The impact on the landscape and cultural history is important when it comes to wind energy projects. Residents, administrators and experts want to know what a wind farm will look like once constructed and how it will affect the landscape and environment. In addition, in the case of spatial developments such as a wind farm, the impact on cultural-historical heritage is always a point for attention.
Scenic assessment or substantiation
The scale and identity of the landscape determine how wind turbines are incorporated, to the extent possible on account of the scale of modern wind turbines. At the same time, wind turbines have a potential impact on this scale and identity. Landscape is also about the readability of that coherence (the image). The impact of the perception of wind turbines is related to visibility, independently, as part of the landscape and the quality of the set-up. The origins of a landscape and valuable landscape elements can have a scenic and a cultural-historic value.
In the case of wind energy projects, it is important to substantiate an assessment of the scenic impact of a wind turbine or wind farm on the environment. The environmental impact assessment compares various alternatives or variations in a scenic impact assessment, while a zoning plan or a planning exemption a specific wind energy project requires a scenic substantiation. This substantiation or assessment can be visualised. If so required, Wind Minds will engage a landscape architect to prepare a scenic substantiation or assessment. We mainly work with a group of preferred experts who have experience with wind energy projects. The results of the assessment or substantiation are generated in close coordination and we will engineer them into our products.
Cultural history is in fact a collective name for a number of aspects, namely:
- Archaelogy, which relates to traces in the soil, providing information about past human societies;
- Historic geography, which focuses on how man affected the current appearance of the landscape (see also under scenic substantiation or assessment);
- Historic architecture, which is about architectural history, construction history and urban design;
- Social-cultural heritage, which is about human interaction in the form of economy, customs and traditions.
For wind energy projects, the first three aspects of cultural history are relevant, with historic geography often.
With regard to archaeology, Wind Minds first assesses the archaeological expected values of a plan area. It does this on the basis of the municipal or provincial archaeological policy maps available. Wind Minds then looks if a further study is required on the basis of the archaeological expected value and the scope of the project. If so required, it will engage a research agency that specialises in archaeology. This is done in consultation with the initiator and the competent authorities. We work together with various certified archaeological research agencies. The results of a study are generated under our management and we will engineer them into our products.
For the historic architecture, Wind Minds assesses the presence of monuments, urban and village conservation areas, other cultural-historic elements – such as a biotope of historic wind mills – and the impact of the wind turbine project on these elements. In general, we have the knowledge to make such assessments. The assessment of this aspect forms a direct part of our products.