HuronWhat Causes Wind?The Power of WindWind TurbinesEnviromental IssuesChoosing a Site
Wind is free but when we want to harness its power to make electricity, we must consider the best place to do this so as to maximize its potential.
This may seem an obvious requirement but even in consistently windy places, the
quality of the wind is important. Turbines can turn into the wind as it changes
direction and are designed to run at a fairly constant speed even though the force
of the wind may change. Despite this, the ideal winds should come from more or
less the same direction for long periods of time and be reasonably continuous in
strength. Obstructions in the landscape can create turbulent or dirty wind.
If we are to use the wind to produce electricity then it makes sense to choose a site
which is near to where the power may be needed, either for homes or industry.
Modern wind turbines are quiet but there is a small amount of sound produced by
the mechanical parts and a "swishing" sound from the blades This noise is often
lower than the sound of the wind itself but it is possible that people may object to
having turbines too close to their homes.
Modern wind turbines are arguably quite elegant to look at, but some people may
object to having them in view, especially in places of special beauty or historical
significance. By their very nature, windy places tend to be very open or high up and
taller wind turbines are more efficient so it is inevitable that they will become an ever
more familiar sight. Perhaps we should learn to love them, much as we enjoy the site
of an old windmill and accept them as an integral part of the rural landscape and our
sustainable future.
Some jurisdictions are placing wind farms very close to their communities in order to make towns or villages more electrically self-sufficient. In most places however, the wind farms are located close to the "grid." The grid is a system of cables and wires (conductors) that distribute electricity throughout a geographical area. The grid in Ontario, for example, connects up to grids in neighbouring provinces and states. Good access to the grid is an important factor for wind farms and special conditions need to be met to ensure the wind farm's electricity is compatible to the electricity flowing in the grid.
The components for wind turbines are large and must be assembled on site. As many of the sites are located in the countryside, good roads are vital for shipping the components. Rail connections and harbours are sometimes important as well if the turbines are coming from a distance or from another country.

Some wind farms are built out at sea but it usually makes more economic sense to build where access is not too much of a problem .
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