Vijay Madlani, CEO of Greentech innovator Katrick Technologies, explains how rural areas can benefit from wind energy.

Suitably sited wind power generation with strong community support is integral to the decarbonisation of national energy supplies. As of November 2022, there are almost 11,500 wind turbines in the UK with 8,827 of these turbines installed onshore across 2,604 wind farms. Due to the specific requirements for wind farms in terms of space, height, and wind levels, many of these projects are in remote and rural areas.

While on a wider scale, these projects are contributing significantly to both national and global climate goals, wind power also offers many benefits for host communities, particularly in rural areas. Wind projects sited in these areas are proven to have multifaceted advantages for surrounding communities, driving their economy, generating income, and creating opportunities for employment.

Renewable energy such as wind provides a secure, stable, and affordable source of power for the installation site, and if connected to the local network this offers energy independence from the wider grid. In terms of environmental benefits, once they are operational, turbines do not produce carbon emissions or pollutants, leading to improved overall air quality.

However, wind farms, while providing a reliable and sustainable source of energy, aren’t always met with enthusiasm in rural communities. Local opposition can cause delays or even outright rejection of proposed projects, with reasons ranging from concerns over wildlife and the landscape to outright mistrust of wind energy itself.

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New technology in renewable energy will be imperative in meeting decarbonisation goals, so acceptance is key. Innovators can learn from public opinion and ensure that emerging technologies can meet the need for quieter, less obtrusive, and safer wind technology to address some of the traditional concerns that may impact local communities.

Providing benefits to the local economy and community can encourage the acceptance of these projects. The Whitelee Wind Farm, located near Glasgow, is the largest onshore wind farm in the UK. The project has created 4,000 roles during construction and 600 jobs every year since for ongoing operations and maintenance.

There are also advantages for landowners in rural areas. Farmers can lease their land for wind turbine installations, providing them with additional income streams based on the amount of land and of energy generated. This diversification of revenue can be especially beneficial for agricultural communities that may face economic challenges.

Due to the nature and requirements of traditional wind turbines, developers will continue to target rural communities for hosting onshore wind projects, making it more important than ever that this is an attractive prospect.

Having identified untapped low frequency and ground winds as a potential way of generating even more renewable energy, Katrick Technologies has developed a novel form of wind power generation. Its Wind Panels use unique aerofoil technology to capture wind at a range of speeds and frequencies inaccessible to turbines on traditional wind farms. The panels will be available in various sizes for different applications but will be a flexible and scalable solution as users will be able to install as many panels as necessary to meet their energy demands.

What sets these panels apart from other wind solutions is the wide range of suitable locations. Not only can they be installed in urban or industrial areas, but they could also be installed in existing wind projects complimentary to turbines to capture even more power. They are also smaller, less obtrusive, and quieter than the alternative.

Renewable energy is so imperative in the journey to net zero that engagement with potential host communities should be a top priority for councils and developers.