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Finding the right location


Wind farms can deliver up to 8% of the UK's energy mix by 2010, reckons the British Wind Energy Association, but only if schemes can overcome hurdles presented by the planning process.

DEVELOPERS PUSHING wind farm schemes have repeatedly fallen foul of opposition. Local residents keen to protect a favourite landscape, conservationists who claim birds and animals will be disturbed, and the Ministry of Defence's desire to retain low fly areas have all contributed to costly planning battles for developers.

However, a new modelling tool being developed by consultant Babtie could make developers' lives a good deal easier.

The package is based on GIS maps but with a host of additional information added.

Babtie has plotted land use details onto the maps. Land used by the military for low flying practice, sites of special scientific interest and outstanding natural beauty, and historic monuments can be easily spotted and thus avoided.

The maps also allow developers to look three dimensionally at a landscape, allowing Babtie to identify where wind farms will be visible, and making it possible to rule out sites where residents will object on visual grounds.

Inputting climatic data means the package can assess wind speeds at sites where development may be possible, indicating how far operating efficiency would be affected by relocating turbines.

'It enables us to prioritise by wind speed, by environmental considerations, or by land access issues, ' reports Babtie facilities business director David Baird. For remote locations, Babtie can also look at the scale of infrastructure such as roads and power lines needed to provide access and connection.

So far Scotland, northern England and East Anglia have been mapped onto the tool, and Babtie has earmarked half a dozen good sites not previously identified by developers.

Canadian power firm Atco has used the application to develop proposals for two more sites, now being taken forward to planning. Word of the package is getting around and Babtie has received calls from landowners across the UK. Local authorities are also showing a keen interest.

T5 benefits from CTRL

Heathrow Terminal 5 is the latest high profile project to see the benefits of project management using online contract change management (CCM) software from Needlemans MPS.

London Electricity Services is using CCM on its contract to install high voltage kits on the T5 site, having trialled the software on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

CCM is aimed at projects run through the Engineering & Construction Contract (ECC), and works by tracking and controlling project managers' instructions, early warnings and compensation events.

Because the ECC processes are completely embedded in the software, users have no choice but to follow the correct procedures and there are no excuses for late responses to actions.

INFOPLUS www. needlemans. com

Seismic settlement

Construction of the world's widest cable stayed bridge is moving closer with final detailed design of the 68m wide New Mississippi River Bridge now being carried out with Lusas design software.

Linking the states of Illinois and Missouri just north of St Louis, the bridge's main span of 610m will make it the longest clear span across the Mississippi river.

It will also be the longest cable stayed span in the western hemisphere, the fifth-longest cable stayed span in the world, and the first major cable-stayed bridge to use three planes of cables in the main span.

The bridge is close to a seismic zone, meaning strict design requirements must be met. So US designer Modjeski & Masters has turned to Lusas software to carry out advanced 3D analyses on the structure, such as static analysis under dead loads, moving load analyses, fatigue load determination, nonlinear static stability analyses of the free-standing towers and of the completed bridge, spectral earthquake analyses in 3D, and detailed analysis of steel plate stresses at connections and cable anchorages.

INFOPLUS www. lusas. com

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