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MAST (group 4) Equate windfarm project

MohamadSaheli
0

 

Weightings

2

1

1

1.5

1

1

1

2

 

Locations

Biodiversity

Archaeology

Tourism

Site Access

Aviation

Existing Infrastructure

Agricultural Land

Cumulative Impact

Total

1

4

3

2

5

4

4

4

4

40.5

2

3

5

5

5

4

4

4

4

43.5

3

5

5

4

2

5

5

5

1

39

4

1

2

1

5

1

3

3

5

29.5

5

5

5

3

0

5

3

4

5

41

6

2

4

2

3

5

4

5

5

38.5

 

Location Selection

Inverclyde was chosen as the most suitable area for a wind farm after inspecting each site individually and comparing their merits and disadvantages using the matrix shown. Weightings were chosen as a group, after identifying the most important factors when selecting a location. Key factors that led to location 2 being selected was its distance to nature reserves, with only one minor area being identified to the south, tourism is scarce in the area, and we identified an opportunity to improve it in the area with the construction of walking trails and paths. Also, site access and proximity to the nearest substation were important factors, that significantly reduced costs that may occur due to power lines being installed, and roads being modified. Lastly, it makes good use of land which is otherwise unsuitable for agriculture.

Inverclyde Census 2011

To get a clearer picture of the demographics of the area, we looked at the 2011 census results for Inverclyde and compared it with the national average.

The unemployment rate was higher than the national average, meaning that an infrastructure project such as our wind farm could provide a boost in employment in the local area, and help convince locals to approve of the project

We also noticed that 61.9% of residents own the homes they live in, and so we must ensure to ease any concerns residents may have about rising house prices as a result of the construction of a wind farm in the area.

Census 2011 - UnemploymentCensus 2011 - Tenure

Important Landmarks to Note

Taking a look at a map of the area, we can see there are a few houses and landmarks to watch out for when positioning the turbines, with our proposed site shown in yellow.

Map of Inverclyde with landmarks

To the south, in green, you can see a Natura 2000 site. MAST will ensure that our turbines are at least 2km from this site to minimise any potential disruption.

In red, you can see the nearest houses to the site. We will ensure that turbines are located at least 750m from these houses to minimise noise and shadow flicker, which are sources of possible curtailment we may have to undertake.

In purple on the eastern border of the site, you can see the substation. Our close proximity to this substation means a significant decrease in the cost of setting up our wind farm.

In blue to the north of the site is a local historical site, a Roman Fortlet. We will ensure that our turbines do not disturb this site, but also seize the opportunity to improve educational resources at the site and will erect some informational signs along the walking paths we intend to construct, to provide further benefit to the local community.

Technical Design

Site

Turbine 1

Turbine 2

Turbine 3

Turbine 4

Turbine 5

Turbine 6

Turbine 7

Turbine 8

U [m/s]

9.4

10.07

8.96

9.73

8.97

9.96

9.31

9.58

RIX [%]

7.2

6.4

7.6

6.1

6.2

4.9

3.8

3.4

dRIX [%]

4.6

3.7

4.9

3.5

3.6

2.2

1.2

0.8

 

The energy production of the wind farm is given in the table below, with a net AEP of 186.47GWh/year being the important value, leading to a net capacity factor of 47.5%, including total losses of 15.88%.

The sources of loss were estimated conservatively, and the values selected are justified as follows: An electrical loss of 2% is in the lower bounds and acknowledges the sites close proximity to the local substation. A turbine performance loss was selected to be 2%, we understand losses will occur compared with lab conditions, but keeping RIX and dRIX values as low as possible should help ensure these losses are minimal. An availability loss of 4% was assigned, as despite not being in a remote location, the local substation may have capacity issues considering there are neighbouring wind farms. Environmental loss of 1.5% was chosen to reflect possible icing losses, however, we don’t envisage this to be too significant. Lastly, wake losses of 3.38 were calculated using WAsP, with a further 2% included to account for the neighbouring wind farm to the left.

Gross AEP [GWh]

221.671

Gross Capacity Factor [%]

56.4

Total loss [%]

15.88

Net AEP [GWh]

186.47

Net Capacity Factor [%]

47.5

 

Loss

%

 

 

Electrical Losses

2

 

 

Turbine Performance

2

 

 

Availability

4

 

 

Curtailment

1

 

 

Environmental

1.5

 

 

Wake Losses

3.38+2

 

 

Total

15.88

 

       

 

Map showing wind turbine location

Turbine Delivery

As local residents raised concerns about construction on the site causing disruption to the soil at the Natura 200 site to the south, we have carefully planned the delivery of the turbines, with the proposed route shown in red on the map, and our site shown in yellow.

All deliveries will be made under police escort by slow-moving vehicles for the protection of other road users.

MAST will liaise with Police Scotland, Inverclyde Council and Traffic Scotland to transport the turbines at times in which traffic will be low, to cause minimal disruption to local life.

This route has been selected as all roads are of suitable width to accommodate vehicles of the required size and weight.

