Generating opportunity with rural families across the U.S. and Canada
Make your future greener
Enel Green Power plants are generating substantial value for rural communities in the U.S. and Canada.
New tax revenue
Renewable energy journey
- Phase I Development - Initial Site Assessment Phase I Development - Initial Site Assessment
- Phase I Development - Land Leasing Phase I Development - Land Leasing
- Phase I Development - Resource Measurement and Analysis Phase I Development - Resource Measurement and Analysis
- Phase I Development - Detailed Assessment Phase I Development - Detailed Assessment
- Phase I Development - Contracting Phase I Development - Contracting
- Phase II: Construction Phase II: Construction
- Phase III: Operations Phase III: Operations
Our work begins long before you see any wind turbines spinning in the air or solar panels installed in the ground, and often before you first hear from us. We continuously conduct research to find locations that have the right combination of consistent wind or sun, elevation, proximity to high voltage transmission lines, environmental suitability, compatible land use, and more.
Once we have identified a site we believe can become a viable project, we approach landowners to discuss a long-term lease agreement for the wind or solar rights on their property. Projects often take many years from inception to construction, so we typically seek a development term that will allow us ample time to obtain all the wind or solar data, permits, environmental studies, and customer agreements needed to complete the project. After construction, wind and solar projects are expected to operate a minimum of 20-30+ years.
For wind projects, one of our first development activities is to install meteorological towers with anemometers and wind vanes to assess the wind on the proposed site. This process generally takes 1-3 years as the validation of the wind resource verifies the viability of the project, the risk assessments of our financial partners, and the price of the energy. We collect and study wind speeds, wind direction, air density, and other data at multiple locations across each site.
For solar projects, we also install a small meteorological station to measure the strength of the solar radiation on a site using pyranometers. We also measure wind speed, temperature, and rainfall, which can have an impact on the efficiency of the solar panels. In addition to on-site measurements, solar radiation information derived from satellite data has an important role in assessing a site. This process generally takes 1-2 years and verifies the solar resource on the site which has implications on the feasibility of the project.
In conjunction with performing resource assessments, we will also begin to evaluate all aspects of the project design. This includes a detailed environmental survey, an electrical interconnection study to determine how the project will link with the local high voltage transmission system and positioning of each wind turbine or solar array across the site. In addition, we begin the process of obtaining all the necessary federal, state and local permits, working closely with all stakeholders throughout the process.
Most wind and solar projects require a contract with one or more utility or corporate partner to purchase the output from the project before proceeding to construction. Current Enel Green Power projects sell power to customers like Google, Facebook, Gap Inc. and Anheuser-Busch. In some cases where the power market conditions are right, a project may be built as a “merchant” facility, selling power in the traded market without a long-term buyer. As one of the largest energy companies in the world, Enel allocates substantial capital toward the project that provides financing for the procurement of wind turbines or solar panels, transformers, and other equipment, as well as for the entire construction process.
Depending on the size, technology and location of a project, construction may take 6 months to 2 years. Construction crews build access roads to wind turbines or solar arrays, pour foundations and other supporting equipment, and construct a substation and interconnection infrastructure. In the busiest stage of construction, components are shipped to the site and crews install the wind turbines or solar panels. Finally, the turbines or panels are tested and commissioned before beginning commercial operation.
Enel Green Power makes every effort to keep an open line of communication with landowners during the construction process and minimize disruption as much as possible. In line with our sustainable construction model, we hire and spend locally as much as possible and reduce waste on site.
As the world’s largest operator of renewables, Enel Green Power’s expertise in the safe and efficient operation and maintenance of renewable energy plants is second to none. At each wind or solar farm, a team of full-time managers and technicians – usually 12-30 people, depending on the size of the plant – manages the facility. The site manager oversees the operations of the plant and serves as a liaison to the local community.
As plants begin to generate electricity, they also generate value for host communities. Enel Green Power is committed to sustainability and seeks to create shared value with the communities where we operate, providing targeted financial support to local programs that benefit the community at large along with our own local employees. Our sustainability initiatives focus on education, emergency response, infrastructure, environment, economic development and community wellbeing. See how our efforts around the Whitney Hill wind farm in Illinois have impacted its host community.
- Once a wind farm is operational, typically only about 1-2% of the total leased area will be used for wind turbines, roads, and other wind farm facilities. Each wind turbine location, including the access drive, will occupy approximately ½ of an acre—this allows the remaining land to be used exactly as it was before the wind farm was built.
- Panels in a solar farm are more geographically concentrated, so they naturally occupy more of the project’s leased land. Enel Green Power is at the forefront of research into low-impact solar plants that may have a positive impact on surrounding agricultural land.
Wind turbines do not affect livestock or crops. Livestock enjoy the shade of the towers on hot summer days, and both crops and livestock can use the land right up to the edge of the wind turbine foundation. Many landowners see wind energy as a long-term, guaranteed cash crop—because it is a revenue-generating resource while they still farm and ranch as usual.
- Our project development design optimizes energy production, while carefully considering wildlife, the environment, cultural resources, local planning criteria, and landowner feedback. Most importantly, our siting practices further ensure that living near a facility will have minimal impact on residents and neighbors.
- For wind farms, setbacks are utilized in the design of the wind turbine array for separation from buildings, roads, and other existing features. Enel Green Power uses proper siting procedures to deploy adequate setbacks to mitigate the impacts on residents and neighbors living near a wind turbine. We carefully consider many factors when determining the placement of each wind turbine in a project area.
Our team of experts carefully designs projects to minimize environmental impacts. We also coordinate with regulatory bodies to secure all necessary environmental permits. Furthermore, leading environmental groups like the Audubon Society and the Sierra Club have endorsed properly sited wind and solar power. Our projects burn no fossil fuel, require no transportation for fuel, and use no water. Wind and solar farms do not create carbon dioxide or any other emissions when they generate electricity.
The typical lifespan of a wind or solar project is around 20-30+ years. In some cases, Enel Green Power may choose to refurbish components of a project, “repowering” it to generate value for an extended lifespan. Otherwise, components of a facility are removed at the end of its useful life and the land is restored to its original use in a process called “decommissioning.” Decommissioning requirements are included in the lease agreement with landowners, as well as typically included in permitting requirements from local or state regulations , and as a global energy leader, Enel Green Power’s substantial financial resources ensure our ability to fully execute a decommissioning plan.