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How to select a site for developing Wind Power Projects?

Energy is one of the world’s most basic needs and electrical energy is the most versatile and valuable form it takes. It is evidenced that non-conventional sources can make an abundant contribution to world’s power needs. Among that, wind energy has resulted in a strong ecosystem and it can offer one, perhaps transient, contribution while striving for other ways to establish a supply of clean energy and manage energy demand more effectively. While selecting the site for wind projects development, there are number of the factors that restrict the choice of a location. Generally the wind turbines will sustain for more than 25 years of operation. To safeguard the investor’s investment throughout the life of wind turbines, it is very much important to select the site all along with more precautions. Here we can discuss about some of the factors should be considered while choosing a promising site for developing wind power projects.

Wind Resource Map

Wind is an intermittent and site-specific resource of energy and therefore, an extensive assessment on the available wind resource at the selected site region is utmost essential for the selection of potential sites. There are certain GIS based mapping techniques which produces the wind resource map that reflects a consistent analysis of the distribution of the resource throughout the region of interest . There are web-based tools to help identify promising areas for wind power projects, virtually anywhere in the world. These platforms are easy to compare resource potential between areas in one region or even across the countries.

Power network map

The ideal wind energy harvesting system would require a transmission and distribution system to harvest the produced power to the end user . So it is very much important to study about the existing power evacuation network, where the wind project will be connected and transmit the produced power.

Land availability

Land use information over large areas is increasingly important for many studies related to environment in general and global change in particular. Same way, current Land use & land cover of the proposed land footprint area for wind power projects need to be thoroughly analysed to figure out the land category i.e. government revenue land, private agriculture land, forest land, etc… For ensuring sustainable development, it is necessary to monitor the ongoing process on land use/land cover pattern over a period of time . These GIS based maps also help us to study the changes that are happening in our ecosystem and environment.

Site accessibility

Access to the land is a critical component of accessing the wind power plant. There are some constraints which needs to be taken care on accessing the proposed site are, 

Environmental impact

Some of environmental and social regulations are applicable to wind power projects. Such kind of applicable regulations are as follows: 

Social impact

Social impact study of the proposed project area also necessary to analyse and understand the basic socio-economic structure at the area of interest. Understanding of people livelihood, social relations, institutions, amenities, demography, literacy and land holding range available in the nearby villages provides a vital confident on executing the wind power projects.

Potential consumption

The ability to export the electricity is purely depending on where it may be consumed. Once the wind power plant is harnessed, electricity generated from a plant needs to be connected to either central grid or state grid distribution network so that it can be transported to end users. There are some practical constraints associated with transmission and distribution network which needs to be assessed thoroughly and taken into account before the execution of plant. These practical constraints are often heavily influenced by the distance between the wind power plant and the point of connection to the grid and/or distribution network in relation to the demand centre.

Constraints map

Areas which are not suitable for wind turbine installations (No-go Areas) to be identified and demarcated. Safe distance to be considered from any kind of housing structure and/or settlement as per the guidelines of respective authorized bodies. With the help of special GIS analysis and available databases we can identify the distribution of constraints on the proposed development sites. The analyses of the constraints on windfarm development area is most important to identify the occurrence of sensitive receptors in the specific zones.

Once the all the identified factors are analysed and studied and then accumulate all the factors together to get a greater impression about the selected region.

“Transition to clean renewable energy is about making an investment in our bright future”

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