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Garpsdalur Wind Farm

EM Orka is developing a 35 turbine wind development in Garpsdalur, Reykhólahreppur in Iceland. Below is an outline of the nature, activities and benefits of the project.

ISK 16.2 billion

Investment into Iceland energy infrastructure

ISK 7.4 billion

Corporate tax receipts available to the Icelandic government

ISK 376 million

Community fund available to community of Reykhólahreppur

25

Highly skilled direct jobs sustained throughout 25 year project lifetime

200

Direct jobs created during construction phase

400

Indirect jobs created during construction phase

Vindorkugarður í Garpsdal

Garpsdalur wind farm will involve a ISK 16.2 billion investment into the Icelandic energy sector, providing world class, low carbon energy generation infrastructure to meet Iceland's growing demand. The development benefits to the local community include a ISK 376 million community fund available to Reykhólahreppur municipality. Direct corporate tax earnings for the Icelandic governement are estimated to exceed ISK 7.4 billion over the project lifetime.

As well as these direct financial benefits, Gapsdalur wind farm will provide considerable job creation, expected to total 700 indirect jobs over the project lifetime. 300 direct jobs will be created during construction and 30 direct jobs will be created and sustained throughout the operation phase. A knowledge transfer will occur during construction and operation phases, whereby Vestas will establish a local O&M team, capable of serving the wider Icelandic market. 
Local infrastructure such as roads and electrical systems will be upgraded. Normal farming/ industrial activities will continue between turbines.

The proposed development area of Garpsdalur Wind Farm consists of a contiguous 810 acre site which is privately owned, located 22 km east of Reykholar. The region is sparsely populated and the contours of the land provide natural screening from residents and key public transport routes. EM Orka proposes to develop a 35 turbine site, at hub heights of 91.5 metres and blade length of 58.7 metres, providing clean, affordable, ecologically non-intrusive power.

The zone of theoretical  visibility (ZTV) is presented below, illustrating the all areas within a 30 km radius that any turbine will be visible. This study takes into account land topography but does not factor in any screening provided by vegetation or weather conditions such as fog. As such, this provides a worst case scenario in visual impact. 

The area of theoretical visibility was based on contour data from the National Land Survey of Iceland

 

As part of the landscape and visual impact assessment, viewpoints were created to simulate the aesthetic impact of the wind farm in the context of its environment. To achieve this, computer models of the proposed wind farm layout were imposed on real site photos. These images are also presented below

Site Screening and Feasibility

EM Orka began development in Iceland by firstly carrying out a desk-based geographical information system (GIS) screening exercise in early 2018. This identified all environmental critical sensitivities in Iceland such as volcanos, tourist attractions, environmental designations, airports, water bodies, ports and centres of population. These areas and their surrounds were not considered for future development. Particular consideration was taken to avoid frequently visited locations where the development of a wind farm might hinder tourism or disturb the aesthetic harmony of the area.

The Garpsdalur development site is hindered by no adverse issues identified through the constraint mapping process and subsequent site visits. It does not present any risk to the tourism industry and benefits significant view screening by the natural topography of the area. Wind resource, transport infrastructure and proximity to the existing electrical grid are also favourable at this site.

Land Ownership

EM Orka follows international best-practice from other jurisdictions (such as the U.S. and Europe) by entering into an initial license agreement with the person in possession of the land. The License agreement essentially is a permission (legally described as an ‘easement’ or a ‘licence’) from the land-occupier that will allow the project developer to access land and carry out wind-measurement studies and environmental and social impact assessment.  The occupier of the land retains full possession of all their land during the entire period when the studies are being carried out. Upon completing the studies, if the land is suitable, the project developer then will sign the previously-agreed lease agreement, but only for the small section of the land that is necessary for the project (roads and turbine foundations). The remaining land in between turbines and roads will stay in the ownership of the local landowners and can continue in agricultural use.

Community Engagement

Community participation and stakeholder engagement are of utmost importance to EM Orka. This will be to the forefront of all activities throughout the development process. 

The objectives of our community consulation process are to;

  • Provide information to all sections of the local community

  • Contribute to the collection and sharing of information related to the potential environmental, economic, social, and health effects of the project

  • Ensure that EM Orka understands the views of the local community so that they can be considered during the development process

  • Identify and grow a list of interested stakeholders and local communities that EM Orka will proactively consult with.

Our consultation process will be conducted through stakeholder meetings, public briefings, direct communication (telephone, email, letters), advertising and editorial, as well as this website.

Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment

The purpose of landscape and visual impact assessment is to identify and assess potential impacts from the proposed Wind Farm on the landscape resource and visual amenity. Landscape effects can be derived from changes to the fabric and character of the physical landscape, which take place due to the form of the development and associated infrastructure, its construction, operation and decommissioning. 

EM Orka have taken diligent care to position the turbines in a location that least impacts the surrounding visual environment while remaining technically viable. 

Wind Resource Measurement

Historically, reliable field measurement solutions for wind energy required 100m meteorological masts which often require aviation authority approval, and upon completion of testing, may need to be decommissioned. Alternatively, EMP proposes to employ Sonic Detection and Ranging (SoDAR) to gather data about the wind. This technology sends out acoustic pulses and then “listens” for the return signal. Characteristics of the return signal are analyzed to gain information about wind speed, direction, and turbulence. The Triton stands just six feet tall and is much easier to deploy than a meteorological tower. It gathers data at many different heights, ranging from 40 meters to 200 meters above ground level (AGL).

 

SoDAR technology will be utilised initially, and then at permitting stage EMOrka will apply to install a meteorological mast of 50 - 80 meters. The entire wind measurement campaign is envisaged to last 24 months, allowing for a detailed and reliable understanding of the wind resource at Garpsdalur.

Turbine Selection

Based on the wind resource and site conditions analysis to date, the Vestas V105 3.6 MW turbine, with a hub height of 91.5 metres and a blade length of 58.7 metres, is the preferred option. This model is designed for the most severe wind conditions. It has an extremely robust design for tough site environment and is especially suited for markets with tip-height restrictions and high grid requirements.

Electrical Grid Connection

Several connection configurations are being considered for the Garpsdalur wind farm project, taking account of existing and planned transmission infrastructure, existing and planned generators and system loads. The site under consideration is located 6kms North East of the Geirdalur Landsnet 132 kV substation. It is assumed the project will feature a 33 kV internal collector circuit which will step up to 132kV with an onsite transformer to minimise transmission losses and connect to the existing station in Geirdalur via underground cable.

A grid integration study will be carried out in conjunction with Landsnet and can commence in Q1 2019 once sufficient onsite measured wind data has been collected and the environmental impact assessment has commenced.