Can We Have A Windfarm Here?
#1 Why Here? Windfarm Site Selection...
Have you considered what a wind developer might be looking for when siting a windfarm? Well obviously wind is one of those factors. There are actually five very basic factors, there are many more, but we can generalize it down to five general factors.
The first one is the wind. You have to have good wind and strong wind. And it is best to have wind that blows at the right time of day, that being when the electricity demand is high. Meteorologists can go into great detail regarding wind energy and what is best for a windfarm to be successful. Let's just suffice it to say that there has to be good wind.
But you also have to have available capacity on the transmission line nearby. Well, first of all you have to have a transmission line that is nearby and there has to be available capacity on that line. Look at it this way, in order for a product to be sold, you have to take it to market and with a windfarm and with electricity, a transmission line is how you get that product to market for it to be sold.
A third item that is needed is willing landowners. A wind company can't just waltz in and start erecting turbines without permission from the landowners and that is typically done through a lease agreement with the landowners, that is between the individual landowners and the wind company. So, a wind company will come and lease land and they'll negotiate what needs to happen and what will happen on property and you have to have willing landowners in order to do that.
Another important factor is favorable permitting. Whether we are talking at the federal level with the Production Tax Credit, or the state level or even down at the county level, you must have favorable permitting. By that I mean that a government entity, at pretty much any level, can make it easy for windfarms, but they can also make it difficult. Laws, statutes, ordinances and the like are enacted to either promote something or prevent something. Sometimes windfarms can be affected by those actions.
And then finally, the fifth item, you have to have buildable terrain. Many, if not most projects, are built on relatively flat land, even farmland. But there are some areas of the country that have exceedingly good wind and available transmission. Everything could come together but its just too rugged. Keep in mind that you have to get the cranes, components, supplies and people into the location. And if it is too rugged, then it will be too costly to build the project, thereby making it unfeasible.
So you have these five things: good wind, available capacity on the transmission line, willing landowners, favorable permitting, and buildable terrain. Again, there are more, but at least these five have to come together for a project to be successful. And with these five, you might be able to have a successful windfarm. The Windfarm Guy.