How Do You Determine Sites for Wind Turbines?

Wind projects can move from concept to full operation much more quickly than other power generation sources. While wind farms must complete the same permitting process as any electrical producer, it is easier for wind farms to meet these siting requirements simply because they do not produce air pollution or impact the water supply.

The following is an overview of the siting process for a commercial wind farm, including steps that all electricity generators must follow

  • Conduct an initial site visit: Developers will visit a prospective site to determine any obvious constructability and/or environmental constraints.
  • Analyze the wind resource: The developer will collect and review wind data at the project site to determine wind speeds and other resource characteristics such as wind shear and turbulence. The information is collected by installing multiple meteorological towers at project sites, and the process of gathering and analyzing this data typically takes at least one year, and often several years.
  • Acquire land rights: Wind projects in this region are typically located on privately-owned land that is leased for a specific period of time. Developers will initiate land acquisition activities in the earliest stages of the development process and continue these activities until construction.
  • Conduct critical environmental issues analysis and identify regulatory framework: Once the developer has determined the general project area to be investigated, a critical environmental issues analysis is almost always conducted to better understand the possible environmental and land use constraints in the area.
  • Conduct American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Environmental Site Assessment: During the early stages, developers typically perform a screening-level assessment of the potential for environmental contamination to impact the property in compliance with ASTM standards.

The wind industry goes to great lengths to ensure projects are sited in a manner that demonstrates respect for communities and the environment. We are an industry that is highly sensitive to the need for good stewardship, and our companies take voluntary steps to ensure projects preserve both wildlife and the local quality of life.

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