Building new wind farms means finding the right location

Wind energy companies are experts in finding perfect area for new wind farms. Here are some of the things they consider when looking for a location:

  • Adequate wind:  Developers typically review 1-3 years of meteorological data to measure wind speed and consistency at a potential location.  This data is collected by meteorological towers built near the project site.

  • Community support: The U.S. wind industry works hand-in-hand with communities to build new projects. Developers gain community support through outreach, engagement and transparency. They should encourage public input and involvement early in the planning process. 

  • Landowner partners: Ninety-nine percent of operating wind turbines in the U.S. are located on private land. So developers work with willing landowners on contracts to lease land in exchange for payment.

  • Wildlife and environmental studies: American wind power is proud of its legacy of care for the environment and wildlife.  The wind industry works closely with federal and state authorities when selecting sites and developing projects. Developers have to carefully identify and mitigate any potential impacts on land and wildlife.

  • Permits: The wind industry is carefully regulated. Developers must secure proper permits from all levels of government, from local construction and road permits to federal water and species permits.

  • Transmission: Access to adequate and available transmission capacity is essential. Wind developers can avoid costs by using existing transmission when possible and building new infrastructure as needed.

  • A buyer for the wind power: Developers secure a utility or other entity to purchase power generated by the wind project, even before building it.

  • Financing: In order to build and operate a wind farm, developers need an investor. These are typically large banks that carefully review the business plan, which helps ensure the project is a good investment. 

  • Decommissioning:  Wind turbines have long life cycles, lasting several decades. Typically, before a project is even built, the developer creates a plan for how it will be removed and the land returned to its owner once the project reaches the end of its useful life.

Companies must secure each of these elements 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. However, these steps are necessary to ensure profitable projects, happy host communities, and good stewardship of the land.