Feasibility study and scoping the area

Feasibility study

The purpose of the feasibility study phase is:

  1. to find a suitable site for wind turbines
  2. preliminary assessment of the technical, economic, environmental and land-use conditions for project implementation

The project is based on the feasibility study. The study starts off with finding a suitable location (wind conditions, infrastructure, land use, environment), in which case a few sites that are interesting on the basis of the map are compared with each other. The second starting point of the feasibility study is the assessment of the technical, economic and land-use conditions for implementation. This assessment is drawn up for the site that is estimated to be the best on the basis of the results of the first phase. The feasibility study is usually based on a computer-assisted estimate of the wind conditions. Wind measurements at the site itself will not be carried out until at a later stage.

The failure of a project is often due to a poorly conducted feasibility study. Therefore, the feasibility study is usually carried out with care because the cost of the feasibility study is typically smaller than the loss of earnings in just one month resulting from an error of assessment.

Selection of the wind power area

When selecting the location, compromises between various factors are usually made. The windiest location is not necessarily the best because other conditions are decisive in the selection of the final location.

When seeking potential sites, the operators often use regional wind condition surveys, such as the Finnish Wind Atlas. When studying the Wind Atlas, it is worth remembering that currently the hub height of wind turbines is usually more than 150 metres, whereas the wind condition data provided by the Wind Atlas is measured at a height of 100 and 200 metres. Therefore, the Wind Atlas provides approximate estimates of windiness in different areas.

When choosing the location for wind turbines, a good guide is the report “Planning Wind Farm Construction” published by the Ministry of the Environment.

What to take into account when drawing up a more detailed plan for the location of wind turbines:

  • protected areas or relics located in the planned project area or in its vicinity
  • presence of birds of prey or other protected species
  • distance to permanent and holiday residences determined according to noise modelling
  • distance of planned wind turbines to roads
  • distance required between individual turbines
  • optimisation of production – differences in wind conditions in the aera
  • land ownership in the project area and its vicinity, and property boundaries

There are a number of different factors that determine the choice of location for wind turbines. These include:

  • Wind conditions
  • Options of connecting to the grid
  • Residences
  • Nature values
  • Landowners’ attitudes towards the project
  • Municipality’s attitudes towards the project
  • Land use planning situation in the area