Utility-scale wind farms are located in 41 states, with distributed wind installed in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam. The United States Wind Turbine Database (which can be viewed using the United States Wind Turbine Database Viewer) is a comprehensive dataset of wind turbine locations in the United States that is updated quarterly.
WINDExchange has a map showing utility-scale installed capacity by state. In Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, and North Dakota, wind generates more than 20% of the electricity. Off the coast of Rhode Island, the United States currently has one offshore wind farm.
In terms of installed capacity and electricity output from wind, the United States is second only to China. Wind power generates more than 20% of the electricity in Denmark, Portugal, and Ireland.
When it comes to wind turbines, where should they not be installed?
Here are some crucial questions to consider for all developers, consultants, property owners, lenders, and site hosts.
Determine the wind class for onshore wind projects and whether it corresponds to the cut-in speed and ideal wind speed for the proposed wind turbine. It’s also crucial to consider whether neighboring obstructions may generate turbulence, which will obstruct airflow passage to the site and shorten turbine life. The distance between a turbine and the nearest obstruction should be at least twice the turbine height, unless the turbine is more than twice the height of the impediment, in which case it can be less. Although it may seem self-evident, it is crucial to emphasize that wind turbines should not be installed near the bottom of a hill or within a valley. In terms of wind resource, the ideal locations are usually high on mountains, in big open fields, or on the border of bodies of water.
It’s also crucial to examine the amount of wind shear at the planned location. Offshore turbines, in particular, can be subjected to a great deal of wind shear, thus it’s critical to build an array that can handle it.
Whether you’re planning a utility-scale or distributed-generation project, electricity rates are crucial to consider. “What do electricity tariffs have to do with site selection?” you might wonder. The answer is a resounding yes. In the Southeast, for example, it is considerably more difficult to make a wind project financially viable than it is in California or the Northeast. Electricity tariffs are also a major driver of development in the Caribbean right now. The Energy Information Administration’s website provides estimates for energy costs in the United States.
It’s critical to figure out who has control of the site early on. Whether consultants and their clients do not have site control, it must be established whether the site may be purchased or leased, or if an agreement with the site owner can be reached.
CohnReznick Think Energy, for example, has worked with retail customers on long-term leases as well as real estate investment trusts on the other side of the fence. In these circumstances, it’s crucial to figure out how the wind farm’s power is metered, who is obligated to buy it, and what happens to the asset when the lease expires or the host customer goes out of business.
Is the asset owner under a direct-access contract that prevents onsite generation if the project will be distributed generation?
This is an important question that is frequently missed. If you’re thinking about doing a distributed-generation project, check to see if the site host has a direct-access contract with a third-party electricity supplier that prevents onsite generating. It is often possible to modify the conditions of a direct-access contract that prohibits onsite generation in exchange for a slightly changed electric rate.
Many utilities have minimum system size requirements for interconnection to the grid, net metering to the grid, or both. Furthermore, the manner in which these boundaries are defined differs each state.
Some states, for example, limit net metering to 1 MW per address, while others limit net metering per meter number. California permits ‘virtual net metering,’ which allows some businesses, including as public schools, to move net metered credits from one location to another. To understand how net metering and interconnection can effect your project, study your utility’s and state’s rules.
All local, regional, and national permits required for a prospective location should be identified. It may be beneficial to determine what other projects have been erected nearby, if any, and what permits they required. If a neighboring project was suspended owing to the presence of an endangered animal or plant, the proposed location could face a similar issue. Building codes and permits differ by region. Wind-turbine sites in the Northeast, for example, must meet strict snow-load standards, while installations in California must meet harsh seismic requirements. For major wind projects, it may also be worthwhile to investigate whether an easement can be obtained to ensure that future structures nearby that would block the wind resource or induce turbulence are not built.
When it comes to project siting, the first crucial factor to examine is whether the location is physically suitable for the technology. This can include, but is not limited to, physical space requirements for the array and equipment (see the section on nearby obstructions, above), soil structural stability, slope and direction on the site, and closeness to a local interconnection point. It’s also worth noting the current onsite vegetation and whether it’ll need to be pruned for construction and maintenance as part of the project’s ongoing operations and maintenance.
Because these difficulties can have a substantial impact on a project’s cost, it’s critical to figure out when and how construction will take place. Our firm recently worked on a project in the Caribbean where the greatest location for a wind turbine in terms of wind resource was a cliff on the island’s extreme eastern side. However, it was shortly discovered that there is no road to the location, and that while a helicopter lift of equipment would be conceivable, the only commercial helicopters accessible in the area were passenger helicopters, which were unsuitable for heavy cargo. Furthermore, the turbines’ future operations and maintenance would be problematic due to the position. The choice was made for this project to site the wind turbines closer to the developed portion of the island, where the wind regime is not as favorable.
