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How Do You Know You Have A Viable Wind Power Project?

(Thanks to AWEA (www.awea.org) and Kimberly King-Burns, in particular)

Creating a windfarm is a large, complicated process. Before one gets started down the road, there are a number of questions that need to be answered. Here are some of the basics.

1. Wind Resource (how fast and how often does the wind blow). Without sufficient wind resource, you can go home now. With too much wind, the turbines can burn out quicker, a cost issue and a factor in choosing the turbines. It's more complicated than this, but, the point is, a comprehensive wind study is a critical early go/no go determination tool.

2. Proximity to Existing Transmission Lines – if you don't have to build the infrastructure to carry the power to the power plant, you say significant amounts of money and headaches.

3. What is nature of the roads and soil? Can the soil support the turbine? Is there a lot of seismological activity? Can the roads handle bringing in the massive turbines? Are they wide enough?

4. Who owns the land? What rights can you get?

5. What are the labor costs in the region?

6. Are there any zoning issues? Will there be cooperation or hostility in the nearby neighborhoods? What type of paperwork needs to be filed? How long does it take?

7. Governmental incentives. Federal, state and local tax incentives, etc. How do you qualify?

8. Where will you sell the power? Having deals with power buyers will help get the financing for the project. And, it's a lot of money to finance!

9. Know your turbines and know your turbine companies.

10. Make sure you have the right people to operate and maintain the turbines, once installed. This is important to the profitable operation of the project.