Prospecting for viable Wind farm sites is a difficult task as it requires the blending of many disparate ranking assessments ranging from landownership issues, community support, meteorological modelling, local grid infrastructure to those logistical elements of site access roads and possible transportation impediments.
Off-shore Wind farms
In the rich wind resource areas along the Eastern Atlantic coast, large wind farms are being deployed off-shore following the tradition of the oil rigs that have been surviving for decades. This expansion requires further legislative work concerning sea-bed ownership and future leasing and profit sharing arrangements. The larger turbines now being specified for some of the larger wind energy farms require new logistical approaches to construct, transport and install components such as the 60m long blades needed.
Wind Farm Finance
In addition to the technical improvements, complex new financing systems are evolving, allowing for longer payback periods and providing increased investor comfort. Renewable Energy Certificate schemes are offering the additional bonus of guaranteed revenues per mega watt hour, well into the future for green energy generators.
Environmental Impact Assessment
Environmental issues surrounding the installation of most sizeable RE installations bring together ecologists and scientists who can assess the local and wider impacts of any development for potential impacts such as noise or shadow flicker. Alongside the multitude of local environmental concerns and national Wildlife Conservation Acts which must be negotiated by those charged with achieving consents, there is the larger impact of international agreements such as Kyoto.
Planning Permissions and Consents
To convert a planning application into a valuable project to be developed is often the hardest and most lengthy phase of any development. Realistic site selection and good communications and PR skills are vital components of any wind development team. A good knowledge of local government regulations and local views are just as important as the technical expertise underpinning the project.