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Site Selection for a Wind Power Plant or a Wind Turbine

Vegard J. Løwe - Co-Founder & CFO/COO

August 20th, 2022

The site selection process involves examining potential options for land development by accessing their relative advantages and disadvantages. Site selection is a critical step in the success of a development project, the long-term investment, and the property owner’s operating costs.

It is essential for an onshore wind project to identify the wind class and whether it lines up with the cut-in and optimal wind speed for the proposed project. Evaluating whether nearby obstacles will cause turbulence to disrupt airflow access to the site and reduce turbine life. The distance between a turbine and the nearest obstacle should be at least twice the turbine height unless the turbine is more than twice the height of the obstacle, which means the obstruction can be closer. Locations like the bottom of a hill or inside a valley would not make viable sites for a wind turbine as they do not provide enough wind resources. High on mountains, in large open fields, or on the edge of bodies of water are essential locations to evaluate for wind development

When making wind turbine site decisions, determining whether a location is physically appropriate for the technology used for wind projects should be evaluated. This can include the amount of physical space required for the array and equipment, structural stability of the soil, slope and its direction on the site, and proximity to a nearby interconnection point. Being aware of the current onsite vegetation and whether it will need pruning for construction and maintenance as part of the project in the future are also important factors to be considered in these decisions.

Like solar projects, wind projects can have adverse environmental impacts, including the potential to reduce, fragment, or degrade habitat for wildlife and ecology without proper planning. Due to the potential effects of wind power on wildlife and the potential for these impacts to delay or hinder a wind development project, addressing impact minimization and permitting issues is a high priority during a wind turbine site selection process.

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