Activities undertaken as part of the project development process include the following:
Stakeholder consultation is a very important part of the development process to ensure each project is both suitable and appropriate. Consultation is undertaken early on in this process with all stakeholders with an interest in the project. A wide range of detailed studies are undertaken that inform an evaluation of the potential of each site in terms of impact on ecology, landscape and visual amenity, noise, archaeology and other environmental factors.
Landscape and visual impact assessment
Many people consider wind turbines to be elegant. They find the motion of the slow-turning blades to be peaceful and feel that wind turbines make a positive contribution to the landscape. However, not everyone agrees with this perspective and as such it is recognised that wind turbines are not suitable at all geographic locations. Potential landscape and visual impacts are assessed by a qualified, expert consultant and through close liaison with communities, landowners and local authorities. This assessment involves use of computer modelling techniques to prepare photomontages which provide an indication of what the wind farm will look like from selected local vantage points.
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Flora and fauna assessment
Like many developments, a wind farm has the potential to affect local ecology either directly or indirectly through behaviour change or habitat loss. Detailed studies are undertaken in close liaison with relevant State and Federal environmental regulators to determine what flora and fauna is in the area and how this may be affected by the project. These studies enable the project to be designed to minimise any impacts on flora and fauna.
Detailed studies are undertaken in close consultation with relevant indigenous groups to assess the potential impact of a project on cultural heritage values. These studies enable the project to be designed to minimise any impacts on cultural heritage values.
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There are strict guidelines that determine acceptable levels of noise at residences in Australia. People who visit wind farms are often surprised at how quiet modern wind turbines are while in operation. Appropriate selection of wind turbine model and thoughtful site layout design ensures that sound levels at residences closest to the site will be within regulated limits. The existing background noise is measured at representative dwellings nearest to proposed wind turbine locations to inform modelling of the additional noise from the wind turbines.
In consultation with the appropriate authorities, an assessment is undertaken to identify suitable transportation routes to and from the site during construction, and methods to minimise impacts of construction traffic on the local community and local roads.
TV & Radio Reception
Potential interference to local television and radiocommunication services are investigated. In the unlikely event that interference does occur, there are a number of technical fix solutions that can be applied to remedy any issues.
In many cases the wind farm development will require a study into potential aviation impacts which will consider the proximity of the project to civil aviation flight paths and radar installations.
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