Documents Home
View PDF, DOC, PPT, and XLS files on line

Add NWW documents to your site (click here)

Sign up for daily updates

Keep Wind Watch online and independent!

Donate $10

Donate $5

News Watch

Selected Documents

Research Links


Press Releases


Publications & Products

Photos & Graphics


Allied Groups

Land-Use Requirements of Modern Wind Power Plants in the United States  

Author:  | Aesthetics, Environment, Siting, U.S.

We obtained one or more categories of land-use data for 172 individual projects, representing 26,462 MW of proposed or installed capacity. Of this capacity, 19,834 MW was completed as of March 2009, 2,892 MW was under construction, and the remainder consists of proposed projects. According to a the American Wind Energy Association (2009b), as of March 2009, 28,206 MW wind capacity had been completed in the United States, with 24,640 MW meeting our criteria as a large modern plant with a capacity of at least 20 MW and constructed after 2000. As a result, we collected at least some information on about 80% of the targeted installed wind capacity in the United States. …

Based on the collected data, direct impact is mostly caused by road development, as opposed to the turbine pads and electrical support equipment. For 93 projects representing about 14 GW of proposed or installed capacity, the average permanent direct impact value reported was 0.3 ± 0.3 hectare/MW of capacity (0.74 acre/MW). Fewer projects (52 representing 9 GW of capacity) provide temporary direct impact data, with an overall average of 0.7 ± 0.6 hectare/MW of capacity (1.73 acre/MW). This implies a total direct impact area (both temporary and permanently disturbed land) of about 1 ± 0.7 hectare/MW (2.5 acres/MW), but with a wide variation in this area.

We also found reported total-area data for 161 projects representing about 25 GW of proposed or installed capacity. Excluding several outliers, the average value for the total project area was about 34.5 ± 22.4 hectares/MW (85 acres/MW), equal to a capacity density of 3.0 ± 1.7 MW/km².

Technical Report: NREL/TP-6A2-45834, August 2009

Download original documents: “Land-Use Requirements of Modern Wind Power Plants in the United States”

This material is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this material resides with the author(s). As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Queries e-mail.

Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding
Donate $5 PayPal Donate


Get the Facts Follow Wind Watch on Twitter

Wind Watch on Facebook


© National Wind Watch, Inc.
Use of copyrighted material adheres to Fair Use.
"Wind Watch" is a registered trademark.