The manual, Using Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program Data for Wind Energy Planning: A Manual for Townships, was developed as part of a research project sponsored by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania and conducted by Dr. Brian W. Okey and Michael J. Kuzemchak of Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
The research goal was to provide a tool for local governments to more comprehensively address land use decisions involving commercial wind energy. It did this by highlighting areas across Pennsylvania where competing demands of wind development and wildlife protection are likely to emerge.
To determine where potential conflict areas may occur, the researchers used Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program (PNHP) data to highlight areas of outstanding importance to the state’s wildlife. The researchers combined this data with wind speed data (Class 4 or greater only) to model likely areas of conflict between wildlife habitat and commercial development interests.
The research identified 235 townships in 39 counties that contain potential conflict areas. The 39 counties are highlighted in the map below. Select the applicable county on the map to access a list of townships in the county with potential conflict areas between Class 4 or greater winds and PNHP conservation areas and to download maps (pdf file) of the townships.
A link to the manual, which may help townships to create restricted zones or ordinances to reduce wildlife risks and steer development proposals to locations more appropriate for wind energy generation, is available below. A link to the report, which provides details about the research and the development of the manual and maps, is also available below.
The Center stresses that this manual is not a substitute for detailed site reviews in proposed development areas. Instead, it is a proactive tool that may better ensure the coexistence of wind energy and wildlife populations in Pennsylvania.
Read the report
Modeling Potential Wildlife-Wind Energy Conflict Areas (778KB) – provides details about the research and the development of the manual and maps