Meteorological Towers

Meteorological towers, or wind measurement systems, include three major components: 1) anemometers, which are sensors that measure wind speed and direction, 2) a data logger, and 3) a meteorological mast. These towers can also be equipped with sensors to measure temperature and pressure. Meteorological towers can be of steel tube or lattice construction, and can be free-standing or guyed. These towers may be temporary to assess the wind resource prior to the development of a project, or permanent to assist in operation of the facility by transmitting information about wind speed and direction to each wind turbine and to the control facility. Permits are often required to install a meteorological tower, which are separate from the permits necessary to construct and operate the wind energy project.

2.3 Building a Wind Farm

Although this handbook focuses primarily on the environmental considerations through the development process it is worth noting the key aspects of the construction process to better assess potential impacts.

Construction of a wind farm involves much more than erecting turbines. Land must be temporarily cleared and graded for a construction trailer, laydown yard, and equipment staging area. What follows is a list of common improvements and issues to be considered during construction:

Improvements to public roads to handle heavy construction equipment and widening of intersections to accommodate oversize vehicles.

Creation of access roads for construction access to each turbine location.

Preparation of each turbine location for construction, which typically requires the clearing and grading of a diameter of 150 to 250 feet around the tower site.

Installation of temporary and/or permanent meteorological towers.

Addition of lights or connection to a power source for larger meteorological towers.

Construction of miles of underground and/or overhead electrical collection lines to connect turbines to the collection substation

Construction at a wind project in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Photo courtesy of AWEA.

• Clearing and grading of the site(s) for the substation(s).

• Creation of transmission lines to connect the project to the power grid, including construction of access roads and laydown areas to support transmission line construction.

• Construction of an O&M building, which requires clearing and grading, and sometimes the construction of new roads, septic facilities, sewer connections, and installation of a private well or municipal water connection.

• Identification of disposal areas for construction debris, such as slash from clearing and excess soil and rock.

• Consideration of environmental compliance measures during construction including environmental training for construction crews. For some projects, environmental inspectors may be required.

Wind Turbine Projects
Erecting a wind turbine at the Munnsville Wind Power Project. Photo courtesy of AWEA.

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Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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