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Integrating Environmental, Engineering and Constructability Considerations in Wind Power Development

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Title: Integrating Environmental, Engineering and Constructability Considerations in Wind Power Development


1
Integrating Environmental, Engineering and
Constructability Considerations in Wind Power
Development
  • Anntonette Alberti, JD
  • Tetra Tech, Inc.

2
Goals of the Presentation
  • Provide an overview of the wind generating
    facility development process
  • Describe the inter-relation of environmental,
    engineering and constructability data on each
    phase of wind farm development
  • Site Screening
  • Conceptual Design
  • Final Design
  • Permitting
  • Construction
  • Operations and Maintenance
  • Stress the importance of designing and permitting
    constructable and economic wind projects

3
Overview of the Development Process
4
Site Selection/Screening
  • Two most basic questions
  • Is the site windy?
  • Is the site near adequate take away
    transmission?
  • If you pass the basic questions then
  • Investigate availability of land
  • Investigate public and local government
    acceptability
  • Investigate environmental and engineering
    considerations
  • Critical Issues Analysis
  • Regulatory Strategy

5
Critical Issues Analysis
  • Critical Issues Analysis is a study that
  • Identifies conditions at the proposed project
    site
  • Identifies likely siting issues
  • Projects impacts on schedule/budget
  • Provides management strategies to reduce impacts
    on schedule/budget
  • Components include
  • Phase I - Desktop studies - Available a la carte
    (Biological, Cultural, Aesthetics, Geotechnical,
    Telecommunications, Aviation, Land Use and
    Permitting, etc.)
  • Phase II Reconnaissance-level Field Studies
  • Critical Issues Analysis Report- Documents key
    issues that warrant special consideration-
    Provides permit matrix, recommendations, and
    schedule

6
Common Critical Issues Analysis Omissions
  • Aviation Screening
  • Telecommunications Screening
  • Engineering/Constructability Issues
  • Steep slopes
  • Unstable geotechnical conditions
  • Inadequate work space

7
Moving on to the Conceptual Layout
  • You now know you have a potential wind site!
  • Client should have an idea of the turbine
    technology that should be used in subsequent
    studies
  • Move on to the conceptual layout

8
What is the Conceptual Layout?
  • Initial layout that includes turbine locations,
    access roads, electrical collection system,
    switchyard(s) and substation(s), transmission
    lines, OM building, and construction work areas.
  • Necessary for obtaining land rights, performing
    preliminary studies, beginning the regulatory
    process, etc.
  • Typically the developer or the meteorological
    firm will take a first cut at the conceptual
    layout of turbines on a constraint map.

9
Defining the Conceptual Layout
  • Preliminary Selection of Turbine Technology
  • Important for turbine spacing
  • Important for defining setbacks
  • Define Project Constraints
  • Wind
  • Land
  • Setbacks from Homes/Infrastructure
  • Engineering/Access
  • Environmental
  • Cultural
  • Political
  • Create Conceptual Layout

10
Constraints Map
11
Typical Setbacks and Constraints
  • Setbacks from sensitive buildings such as
    residences, schools, hospitals and churches
  • Setbacks from outbuildings such as barns,
    garages, and hunting camps
  • Setbacks from roads, trails, and recreational
    areas
  • Setbacks from transmission lines, oil and gas
    wells, oil and gas transmission, gathering and
    service lines, sub-surface mining operations and
    other such infrastructure/facilities
  • Setbacks from non-participating parcel
    boundaries
  • Wetlands, surface waters, and any regulatory
    buffers around them
  • Sensitive cultural resources and any regulatory
    boundaries around them
  • Locations of special status wildlife or
    vegetation species and/or critical habitat
  • Areas of known geotechnical instability
  • Fresnel zones and other communication/radar
    related constraints
  • Areas impacted by air traffic (both civilian and
    military) and
  • Any other environmental and land use constraints
    identified for the site.

