day.

Will there be two blades or three blades on my turbine?

There is little difference in efficiency between two and three bladed turbines. But in the UK we focus on three bladed turbines, principally because of planning considerations – the issue with two blade turbines being their tendency to spin out of sync with each other and look unnatural if several are erected close to each other.

Are wind turbines noisy?

CleanEarth only install modern, direct-drive wind turbines. These turbines do not have a gearbox and the rotor directly drives the generator, thus removing the mechanical noise made by gears.

Direct drive turbines also carry benefits with regards to maintenance – with fewer moving parts there are fewer opportunities for faults to occur.

Why develop just one wind turbine, as opposed to a wind farm?

The timeframes involved in obtaining a grid connection and planning permission for a single turbine are substantially quicker than those for a wind farm development. We find this to be the most efficient way of having a quick turnaround and bringing projects to fruition as soon as possible.

Who funds CleanEarth wind turbines?

As with most companies, CleanEarth is funded by a combination of private investors and bank finance.

What happens if CleanEarth goes bust, will I still get paid?

All turbines are owned within a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which is a separate legal entity to CleanEarth management. The turbine therefore spins and creates an income which is fed directly into an account. As the landowner you will be paid gross, i.e. you will be the first to get paid before any other funds come out of the account. Even if CleanEarth no longer owned the turbine, the landowner’s revenue stream would be unaffected.

What happens at the end of the project?

Each site will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. There may be an opportunity to negotiate an extension to the lease term, or CleanEarth will remove the turbine and return the site to a reasonable condition for the landowner.