The construction of a wind farm comprises the construction of new roads and the rehabilitation of existing ones in order to transport heavy equipment (i.e. wind turbines) to the site during construction works. The local communities benefit from these roads, as they provide an improved connection for local inhabitants to perform their agricultural activities.
For example, in Romania the newly constructed roads for the Pestera wind farm are currently used as a bypass road to connect two of the surrounding populations. Also, in the US, during the construction of Timber Road II wind farm, 23 km of roads were constructed to transport the turbines, and 21 km of public roads were upgraded, providing an indirect service to the community.
The integration of our generation capacity may require upgrades in the distribution and transmission grids that belong to the distribution system or transmission system operators. Most of the times, these upgrades are financially and technically supported by EDPR, indirectly benefitting the quality of electric service in the surrounding areas.
This is particularly important in countries where wind energy is in its early stages, such as in Romania. In 2011 EDPR invested more than 4 million euros in this country, for the grid connection to the Sarichioi and Vutcani wind farms (totalling 57 MW), upgrading 84 km of existing 110 kV high voltage lines and 4 existing 110 kV electrical substations, plus the construction of a new In&Out 110 kV substation.
Utility systems upgrades are also performed in countries where wind energy is already in a mature stage. For example, in 2011, EDPR invested 2 million euros upgrading the electric system in the Ávila region, Spain, thus benefiting the surrounding population and allowing the connection of several wind farms.