12
Agricultural Siting Considerations
  • Locate structures along field edges where
    possible
  • Locate access roads along ridge tops where
    possible to eliminate the need for cut and fill
    and reduce the risk of creating drainage problems
  • Avoid dividing larger fields by locating access
    roads along the edge of agricultural fields
  • All existing drainage and erosion control
    structures such as diversions, ditches, and tile
    lines shall be avoided or appropriate measures
    taken to maintain the design and effectiveness of
    the existing structures
  • Minimize loss production, crop damage and top
    soil

13
Engineering Tasks for Conceptual Layout
  • Perform desktop study to evaluate subsurface
    conditions and geologic hazards
  • Desktop Transportation Analysis
  • Initial Road/collection system Layout
  • Initial Constructability review

14
Moving from the Conceptual Layout to the Final
Layout
  • Wind projects have a lot of moving parts wind
    resource, property, landowner preferences,
    setbacks, environmental constraints, cultural
    resources, engineering constraints,
    transportation issues, constructability, etc.
    influence where project facilities will be sited
  • There must be communication among team members
    and impact on layout must be understood and
    incorporated
  • The best team includes a meteorologist, a land
    man, an environmental scientist, an engineer, a
    constructability expert, and a lawyer
  • Data management with multiple team members can be
    a challenge

15
What is the Final Horizontal Layout?
  • This layout depicts all project facilities for
    permitting and land acquisition purposes
  • In many cases, permits must be obtained for
    exactly what will be built, so a certain amount
    of engineering must be done at an early stage
  • In a perfect world, micrositing occurs prior to
    submitting major permit applications and
    conducting NEPA (or state equivalent) review
  • Failure to do so often means the need to do
    permit modifications, supplemental EISs, and/or
    variances during construction
  • In the real world things arent that simple.
  • If possible, permit for flexibility

16
Studies that Support Final Horizontal Layout
  • Field Studies
  • Site specific environmental and cultural
    fieldwork
  • Site specific engineering field work
  • Constructability considerations
  • Adjust Horizontal Layout and Review for
  • Wind resource
  • Constructability
  • Engineering
  • Environmental/cultural resources
  • Land owner acceptability
  • Final Horizontal Layout

17
Engineering Tasks for Final Layout
  • If topo exists, may need to commission a fly-over
    to perform digital photography from which a
    topographic base map can be prepared
  • Perform site walkdown of all project facilities
    to assess access feasibility (slope and terrain
    issues, etc.)
  • Perform geotechnical investigations needed for
    design of roadway cross-sections, collection
    system routing and wind turbine foundations

18
The Timing of Studies
  • This is the hardest part of advising a wind
    client
  • Provide enough preliminary study for siting, but
    not waste money by providing detailed study on
    facilities that are not in their final location
  • If possible, only perform full wetland and
    cultural delineations on the exact locations of
    project facilities when they are in their final
    location
  • Consider timing when running visual simulation,
    shadow flicker analysis, writing up noise study,
    etc.
  • Because siting is an iterative process, there
    will always be some inefficiency in study

19
Transportation Study
  • Perform traffic and transportation study, for
    oversized or heavy deliveries, to assess adequacy
    of existing offsite roadways, bridges, crossings
    over culverts, overpasses/underpasses, turning
    radii, utilities, etc.
  • Within project boundary, determine whether
    turning radii at existing intersections along the
    delivery route need to be modified
  • Assess whether surface replacements or upgrades
    will be required

20
Wildlife Studies
  • Typically include
  • Avian use surveys
  • Raptor nesting surveys
  • Habitat inventory
  • Threatened, endangered, sensitive species focused
    surveys if appropriate
  • Bat habitat inventory and/or risk analysis
  • State Natural Heritage database/USFWS TE species
    inquiries
  • Plant and noxious weed surveys, if appropriate
  • Studies will vary geographically and by state

21
Wetland Studies
  • It often makes sense to start with reconnaissance
    level study, saving complete delineation until
    the layout is final
  • All project facilities must be cleared for
    wetlands
  • Public road improvements, especially public road
    culvert replacements, are often forgotten
  • Good communication between wetland staff and
    design engineers is critical
  • Data management is critical
  • Keep a change log

