Atmos assessment gives Sunderland school wind turbine project the go-ahead using specialist software.

Leading renewable energy and environmental consultancy Atmos Consulting Ltd has successfully undertaken what is believed to be the first shadow flicker assessment for a small-scale wind turbine using Windfarmer. The evaluation, conducted on behalf of construction company Balfour Beatty, enabled a small wind turbine to be erected at Washington School in Tyne and Wear, by the discharge of a planning condition.

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Washington School, which is undergoing redevelopment as part of the Sunderland Building Schools for the Future project, were given planning permission for the wind turbine on the condition that the school investigated the potential for ‘shadow flicker’ from the turbine prior to construction.

A shadow flicker assessment measures the extent to which shadow may be cast from a wind turbine over neighbouring properties as the sun passes behind its rotors. Atmos used specialist software Windfarmer to accurately predict when, where and for how long shadow flicker could occur on the site by taking account of the position of the sun at different times of the day.

The assessment indicated that the amounts of shadow flicker were potentially low and that school buildings would only be affected by shadow flicker during lunchtime periods when classrooms would not be in use for teaching, meaning the proposal could go ahead as planned.

Philip Lewis, Principal Planner for Atmos Consulting Ltd, comments: “Having successfully resolved a problem for our client using technology chiefly designed for large-scale wind turbine models, we are confident that we are well placed to assess shadow flicker on any small to medium-sized turbine project in future. This makes us the perfect partner for any developments initiated as part of the Feed-in Tariff scheme.”

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