Landscape and Visuals
A landscape and visual impact assessment will be carried out to ascertain the visual impact of the wind farm on the surrounding community. This will be done initially by desk based assessment with subsequent site visits by a landscape consultant to photograph the landscape.
A Zone of Theoretical Visibility (ZTV) will be produced outlining which turbines will be visible from what areas surrounding the site. Photo-montages will also be produced to show what the turbines will look like once operational, from the areas identified in the ZTV as most visible. EMPower will design the wind farm to minimise the visual impact of the project on surrounding residents.
Separate to the visual assessment, EMPower will be conducting a shadow flicker analysis and mitigation strategy. Shadow flicker is the name given to a phenomenon caused when the sun is behind the turbine blades as it rises or sets, casting a moving shadow over a small opening in a building such as a window, creating a flickering effect within the building. This cannot affect properties outside ten rotor diameters of the turbines so the potential impact is restricted to the immediate vicinity of the site.
The current Irish planning regulations has a zero limit tolerance for shadow flicker occurrence, to protect local residential properties. A shadow flicker assessment is carried out to demonstrate the potential for occurrence, and the wind farm layout can be modified to design out the risk of occurrence.
Additionally where there is potential for occurrence, software can be installed which identifies when shadow flicker is occurring, and the wind turbine is shut down for a period of time, therefore mitigating the effect. Employing this mitigation measure ensures that no residents living near the wind farm experience shadow flicker.