In the initial stages of the development of a wind farm, we perform an early screening of critical environmental aspects of the project to determine whether potential environmental issues exist that may require further detailed assessment.
Afterwards, environmental impact assessment studies are usually performed, where potential positive and negative environmental impacts analyzed. We study feasible alternatives to determine measures to prevent, minimize, mitigate or compensate adverse impacts and improve environmental performance.
For example, for projects that identify potential impacts to sensitive species, a specific risk assessment is performed to quantify risks and discuss potential options for mitigation.
In the North America, we engage with the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), State wildlife agencies, and appropriate non-governmental organizations (NGOs) during the environmental impact assessment studies as part of the effort to collect information about threatened, endangered and sensitive species, migratory birds and other potential wildlife impacts.
Moreover, in some cases we conduct wetland assessments to predict and estimate the nature and extent of project-related impacts on hydrologic systems. The results of this assessment can be used to improve the project design layout.
At the Timber Road II wind farm installed in 2011, due to the potential disturbance to rare mussel species, in an effort to prevent any sedimentation to Blue Creek in Ohio and the adjacent floodplain, we took additional measures to the current requirements in an effort to further reduce impacts to biodiversity.
Finally, cultural and historic assessments are performed, that include research of pertinent historic records and cultural resource databases. In addition, in some projects we also consult local representatives with an interest in historic preservation regarding cultural resources that may be impacted by the project. These consulted parties may have unique knowledge of cultural resources in the project area and vicinity that could otherwise be overlooked. The results of the research and consultation are used to aid in modifying the project design layout, where practicable.