A sustainable way forward for wind power: Assessing turbines’ environmental impacts using a holistic GIS analysis

Erez Peri*, Alon Tal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Wind power development is an increasingly vital source of renewable electricity that significantly contributes globally to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and the combatting of climate change. The environmental impacts of wind turbines have emerged as a dominant consideration in the planning process in order to increase public acceptance, protect the surrounding environment and to conserve pristine ecosystems. Hence, ensuring holistic planning and community participation are key factors if wind-generated electricity is to be expanded. Existing macro-planning methods lack quantifiable models for assessing wind turbines’ full environmental implications. The current study uses a holistic and quantitative methodology to identify suitable sites for wind turbines in the north of Israel using available GIS software. By evaluating a broad range of local environmental and spatial conditions, the research improves on existing GIS modeling. The spatial criteria that affect zoning optimization are then applied using a Multi Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA). The results indicate that 0.5% of possible sites in the study area are suitable for wind turbine development according to the strictest environmental constraints. Anthropocentric environmental impacts from turbines were found to be significant whenever sites were located less than 750 m from settlements. Ecological impacts, however, were not found to be correlated with the distance from natural protected areas. The study's novel, holistic approach enables decision-makers to identify sustainable locations with maximum energy benefits and minimal negative impacts as they seek to meet renewable energy goals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115829
JournalApplied Energy
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020


FundersFunder number
Gadi Hareli
Green Energy Association of Israel
Israel Electric Company28-2019-9419
Israel Nature & Parks Authority
Israel's Ministry of Energy
Israeli Wind Energy Association
Israel’s Ministry of Energy106-14191
Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel
Uri Ramon


    • Environmental impacts
    • GIS
    • Multi criteria decision analysis
    • Wind turbines


    Dive into the research topics of 'A sustainable way forward for wind power: Assessing turbines’ environmental impacts using a holistic GIS analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this