The Wind Energy Siting Handbook was developed by the AWEA Siting Committee, in collaboration with Nixon
Peabody LLP and Tetra Tech EC, Inc., to assist wind energy developers in addressing the regulatory and environmental issues associated with commercial-scale, land-based wind projects within the United States. It is intended to be a guidance document for use in conjunction with other available resources (listed in this document and on the AWEA website) and consultations with environmental professionals and regulators. This handbook should be the starting point in a process of evaluating the environmental impacts, regulatory setting, and compliance requirements relative to the siting of a wind energy project.
The potential involvement of three levels of government –federal, state, and local – makes a “one-size-fits-all” approach to siting impractical. This handbook is intended to facilitate navigation of a wide array of statutory and regulatory programs, some of which have significant overlap. Project impacts that may be significant in one locale may not be pertinent elsewhere. Developers must determine the specific federal, state, and local requirements that are relevant to a particular project, recognizing that not all requirements discussed in this handbook will apply to every project, and additional requirements not addressed may also be applicable.
Although this handbook guides the reader through the entire development process, certain aspects of this process that are not directly related to environmental issues are not described in detail. Items that are not considered part of the scope include:
This handbook has been designed to take the reader from the basic steps and considerations within the development process through to construction of the wind project.
Chapter 2, Wind Energy Basics, provides an overview of the development process and describes the basic components of a wind project.
Chapter 3, Critical Environmental Issues Analysis, describes the initial environmental due diligence portion of the development process.
Chapter 4, Regulatory Framework, provides a discussion of the regulatory and permitting requirements often associated with the development of a wind project.
Chapter 5, Impact Analysis and Mitigation, describes the environmental studies and other techniques available to assess the potential environmental impacts associated with the development of a wind project. This chapter also provides a discussion of possible mitigation measures and monitoring techniques to be used for addressing unavoidable or unknown impacts.
Chapter 6, ASTM Environmental Site Assessments, discusses the basic elements of conducting an environmental site assessment generally required for financing of wind projects.
Chapter 7, Public Outreach, describes the importance of, and techniques often used by developers for, coordinating closely with the community in which they are operating throughout the development process.
Each wind energy project requires due diligence in its particular locale. Developers must determine which environmental features are found on the site, determine any potential impacts associated with the project, and the specific regulatory agencies that have jurisdiction over the project. The developer should consult with the relevant agencies as early as possible in the development process without jeopardizing the competitiveness of project. The value of engaging an environmental professional early in the process should be considered in light of the regulatory hurdles that inevitably arise in siting a wind energy project. The studies required in the permitting process should be science-based and tailored to the specific site. Each wind developer has a responsibility to further the reputation of the industry by providing appropriate and sound oversight of the regulatory process. This handbook has been designed for use as a tool in this process.
For questions or comments regarding the Wind Energy Siting Handbook, please contact:
American Wind Energy Association
Copyright 2008 American Wind Energy Association.
All rights reserved.