Glossary Terms

Decommissioning

Decommissioning as a permitting regulation refers to the process for removing a wind energy conversion system once the project has reached its end. There are a variety of methods used to regulate this area of wind development, from requiring a bond or financial guarantee before a permit is issued to simply requiring a written plan for removing the turbine and associated components.

Appearance

These permitting regulations are designed to reduce the visual impact of a wind turbine, as well as minimize the impact on wildlife, especially birds. The most common requirements are for a white or grey color, and non-reflective finishes to minimize glare.

Access

This permitting regulation category refers to the standards that apply to the service roads or construction roads of a wind project. Construction equipment for large, commercial-scale wind turbines can exceed the allowable weight and size for some rural roads and therefore counties may impose certain requirements in this category.

Municipal Wind Power

Wind energy projects developed by small political subdivisions of cities and townships, rural electrification cooperatives, and other municipal or quasi-municipal entities or municipally owned corporations that provide electric transmission, distribution or generation services.

Wind Shear

A term and calculation used to describe how wind speed increases with height above the surface of the earth. The degree of wind shear is a factor of the complexity of the terrain as well as the actual heights measured. Wind shear increases as friction between the wind and the ground becomes greater. Wind shear is not a measure of the wind speed at a site. It is an extrapolation of the difference in wind speed between two different heights above the ground. Thus, high wind shear at a site does not necessarily mean high wind speeds at the site.

Wind Power Class

A way of quantifying on a scale the strength of the wind at a project site. The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory defines the wind class at a site on a scale from 1 to 7 (1 being low and 7 being high) based on average wind speed and power density to offer guidance to potential developers as to where wind projects might be feasible.

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