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Title: An open source GIS tool to quantify the visual impact of wind turbines and photovoltaic panels

Although there are clear economic and environmental incentives for producing energy from solar and wind power, there can be local opposition to their installation due to their impact upon the landscape. To date, no international guidelines exist to guide quantitative visual impact assessment of these facilities, making the planning process somewhat subjective. In this paper we demonstrate the development of a method and an Open Source GIS tool to quantitatively assess the visual impact of these facilities using line-of-site techniques. The methods here build upon previous studies by (i) more accurately representing the shape of energy producing facilities, (ii) taking into account the distortion of the perceived shape and size of facilities caused by the location of the observer, (iii) calculating the possible obscuring of facilities caused by terrain morphology and (iv) allowing the combination of various facilities to more accurately represent the landscape. The tool has been applied to real and synthetic case studies and compared to recently published results from other models, and demonstrates an improvement in accuracy of the calculated visual impact of facilities. The tool is named r.wind.sun and is freely available from GRASS GIS AddOns. - Highlights: • We develop a tool to quantify windmore » turbine and photovoltaic panel visual impact. • The tool is freely available to download and edit as a module of GRASS GIS. • The tool takes into account visual distortion of the shape and size of objects. • The accuracy of calculation of visual impact is improved over previous methods.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6]
  1. Insitute Universitaire Européen de la Mer, Université de la Bretagne Occidentale, Rue Dumont D'Urville, 29280 Plouzané (France)
  2. National Research Council (CNR), Research Insitute for Geo-hydrological Protection (IRPI), Strada della Madonna Alta 126, 06125 Perugia (Italy)
  3. Earth and Environmental Dynamics Research Group, Department of Geography, King's College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS (United Kingdom)
  4. Physics and Geology Department, University of Perugia, Via Zefferino Faina 4, 06123 Perugia (Italy)
  5. Gfosservices S.A., Open Source GIS-WebGIS Solutions, Spatial Data Infrastructures, Planning and Counseling, Via F.lli Cairoli 24, 06127 Perugia (Italy)
  6. Servizio Energia qualità dell'ambiente, rifiuti, attività estrattive, Regione Umbia, Corso Vannucci 96, 06121 Perugia (Italy)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22447496
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Impact Assessment Review; Journal Volume: 49; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2014 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; ACCURACY; CHARGES; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; FINANCIAL INCENTIVES; GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS; GRAMINEAE; INSTALLATION; MORPHOLOGY; PANELS; PHOTOVOLTAIC EFFECT; PLANNING; RECOMMENDATIONS; SUN; TOOLS; WIND; WIND POWER; WIND TURBINES