The visual impact of wind turbines could soon be better understood and predicted because of new computer modelling from renewable energy and environmental specialist Atmos Consulting.
The aim is to model and display how wind turbines will appear in a specific environment in a format which is more easily understood by planning authorities, statutory consultees and the general public.
Atmos uses geographical information system modelling techniques to map the intensity of cumulative wind farm visibility against built, consented or proposed turbines. It factors relative distance, size and perspective into results.
The current method of representing cumulative impact is by a series of illustrations of overlapping zones for each existing or proposed development. The result of this is often a mass of data which can be very difficult to interpret.
The Atmos model attempts to replace the simplistic approach of showing the number of wind farms visible with an analysis of the number of turbines, as to treat a single turbine as having the same visual impact as a large wind farm is clearly unrepresentative of the eventual reality.
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