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Mapping Ontario’s Wind Turbines: Challenges and Limitations

DOI: 10.3390/ijgi2041092

Keywords: wind turbines, wind farms, mapping, renewable energy, health, environmental risk

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Abstract:

Despite rapid and vast development of wind turbines across the Canadian province of Ontario, there is no map available indicating the location of each wind turbine. A map of this nature is crucial for health and environmental risk research and has many applications in other fields. Research examining health and wind turbines is limited by the available maps showing the nearest community to a wind farm as opposed to each unique wind turbine. Data from provincial-level organizations, developers, and municipalities were collected using government development approval documents, planning documents, and data given directly from municipalities and developers. Wind turbines were mapped using Google Earth, coordinate lists, shapefiles, and translating data from other maps. In total, 1,420 wind turbines were mapped from 56 wind farms. The limitations of each data source and mapping method are discussed. There are numerous challenges in creating a map of this nature, for example incorrect inclusion of wind farms and inaccuracies in wind turbine locations. The resultant map is the first of its kind to be discussed in the literature, can be used for a variety of health and environmental risk studies to assess dose-response, wind turbine density, visibility, and to create sound and vibration models.

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