22
Cultural Resource Studies
  • Consult with State Historic Preservation Office
    (SHPO)
  • Define the Study Area for Archeology and for
    Historic Architecture
  • Define the Area of Potential Effects (in
    consultation with SHPO) as Project is more
    precisely defined
  • Archeology
  • Historical Architecture

23
Transmission Interconnection Studies
  • Feasibility Study estimates cost of
    interconnection
  • System Reliability Impact Study determines
    cost and equipment for maintaining reliability of
    existing system
  • Complete Facility Upgrade Study determines final
    cost of all interconnection and system upgrade
    equipment
  • Negotiate Interconnection Agreement with
    transmission utility

24
Other Important Studies
  • Noise
  • Shadow Flicker
  • Visual Assessment
  • Property Values
  • Conduct Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment
    (ASTM AIA Standards)
  • Etc.

25
Permitting Phase -- Local
  • Local
  • At most proposed wind energy project sites, one
    or more local approvals will be required.
  • The issuing authority may be a local planning
    commission, zoning board, town, city or village
    council, county board of supervisors or
    commissioners, or a similar entity.
  • Although some state siting boards are authorized
    to override local objections, most must first
    demonstrate that the proposed project would be
    consistent with local ordinances and that there
    is no reasonable objection to the development of
    the project.

26
Permitting Phase -- Local
  • Local
  • Similar to the state regulatory process, the need
    for local approvals and the process for obtaining
    approvals vary throughout the country.
  • In some areas, the local approval process will be
    time-consuming and the project will be subject to
    close scrutiny. In contrast, some
    municipalities require only a building permit.
  • The development team should assess which local
    approvals will be required and consult with local
    counsel.

27
Permitting Phase -- State
  • State
  • Numerous state regulatory programs are likely to
    be triggered by a proposed wind energy project.
    While such programs often mirror, implement
    (through delegated authority), or complement
    similar federal laws, the state version is
    typically more stringent than its federal
    counterpart.
  • Little NEPA
  • State Siting Statutes
  • Endangered Species
  • Wetland Permits
  • Stream Crossing Permits
  • Use Authorizations for State Owned Aquatic Land
  • Historic Preservation
  • Stormwater
  • Agricultural Protection
  • DOT (Roadway) Permitting

28
Permitting Phase -- Federal
  • National Environmental Policy Act
  • Federal Wetland and Waterbody Laws
  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
    (NPDES) permits for stormwater during
    construction and operation
  • Endangered Species Act and other Wildlife
    Protection Laws
  • National Historic Preservation Act
  • Federal Aviation Administration Clearances
  • Federal Land Use Authorizations
  • Federal Transmission Line Interconnections

29
Final Engineering Design Outline
  • Establish Design Team including
  • Professional Engineer / (Engineer of Record)
  • Develop Design Criteria
  • These should capture design requirements for
    permits and plans
  • Client should review
  • Preliminary (Draft) Design
  • Drawings
  • Technical Specifications
  • Calculations
  • Final Design
  • PE Sealed
  • Issued for Construction

30
Design Disciplines
  • Design Disciplines Capabilities - Civil
  • Site Civil
  • Site civil drawing is a base map which is
    topographic survey obtained from client, or TtEC
    commissions a survey to develop the base map
  • Usually perform a pre-design constructability
    walkdown of WTG locations and intended access
    road routes to consider site natural features and
    landowner impacts
  • Roadway design layout / direction / cross
    section / radii
  • Perform stormwater drainage calculations Size
    and locate new culverts and identify soil erosion
    controls (e.g., silt fencing, stone rip-rap,
    etc.)
  • Geotextile Use
  • Structural
  • Foundation Design
  • Bridge Improvements

