How the major issues encountered during the whether the environmental issues were adequately addressed by the stakeholders and the governmental agencies involved with the project…………?
The project seeks to generate a renewable energy source for the country by exploiting the naturally available wind resource. However in trying to develop this rare technology, it faces several usual and unique challenges. These challenges include; siting difficulty, public opposition, regulatory roadblocks, environmental constraints, system barriers and many others.
Siting difficulty is a major problem that is faced when deciding on the location for the wind power plant. It is important to locate wind plants where wind is blowing. Besides there is need to consider the topography of the landscape and land cover of the surrounding environment of the location. These have a serious impact on the mechanical operation of this power generating plant. Such problems are bound to cause technical problems.
Problems also arise from the general public who are normally not wiling to easily accept such problems since they normally consider more of the negative impacts than the positive impacts. People tend think that the negative environmental impacts can not be mitigated (Drillisch and Meyer, n. date).
Another problem identified by project planners was the problems related to regulations imposed on such projects. Obtaining permits and license for legally establishing such projects are normally costly and time consuming, and sometimes may not be permitted. There is no standard duration for which applicants for permits are supposed to be given a feedback. It has to involve inter-agency co-ordination since there is no particular agency that has been put in place to deal with matters of renewable energy projects. The existing agencies are not familiar with renewable energy and thus it takes such along time to do cost-benefit analysis to the economy and the environment.
Most areas where the project can be established again may not have supporting facilities like transmission lines which renewable energy seriously depend on, was identified by the planners as a major constraint in such areas. Renewable energy requires connection to some already existing facilities or distribution lines like power lines.
In order to solve the problem of location of the project site, appropriate research and considerations were done to ensure that the area chosen had favorable wind or wind that is consistent and is of low turbulence. The project was located in a region close to the transmission lines which have the capacity to support the lines for this renewable resource. Another consideration was made on the ability of renewable energy resource to be integrated with other energy resource for which it to share the transmission lines with. Proximity to the road was also considered in order to make the project development activities easier and for easier access.
The project developers also found the need to make project more acceptable to the community by involving public in the initial stages of the project development activities. Land which has always a major cause of conflicts whenever a new project is being initiated was acquired legally by acquiring land use rights from the cooperative agencies. All the stakeholders including the government through its federal agencies were in involved in the development process at different stages. The permission to use cultural resources was granted and measures to protect and conserve cultural resources were put in place.
All the necessary permissions to carry on with the project were acquired including obtaining permission to establish the project on the federal land. They were patient and waited for approximately one year to obtain the permit to carry on with project. All the five guidelines as required by the local government which are considered while siting a renewable wind project were put in place. The procedures as required by the agency were considered in order to ensure that the project is compliant to the agency.
In order to address the fears of environmental concern of noise, influence on wildlife habitat and the creation of dangerous conditions for human life, environmental impact assessment was done by the project developers in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and an Environmental Impact Statement was developed to determine the mitigation measures. Measures were put in place to combat the anticipated negative impacts of the project on environment (Developing a wind farm, 2008).
. Such measures addressed issues on sound and visual effects and safety issues. Post construction monitoring was put in place to gauge the effects of the project on endangered species of both animals and plants. Measures were put in place to mitigate the negative impacts on the quality of air and the climate in general. Appropriate ways of solid waste disposal were put in place in order not to pollute the environment.
For this project to be sustainable the project developers developed both long and short- term plans for the project. They were open to views from other stakeholders on alternatives measures and ideas.
The project is a wake up call for the government the government to come up with new policies and regulations guiding renewable energy resource. There is need to create a federal energy agency that directs deals with renewable energy resources so as to reduce the redundancy and beauracracy in acquiring permits and license. There is also the need to expand infrastructure especially the distribution lines across regions.
In order to address the concern of energy security and electricity reliability, it is important to invest more in renewable energy resources since they are clean and secure and is advancement towards reduction of greenhouse gases (The Wind Turbine Company, 2004).
Drillisch, J. and Meyer, T.M. (n. date).Wind Energy in Developing and Emerging Countries. Retrieved from: http://www.wwindea.org/technology/ch02/en/2_7_1.html
Horizon Wind Energy (2008). Developing a wind farm
The Wind Turbine Company (2004). The wind turbine company awarded $800,000 contract. Retrieved from: http://www.windturbinecompany.com/
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