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Environmental Impacts of Wind-Energy Projects
FIGURE 4-1 View of Mountaineer Project from .5 mile. The project includes a total of 44 wind turbines.
SOURCE: Photograph by Jean Vissering.
provides recommendations for adapting those methods to the assessment of visual impacts associated with wind-energy projects. Finally, the section briefly examines the potential for developing guidelines to protect scenic resources when planning for, siting, and evaluating prospective wind-energy projects.
Visual impacts are the focus of this discussion of aesthetic impacts, but noise is considered to the extent that it is related to the overall character of a particular landscape. Noise and shadow flicker are discussed further in this chapter, under the section addressing potential impacts on human health and well-being associated with wind-energy projects.
The essence of aesthetics is that humans experience their surroundings with multiple senses. We often have a strong attachment to place and an inherent tendency to protect our “nest.” Concern over changes in our personal landscapes is a universal phenomenon; it is not limited to the United States or to the present day. Public perceptions of wind-energy projects vary widely. To some, wind turbines appear visually pleasing, while others view them as intrusive industrial machines. Unlike some forms of development (e.g., cell towers), there are many people who find wind turbines to