To select the most appropriate turbine, a sample wind farm was created using WASP, using the 2.4MW, 3.6MW and 5.6MW turbines respectively. The energy output, finances and logistics associated with each wind farm were then compared to make an informed decision. Overall, the 5.6MW turbine was selected, as it required significantly fewer turbines to produce a high energy yield. This leads to a reduced visual impact on the landscape, easier and less disruptive construction that also allows power lines to be avoided. Spacing between turbines was increased to reduce wake losses, and it was easier to handle physical constraints using fewer turbines. Lastly, the larger turbine performs better at lower wind speeds than the 2.4MW and 3.6MW turbines, which have a higher frequency than greater wind speeds.

Map of site - social and environmental conditions were taken into account

A 44.8MW capacity wind farm was designed using WAsP, consisting of 8 5.6MW turbines, each 110m hub height. Social and environmental considerations were taken into account during the design of the wind farm, keeping sufficient distance from the nature site to the south, around 1km from the Roman fortlet to the north, and over 800m from the nearest homes as to avoid the potential noise and shadow flicker curtailment. Furthermore, no shadow is expected to fall on neighbouring homes, due to the position and location of the turbines. The substation is highlighted in yellow, and its close proximity greatly reduces the costs associated with constructing power lines or laying cables. However, care was also taken to avoid power lines in the surrounding area which are connected to the substation. It is shown in the table that RIX values were kept below 10% for each turbine, and dRIX values were also kept as low as possible. Care was also taken to space turbines 5 rotor diameters apart, around 750m, to reduce wake losses. This is shown by the white circles in the image below. The exact location of the neighbouring wind farm is not known exactly, however, from online sources it is estimated that it is to the west of our site, so further wake losses are considered to acknowledge this.

Environmental Impact

To minimise environmental impact steps would be taken in line with EU and Scottish guidance. Initial screening identified an Environmental impact assessment would be required, as the proposed wind farm location is approximately 2 km from a Natura 2000 site and although the soil on the proposed site itself is mineral podzols, it is adjacent to peatland. The impact would be assessed by performing wildlife and habitat assessments, landscape and visual impact assessments and noise assessments. The results from these assessments would then guide any adjustments required to the design. Results from the habitat assessment would also guide if neighbouring peatland was affected, in which case a carbon calculation would be performed to measure the carbon footprint. Following any adjustments, the EIA is then repeated, until the Environmental impact is acceptably low.

Social Impact

In line with noise regulations, a wind farm of 8 turbines, is located greater than 750 m from the nearest houses. However, if advised by noise studies, additional measures could be taken. These would preferably be measures such as, edge brushes or serrations, which do not affect power output, rather than measures such as, changing pitch angle or using acoustically optimised airfoils, which do reduce the power output.

The proposed site location was selected according to the surrounding landscape characteristics to minimise visual impact. Additional measures would then be taken if advised by the visual study, such as painting the turbines a neutral colour or using anti-reflective paint.

Shadow flicker assessments will guide the turbine size and positioning if flickering is identified as an issue. Offending turbines may also have to be shut down at times of flickering.

With 62 % of the community owning their house the negative effect on house prices was identified as a key concern by locals. However, a study by the Scottish centre of expertise for climate change in 2016, found no consistent evidence that house prices of houses near wind farms are negatively affected and, in many cases, found prices were actually positively affected.

Community Engagement

In line with Scottish guidance, we intend to engage with the community at all stages of the project. To achieve this a community liaison officer will be employed to organise public exhibitions and meetings. A website will also be created giving updates on the project development and containing a Q&A forum. All results from the various assessments and resulting steps are taken will be provided. Finally, it is also aimed to increase the communities understanding of the importance of renewable energy and protecting the environment, by running educational workshops, including at schools.

Community Benefit

This project would significantly benefit the community. Inverclyde has unemployment levels and a number of youngsters not in education, greater than the Scottish average. By working with the Inverclyde council and the Inverclyde apprenticeship programme, the project will look to create jobs and apprenticeships for suitable individuals in the area.

Another aim of the project is to increase understanding of the importance of renewable energy and protecting the environment, through educational workshops including at schools.

£150000 of the annual project will be contributed to a community benefit fund, to help fund local projects. To provide greater opportunity for the community to explore the natural environment on their doorstep, existing cycling and walking routes around the wind farm will be expanded, by working alongside Inverclyde council and community tracks. A small car park and visitor centre will also be built on site.

25-year Financial Forecast:

Table showing 25 year financial forecast

Key points about the financial forecast:

  • Grid connection cost is 750,000 pounds due to the substation being only 1 km away.
  • Rent goes from around 8,000 to around 10,600 in the thirteenth year due to rent agreements.
  • The amount to be loaned is to cover the first year of expenses (including overheads and the first year of rent)​
  • The social and environmental costs were estimated with reference to already existing agreements upheld by neighbouring wind farms​.
  • To account for the noise, visual, and bird studies required in the initial years and prior to) the windfarm’s operation the first two years of social and environmental costs were doubled​.
  • To ensure that the plans are reliable, and to mitigate the risk associated with unknown variables, a conservative estimate of power output was used to calculate revenue. (Multiplying the net AEP by 70)
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