thumbnail

Land cover and topography affect the land transformation caused by wind facilities

PLoS ONE

By:
and
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088914

Links

Abstract

Land transformation (ha of surface disturbance/MW) associated with wind facilities shows wide variation in its reported values. In addition, no studies have attempted to explain the variation across facilities. We digitized land transformation at 39 wind facilities using high resolution aerial imagery. We then modeled the effects of turbine size, configuration, land cover, and topography on the levels of land transformation at three spatial scales. The scales included strings (turbines with intervening roads only), sites (strings with roads connecting them, buried cables and other infrastructure), and entire facilities (sites and the roads or transmission lines connecting them to existing infrastructure). An information theoretic modeling approach indicated land cover and topography were well-supported variables affecting land transformation, but not turbine size or configuration. Tilled landscapes, despite larger distances between turbines, had lower average land transformation, while facilities in forested landscapes generally had the highest land transformation. At site and string scales, flat topographies had the lowest land transformation, while facilities on mesas had the largest. The results indicate the landscape in which the facilities are placed affects the levels of land transformation associated with wind energy. This creates opportunities for optimizing wind energy production while minimizing land cover change. In addition, the results indicate forecasting the impacts of wind energy on land transformation should include the geographic variables affecting land transformation reported here.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Land cover and topography affect the land transformation caused by wind facilities
Series title:
PLoS ONE
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0088914
Volume
9
Issue:
2
Year Published:
2014
Language:
English
Publisher:
Public Library of Science
Publisher location:
San Francisco, CA
Contributing office(s):
Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center
Description:
7 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
PLoS ONE
Number of Pages:
7
Country:
United States