It’s a good idea to look into local news or police records to see if there’s been any vandalism in the neighborhood. Additional site security, such as cameras, lights, and fencing, may be available. Installing these additional security measures, however, may be a budgetary strain for the enterprise.
There are other technology-specific considerations to consider after you’ve addressed the broad site selection questions. As an example, here’s a quick checklist of the things CohnReznick Think Energy normally evaluates when analyzing potential wind-energy locations (in addition to the previously listed topics).
- Is there any restriction on access to the site, such as it being restricted at particular times?
- Is there enough room for a staging area with a crane, construction trailers, dumpsters, various trucks, cement mixers, concrete pumps, and other equipment?
- Is there electricity and water on site, or will a generator and water supply be required?
While this list is neither thorough nor comprehensive, it does provide an overview of a few key factors to consider when choosing a site. Site selection will obviously be a learning experience for developers, consultants, property owners, financiers, and site hosts who are new to the wind sector. This overview can be used as a jumping off point for the rest of the process. WPE
Wind turbines can be placed almost anyplace.
Because wind is nothing more than moving air, there is no limit to how far wind energy can travel.
Thousands of machines harness wind power to generate energy that is supplied to millions of households in every corner, from residential areas to big wind farms.
These wind farms, like Capricorn, have a total capacity of 662 megawatts and are equipped with 400 wind turbines.
Given how clean and safe wind energy is compared to fossil fuels, wind turbines are expected to be ubiquitous in the near future.
What are the drawbacks of wind power?
- Wind turbines convert wind energy into useful power by spinning a generator, which is spun by the wind movement.
- Wind energy has several advantages: it does not emit greenhouse gases, it is renewable, it is space-efficient, it produces inexpensive energy, and it encourages employment growth.
- Wind energy has a number of drawbacks, including its unpredictability, the damage it poses to animals, the low-level noise it produces, the fact that it is not visually beautiful, and the fact that there are only a few areas ideal for wind turbines.
- The wind business has developed significantly over the last few decades, and it appears that this trend will continue.
Is it possible to build wind turbines in the ocean?
Floating wind turbines are moored to the seabed by mooring lines, whereas most offshore wind turbines are anchored to the ocean floor on fixed foundations, limiting them to depths of roughly 165 feet. These massive buildings are built on land and then towed out to sea by boats.
What factors influence where wind farms are built?
The annual energy production and how the value of the energy produced compares to other sources of energy are critical factors in determining where a wind farm (also known as a wind park or a wind factory) should be located. As a result, using long-term data is crucial. After 23 years of data collection at a possible site, more questions should arise:
What are the disadvantages of wind energy?
Noise and visual pollution are two of the most significant drawbacks of wind energy. Because of the mechanical operation and the wind vortex formed when the blades rotate, wind turbines can be noisy when in operation. Furthermore, because wind turbines must be constructed high enough to capture a significant quantity of wind, they frequently disrupt otherwise beautiful scenery such as mountain ranges, lakes, and coastlines.
What is the maximum distance that wind turbines can be located offshore?
Because of the proportion of the planet’s surface area covered by oceans and seas relative to land mass, offshore wind resources are both large and dispersed by nature. Due to the lack of land mass obstacles and the lower surface roughness of water compared to land features such as forests and savannah, wind speeds offshore are known to be significantly higher than onshore, as evidenced by global wind speed maps that cover both onshore and offshore areas using the same input data and methodology. Wind turbine energy delivered to the grid in the North Sea is roughly 30 kWh/m2 of sea area per year. The amount of energy produced per square kilometer of seabed is roughly independent of turbine size.
Because energy can only be generated from offshore wind resources where turbines can be anchored, the technical exploitable resource potential for offshore wind is a function of average wind speed and ocean depth. Fixed foundation offshore wind turbines can now be built up to a depth of 50 meters (160 feet). Beyond that, floating foundation turbines would be required, which, based on existing suggested technology, might allow installation at depths of up to one kilometer (3,300 feet). It has been estimated that there is over 17 terawatt (TW) of offshore wind technical potential in just the 50 countries studied, not including most OECD countries such as Australia, Japan, the United States, or Western Europe, based on an analysis of viable water depths and wind speeds over seven metres per second (23 ft/s). Argentina and China, both well-endowed countries, have nearly 2TW and 3TW of potential, demonstrating the huge potential of offshore wind in such regions.