A Geospatial Approach to Siting Wind Right in the Southeast

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2021-04-29

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Abstract

While installed wind turbine capacity continues to increase in the United States, a noticeable void exists in the Southeast due to a combination of poor wind resources, competing energy sources, and political opposition. As manufacturers develop turbines with a higher hub height to harness faster and smoother wind resources, many, including The Nature Conservancy, anticipate significant wind development in the Southeast. The identification of low environmental impact areas will not only lower the risk of project development but will also enable the identification of priority areas for transmission and distribution infrastructure. To capitalize on the opportunity to site wind right from the beginning, this study uses a GIS-based exclusion category approach to identify areas where installed wind power capacity is least likely to disrupt wildlife and sensitive habitats. The geospatial model creates maps where environmental and technical areas that are unsuitable for wind farms are removed. The model considers a sequence of five categories of land exclusion criteria. The resulting geospatial product suggests that even after removing sizable areas from consideration, there is significant land for wind development to meet the energy and climate needs of the Southeast region.

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Feng, Xueying, and Shawn Li (2021). A Geospatial Approach to Siting Wind Right in the Southeast. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/22663.


Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.