Siting wind farms requires choosing a proper location

Siting wind energy projects is a crucial part of wind power development and operations. Effective siting can help the U.S. wind energy industry continue the dramatic growth, as well as related economic and environmental benefits, that the country has experienced over the last several years.

To successfully site wind projects, a developer must consider:

  • Adequate wind: Turbines usually need wind that blows at least 11 miles per hour on average.  Small changes in wind speed can make a dramatic difference in the output of a wind farm.
  • Land rights: Developers need to secure adequate land rights from private owners or public agencies, so lease agreements come into play.
  • Permits: Developers must secure proper permits from all levels of government.
  • Transmission: Access to adequate and available transmission capacity is essential, and proximity to existing lines keeps costs down.
  • A buyer for the wind power: Developers must secure a utility or other entity to purchase the power generated from the wind project.
  • Financing: In order to build and operate a wind farm, developers need an investor or investors.

Each of these six elements must be secured to move a wind project from development, through construction, and into operation.  Failure to successfully navigate any one of these issues can result in a shelved project.  On average, only one in ten projects originally conceived by a developer will actually get constructed and put into operation.  

Permitting: Key to wind farm siting and development

Supporting successful development and permitting – whether the permitting is done by local, state or federal agencies – is a top priority for AWEA and the wind industry. Key development and siting issues that we work on are:

Get Informed: The Wind Energy Siting Handbook for Developers

The Wind Energy Siting Handbook was developed by the AWEA Siting Committee to inform wind energy developers and other interested parties about siting issues relevant to land-based, commercial-scale wind energy project development in the United States.  The original version of the handbook, which is still available here, was published in 2008.  It is in the process of being updated.

Get Involved: Join the AWEA Siting Committee

As an AWEA member, you can keep up to date on the latest siting issues, as well as help inform regulatory policies at the national, state and local level, by joining the AWEA Siting Committee.

The committee and its subcommittees advise AWEA on a steady stream of regulatory and legislative comments that we submit in proceedings at the federal, state and local levels.  The committee – which was created by, and reports directly to, the AWEA Board of Directors – also serves as a network for information sharing on key policy, business and scientific issues and developments through regular email updates, in-person meetings, conference calls and webinars.

Contact Michael Speerschneider to join the AWEA Siting Committee. Your input is critical to this process!