Wind power on commercial premises pays dividends, saves money and promotes a positive image of corporate social responsibility. The same factors apply as with residential installations; the amount of space available, sufficient wind and the allowed size of the turbine. If these factors are satisfied, a wind turbine can generate a large amount of electricity, sometimes sufficient to power a whole business. Local authorities throughout the UK are encouraging the installation of renewable energy equipment, including commercial wind turbines in new-build workplaces.

Small commercial wind turbines have a power rating up to 5kw, which with an average wind speed of 6m/s could generate 13Mwh per annum. This would cover the energy needs of a business or four homes.

Large commercial wind turbines have a power rating up to 20kW, which would generate 45Mwh per year at an average wind speed of 6m/s. This is enough power for 12 homes or a large business, such as a warehouse or packing facility.

Wind turbines manufactured today have power ratings ranging between from 250 watts to 7 MW. An onshore wind turbine with a capacity of 2.5–3 MW can produce more than 6 million kWh annually; enough to supply 1,500 average EU households with electricity.

A good quality modern wind turbine is usually designed to last for at least 20 years, but depending on weather conditions and how windy and turbulent the site is, the turbine could last for well over 25 years with regular maintenance and repairs, but bear in mind that the maintenance costs are likely to increase with the age of the unit.

The towers are mostly tubular and made of steel or concrete and the blades are made of fibreglass, reinforced polyester or wood-epoxy. They are painted matt light-grey to make them less conspicuous under most lighting conditions and to reduce reflected light.

After about three to six months operation, a wind turbine would generally have produced the amount of energy that goes into its manufacture, installation, operation, maintenance and decommissioning after its 20-25 year lifetime. During its lifetime, a wind turbine delivers up to 80 times more energy than is used in its production.

WindEurope (formerly the European Wind Energy Association) and others believe Europe could achieve 100% of its electricity from renewable sources; with wind energy providing 50% of this amount. The European Commission believes wind energy will supply between 32% and 49% of the EU’s electricity by 2050. The main factor will be a power grid covering the whole of Europe that will transport wind energy from where it is produced to where it is needed as essentially, the wind is always blowing somewhere but not necessarily where and when the power is required