Wind Farm Site

Positive And Negative Effects Of Wind Energy

Despite the fact that wind energy comprises a technologically mature, economically competitive and environmentally friendly energy source, it is necessary to reference these negative impacts to fully understand the environmental impacts of this industry. Life-cycle assessments of wind power production systems focused mainly on energy consumption and the potential for negative environmental impacts from raw material extraction through material processing to disposal or recycling of wind.

There are many impacts that have potential negative effects on ecosystem:

1- Noise pollution: The noise from a wind turbine, which affects the fatality of species especially bats, comes mostly by interaction of the blades with the air.

2- Bird fatalities: The risk of turbine collisions comes mostly in early wind installations.

3- Bat fatalities: There are many factors that have been associated with the death of bats such as the turning rotor blades of wind turbines, the increasing height of wind turbines, and the construction of roads and removal of trees.

4- Greenhouse gas emissions: The production of raw materials, such as steel and concrete that are required to build the foundation of a wind farm, is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions of wind power.

5- Land surface impacts: Precipitation of areas near wind farms get affected due to the impact on cloud formation.

Proposed Site


A Wind Farm

Glenmore townland in Clare County is my proposed site for an onshore wind farm.

The selection is based on many criteria to protect the environment and reduce the impact on the environment by considering many direct impacts such as noise pollution and bird fatalities. There are many other indirect impacts on the environment such as the wind speed and landscape.

Noise Pollution and Land Surface impacts

Since the noise, produced by wind turbines, is one of the main limitations for the extensive development of wind energy due to the strong resistance from people who live nearby, the site was chosen mainly based on a low population density per km2.

Also, the population of this townland is decreasing through the years. Nevertheless, the very low density of population indicates that a few people will get affected by cloud formation.

Sensitivity Analysis

Careful site of wind farms is key to minimising negative effects on birds. We undertook this by creating a bird sensitivity map to help plan onshore wind farms in Clare County. The map of bird sensitivities has been created to base on distributions of bird species. The likely sensitivity of species to wind farms was assessed from literature, based on collision risk and sensitivity to disturbance. This information was used to buffer species’ locations to identify areas of ‘high’ , ‘medium’ or ‘low’. The map indicates low bird sensitivity in the selected site in order to prevent or reduce turbine collision.

The site was considered also based on the protected species by the law in order to protect them from wind farm construction and turbine collisions.

Mitigation Measures

Mitigation involves any process, activity or action designed to avoid, reduce or compensate those significant adverse impacts.

Several measures to minimize the impacts toward the environment:

  • Adjusting the blade angle of the wind turbine. Under the situation of blade setting angle corresponds with wind force condition, it should reduce the visual angle between blade and important environmental sensitive regions as much as possible to reduce the impact on landscape visual sensitive areas.

  • The settlement position of wind power generator should avoid facing houses as much as possible, especially villages with more people and dense houses.

  • The wind farm should be structured uphill. The reason behind that is the correlation between a wind turbine height and the number of killed birds, especially bats; thus structuring wind farm uphill reduce the need for tall turbines.


Although wind energy is environment-friendly, it impacts the environment in some way.

The impacts are considered small in the selection site based on two aspects:

  • Low population density in the wind farm area.

  • Low bird sensitivity.

As a result, the noise pollution is minimized by the advanced mechanical studies and the criteria on selecting the site. However, the sensitivity analysis highlight that the best alternatives of selecting the site are independent of the weights of the criteria that influence the decision. In particular, selecting a site in a low bird sensitive area is the most efficient method to minimize turbine collision.