Til vands, til lands og i luften
Udgivet 04/08/2023

Long Term Evaluation of EIA Reports for Onshore Wind Farms

Projektstatus: Afsluttet

The wind energy sector has increased significantly over the last decades, above all in Europe where the total capacity grew from 2.5 GW in 1995 to over 142 GW in 2015, most of which is in form of onshore wind farms.
This growth and more generally the development of all sustainable energies, is increasingly being supported, also because during the past years it has been possible to balance the environmental protection necessary for along-term survival with an economical development.

In order to balance this, the process of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was introduced in the USA around the 70’s and then adopted by the European Community (EC) in 1985. The EIA is a systematic way to examine and assess the impact that different development actions has on the environment, before the development project is decided and executed. In the EIA process different steps are included; screening of projects to define possible impact and the need for an EIA, impact prediction, mitigation and presentation of findings from the EIA.
During all these steps, the participation of the public is crucial. For this reason, the EIA should be considered an iterative process in which there has to be an important interaction among all steps.

But inviting the public into the EIA process is also where conflicts regarding location, nature protection and respect of landscape, between authorities, developers and other stake holders, e.g. neighbors often start. These conflicts lead to many planning appeals and complaints, which delays the planning process. To avoid these delays, it is important that the EIA process is fine-tuned and addresses possible areas of conflicts to eliminate doubts andc oncerns.
The EIA is a very important planning and decision tool, and working with this and improving EIAs to make planning effective, smooth and perhaps faster, is a continous process. One important thing in improving things is to evaluate the present state. This is apparantly not done in a structured way for wind energy projects.

  1. How much do planning processes vary from country to country?
  2. How to choose the points of the EIA to focus on?
  3. How do visualizations and noise modelling correspond with the real conditions?
  4. How stakeholders feel about the process and their involvement in it?
Capgemini Engineering, France
Støttet af
Capgemini Engineering, France
Planning processes for wind farm projects are carried out on a similar basis in Denmark, Italy and France, based on European Union (EU) directives, with a few national differences. The same can be said for the EIA, which is structured in the same way and addressing the same topics. However, communication about wind farm projects is done quite differently in the 3 countries: much information is given to the public in Denmark, but not as much in Italy nor France. In general, the visualizations found in EIAs are very precise, and resemble the real outline of the wind farm very well. Noise modelling in EIAs is precise and indicate very well that the noise level people will experience, is below noise level limits. It was also found that people can have concerns about wind turbine noise even if they cannot hear it. Using visual impact and noise to represent the entire EIA process it was found that in general the EIA report represent quite well the reality i.e. the wind farm as built. Furthermore, it was found that a structured evaluation of EIAs, the planning process and finalized projects will be very helpful in order to make the planning process for wind farm projects more efficient, faster and transparent to all stakeholders.
Jens Rafn Andersen
Sergio Modugno