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Questions & Answers
The importance of wind energy.
How does your process work?Hill Country Wind Power enters into an Option and Lease Agreement with the Landowner. We treat our Landowners as our partners every step of the way from assessment to development to construction to operations. SCREENING AND FEASIBILITY Hill Country Wind Power typically engages the most respected engineering firms to complete a comprehensive assessment on the subject property, which may last 12 - 18 months. POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS may be put into place with corporate electricity purchasers, turbines may then be acquired, and construction engineering and site study work may be completed. CONSTRUCTION Once all preliminary engineering work is completed, financing efforts and construction may begin. OPERATIONS Hill Country Wind Power may operate and manage the day to day operations of its wind farms.
What kind of tax revenues can wind farms provide my community?Once a wind project is constructed, Hill Country Wind Power and its partners typically become one of the largest property tax taxpayers in each taxing jurisdiction that we build in. We work closely with each taxing jurisdiction to obtain appropriate tax abatements. We also look for opportunities through our taxes and other revenue to work with school districts that we build in to improve STEM and college preparatory education.
Do wind turbines produce much noise?According to the American Wind Energy Association, manufacturers of large, modern wind turbines expend considerable effort to ensure their machines are as quiet as possible. With years of experience installing machines in areas of high population concentration, especially in Europe, turbine manufacturers and engineers have developed quieter machine technologies. One source of noise from a turbine is aerodynamic noise—i.e., the "swish" sound that the rotor blades make as they pass the tower of a wind turbine. Aerodynamic noise primarily occurs at the tip and the back edge of the rotor blade. The higher the rotational speed, the more one can notice the sound. Aerodynamic noise has been cut dramatically over the years due to better rotor blade design, particularly in the blade tips and back edges, and lower RPM machines. Rotor blade manufacturers take extreme care to ensure a smooth surface, which is important to reduce noise. It is important that developers perform careful turbine sitting, which in turn regulates the amount of noise produced. There are many techniques used to develop low-impact turbine locations: developers place turbines at a sufficient distance from homes, factor in the prevailing wind direction and the attenuation characteristics of the surrounding terrain, and understand the effects of other noise contributors such as yard noise and traffic sounds. As an effect of this turbine sitting, an average residence in a well-designed project area should have turbines that produce sound levels similar to that of a kitchen refrigerator. You are more likely to hear the wind over the sound made by the turbine.
Do wind turbines affect wildlife?Comprehensive local wildlife studies are conducted prior to financing and constructing a wind farm to ensure the project is developed in the most environmentally friendly way possible. These studies include avian, eagle, raptor and bat studies. Wind turbines have negligible effects on wildlife. Birds and bats occasionally collide with wind turbines, as they do with other tall structures. Except for a few areas of the country (the Altamont Pass in California), these impacts are generally considered to be low and are not a major concern. Wind's overall impact on birds is substantially lower than other sources of avian mortality such as vehicles, buildings and house cats.
Meteorology 101What is wind? This is a simple answer. Wind is air in motion. It is the result of the impact of the sun on the surface of the earth. As the day progresses, the land absorbs the sun's rays, which heats it up and causes the air over the land to become lighter and rise. As the warmed air rises, it is replaced by cooler air from nearby areas. This cooler air moves in very quickly and as a result, we feel this in the form of wind. At night this pattern is reversed as the air over land cools more quickly than that over water. The larger, global wind patterns, like the prevailing trade winds, are created by the differences in air temperature between tropical and polar regions. Wind energy is actually solar energy? Yes. Remember, the sun's warming of the earth is essential to the creation of wind. Our atmosphere is made up of air, which is composed of different kinds of gases. The sun shines on our atmosphere all of the time, but it heats the surface of the Earth unevenly, so in some places it is warm while in other places it is cold. As the air gets warmer, its particles spread out. This makes the air light, or less dense, so it rises. As air cools, it becomes heavier, or dense, and it sinks. As warm air rises, air from cooler areas rushes in to take the place of the heated air, creating wind. This process, called convection, causes the air to move. Wind varies by season and wind is affected by land topography as well. How does wind generate energy? Wind is kinetic energy or energy that is produced by the speed of its movement. Anything that moves has kinetic energy. For example, a rushing river may be used to power a hydroelectric dam since the energy can be harnessed and redistributed. In this case, a typical example would be flying a kite since the kite's movement is enabled by the kinetic energy supplied by the wind. In terms of generating power, wind energy works by delivering kinetic energy to massive wind turbines. The turbines are essentially gigantic windmills that gather the wind and redistribute it. These turbines can sometimes have blades measuring over 100 feet in length and are located on wind farms where a constant breeze and oftentimes strong winds blow as a result of the land's topography.
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