file under: Energy, Sustainability, Environment, Poland, Europe, Smart Energy

Grasping the Wind

Wind is a complex, often misunderstood source of energy. A wind farm at a well-chosen site can provide a sustainable, cost-effective energy supply for many years, with minimal effects on the environment. On the other hand, a poorly chosen site can be costly and inefficient.

From our point of view, we are working not only with the client to approve the wind farm, but with all of the energy customers, to help them protect the environment-these assessments benefit everyone. 

To facilitate use of this valuable, renewable energy source, CDM Smith partners with a range of clients—from corporations to municipalities—to ensure proper, environmentally responsible siting and design for wind turbines and wind farms. A special emphasis is placed on safeguarding wildlife and assessing potential impacts to animals, including birds, bats and any endangered species living in or migrating through the area.

Mixing Things Up
Countries around the world are adding alternatives to their energy mix to meet new regulations. Poland, for instance, is aggressively pursuing its goal to comply with recent European Standards—reducing energy consumption and increasing use of renewable energy by 20 percent by 2020.

Meanwhile, coal still supplies 90 percent of the country’s energy. “In Europe and Poland in particular, we must reduce emissions, and the public accepts this,” says CDM Smith associate Witold Domek. “As a result, there is greater support for diversifying energy. Wind is the most important source of alternative energy in Poland right now.”

Powering Poland
CDM Smith has provided numerous environmental impact assessments and obtained environmental permits for 35 newly built wind farms and more than 200 wind turbines in Poland. For Greenbear Corporation Poland in the Prudnik municipality, CDM Smith is evaluating proposed wind farms, consisting of up to 20 wind turbines each and producing up to 50 megawatts (MW) of power.

Another successful project moving forward is for Nordex Polska, in the municipality of Orla. We conducted ornithology monitoring, an inventory of bats and other wildlife, as well as noise and pollution assessments for the area. The project will consist of 15 wind turbines with a total power output of 37.5 MW, which is typically enough energy to power 5,000 households. Additional assessments for Nordex Polska are underway in the Liw municipality.

Each project is a step toward meeting Poland’s energy goals. By reducing pollution, these wind projects also have the potential to improve residents’ quality of life. “From our point of view, we are working not only with the client to approve the wind farm, but with all of the energy customers, to help them protect the environment,” says Domek. “These assessments benefit everyone.”