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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: February 2020

10 - Planning and Environment


This chapter contains a broad overview of the technical and environmental issues to be addressed in the construction of onshore wind energy projects. The former include ecological considerations, including birds and mammals; the requirements of typical pre-construction ornithological surveys are described with an example. Public safety and acceptance is discussed in the context of catastrophic damage to wind turbines, visual impact, shadow flicker, and noise nuisance. In the last case, equations and simple rules for noise assessment are given in the context of typical planning guidelines. Sound power levels for a range of commercial wind turbines are compared, and empirical relationships are given relating noise to rated output, rotor size, and tip speed. Risks to aviation are discussed, covering aircraft collision and interference to radar systems, including both primary and secondary surveillance radars. The concept of ‘stealthy’ wind turbine blades is discussed and described in outline. Other siting criteria include avoidance of RF and microwave communications beams and television interference. Rules are given to avoid interference, while minimising required separation distances.