Numbers say it all. Globally, progress in the wind sector continues to be strong with increasing annual installed capacity and growing investment in the sector. In 2015 alone, 63,013 megawatts of wind power capacity was installed globally, an annual market growth of 22 percent. It is continuing its progress towards becoming a mainstream, competitive and reliable power source in both developing and mature markets. In fact, the wind is becoming cheap enough in many places in the U.S. and around the world to compete effectively with fossil fuels.
As wind energy continues to gain ground, let’s take a look at three main trends we’re seeing in the thermal power sources and natural gas industry moving forward:
2. Active site inspectors/personnel
Site personnel is generally required to understand what environmental protection activities are and how they are performed, although site inspectors are often on site to make sure all construction operations, materials, and equipment comply with regulations and avoid any direct physical damage to the area. Sediments, noise, vibration, dust, chemicals, and harmful emissions are among the most common issues for neighbors, so supervisors and site inspectors need to make sure the project moves forward with no harmful interference to the public.
3. Erosion control measures
Generally, all erosion and siltation control should be placed prior to the start of construction and be maintained until vegetation has been established on disturbed areas. Erosion and siltation control measures reduce the potential for eroded soil to be transported and deposited beyond the limits of the construction site.
4. Protecting birds and nests
There are laws in place that protect birds. Work activities such as vegetation clearing or grubbing should not be conducted in bird habitat during the breeding season. It may be possible for a qualified biologist to conduct a nest survey prior to commencement of the work to locate and identify active nests, however, the nest surveys can be ineffective in more complex habitats. Residents have a right to ask what measures have been taken to protect birds and to request access to reports prepared for the project.
5. Hazardous material spill preparation
Site crews also must take all necessary precautions to reduce the likelihood of hazardous material spills through the implementation of effective prevention strategies, generally with the use of proper containers and proper handling techniques. Crew members need to be able to show that they are prepared to respond to a spill and have an effective plan in place before construction begins. If a spill occurs, necessary steps should be implemented to contain, clean, and restore the area to its original state. Prevention of petroleum products, grout, adhesives, or other hazardous or deleterious substances from entering watercourses should be managed during all refueling, maintenance, and washing of equipment. For mobile equipment, no washing is allowed near watercourses.
6. Noise and dust control
Residents should expect the project to minimize unnecessary noise and vibration produced from equipment. This is typically achieved by regularly maintaining the operating equipment and minimizing the idling time. It is also important to minimize the escape of dust resulting from construction operations so that no visible dust or invisible hazardous particles reach residential or sensitive areas. Expect to see an on‐site water truck to help with dust suppression for road traffic.
7. Respect for archaeological finds
If operations expose any items that may indicate an archaeological find, such as building remains, hardware, accumulations of bones or pottery, the Ministry of Culture or other relevant authorities need to be notified. Archaeological resources are important for understanding our past, and they require further investigation. In such cases, site work is suspended until confirmation is received to continue the operation.
The topics that I’ve discussed above are only some of the mitigation measures residents should expect during any construction activity in their neighborhoods. Caring for the environment doesn’t require people to become environmental activists. If we understand the important environmental issues and be proactive in holding projects accountable, we can help to improve the quality of our living space.