31
Design Disciplines
  • Design Disciplines Capabilities
  • Geotechnical
  • May need to perform a geotechnical investigation,
    as a pre-design task, to obtain site specific
    information at WTG locations and some locations
    along access roads
  • Detailed geotechnical investigation report serves
    as a basis for access road and WTG foundation
    design
  • Field Investigations
  • Geotechnical Reports as design input

32
Design Disciplines
  • Design Disciplines Capabilities
  • Electrical
  • WTG collector system,
  • Substation(s)
  • Transmission Line

33
Final Engineering Design - PE
  • Design requires supervision by licensed civil,
    structural and electrical PEs (if applicable)
  • PEs typically need to be licensed in State where
    project is located

34
Preconstruction
  • Finalize Turbine and Long-Lead-Time Item
    Procurement
  • Identify and requisition long lead time purchased
    items, such as wind turbines and transformers
  • Approvals for the later plans and permits (Storm
    Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), Spill
    Prevention, Containment and Countermeasure Plan
    (SPCCP) and State DOT and US Army Corps wetlands
    permits)
  • Final Construction Plans and Drawings
  • Secure Construction Contractor
  • Develop Environmental Construction Compliance
    Plan
  • Develop Mobilization Plan

35
Construction
  • Mobilization Make sure you have obtained the
    right pre-construction permissions
  • Construction Trailers
  • Initial Laydown Areas
  • Sediment and Erosion Control
  • Safety and Environmental Training
  • Send out construction start notifications as
    required in permits

36
Construction
  • After the Notice to Proceed --
  • Clearing and Grading
  • Access Roads and Public Road Improvements
  • Foundations
  • Electrical Collection System
  • Transmission Line
  • Substation and Interconnection Facilities
  • Tower and Turbine Erection
  • OM Building/Visitor Kiosks
  • Commissioning
  • Mitigation Areas
  • Reclamation

37
Construction
  • Engineering support during construction
  • Provide home office support of construction
    activities following construction release of
    design drawings, to review contractor submittals
    and administer Field Change Requests (FCRs)
    and/or issue Design Change Notices (DCNs)
  • Provide field engineer, preferably from the
    design team, to assist with construction
    activities and ensure compliance with the design

38
Tetra Tech, Inc.
  • Tetra Tech, Inc. is a leading, U.S.-based
    national and international firm delivering
    solutions in, consulting, construction,
    engineering, remediation and restoration
  • Publicly traded company (TTEK)
  • Chosen by Smart Money magazine as one of the 10
    Stocks for the Next 10 Years
  • Annual revenues in excess of 1.4 billion
    financial strength to stand behind large wind
    energy projects, including EPC BOP
  • Over 8,500 employees in 250 offices world-wide
  • Consistently ranked in Engineering News Record as
    one of the top ten

39
Tetra Tech, Inc.
  • Acquisition of The Delaney Group a
    well-respected leader in renewable energy
    construction
  • Experienced energy staff in all disciplines
  • More than 6 million hours without a lost work day
    over past two years
  • Injury rate is ¼ the national average
  • 70 National Safety Council awards
  • Employee health and safety perception rating in
    top 2 nation-wide
  • ISO 14001 Certification for all services
  • First major full-service firm to earn
    certification with such broad coverage
  • ISO 9001 Certification for Wind Engineering
  • Documented quality procedures and systems to meet
    global standards and expectations

40
Full-Service Energy Solutions
41
Recognized Expertise
  • Tetra Tech and Nixon Peabody chosen to write
    American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Wind
    Facility Siting Manual
  • Frequent speaker on energy topics at AWEA, World
    Wind Energy Association and other renewable
    energy industry events
  • Papers on environmental compliance during
    construction
  • Included in New York Energy Research and
    Development Authority (NYSERDA) Wind Energy Tool
    Kit
  • Published in North American Windpower Journal
  • Through our Energy Management Services Supporting
    Energy Programs at More Than 60 DoD Installations
    World-Wide

42
Contact
  • Anntonette Alberti, JD
  • 518-488-8588
  • Anntonette.Alberti_at_tteci.com
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