Seventy-five percent of the Flemish population agree that we should switch to more sustainable energy sources such as wind as soon as possible. The question remains where best to install wind turbines on Flemish land. The Government of Flanders devised an answer to this question with GIM, using geodata and FME.
The Government of Flanders wishes to pave the way for more sustainable energy resources in Flanders as part of the EU's "Europe 2020" strategy. To this end, it announced that hundreds of new wind turbines would be installed on Flemish land in its concept paper, titled the "Fast Lane for Wind Energy" (which was expanded with the "Wind Power 2020" concept paper).
Not all locations are suited for wind turbines. Several technical, ecological, economic and social factors must be taken into account to make efficient use of the available space and generate social support. The relevant data are available in various forms and models, which cannot be compared or even integrated. In an attempt to collate all this data, the Government of Flanders decided to partner with the GIM specialists.
GIM developed an FME-based solution. This software can easily integrate data from various sources.
The tool uses specific and complex placement algorithms to calculate potential locations for wind turbines in Flanders, relying on data about the various zones.
The calculation tool uses geographical data in various file formats - including shapefiles and Excel files - as input. The results are checked against locations in Flanders, where the population will be least impacted by wind turbines. These locations can then be incorporated in impact analyses, which simulate the consequences for the surrounding area, for each adjustment.
Government officials, who have no IT background, can use the new GIS calculation tool to process a huge batch of diverse data, without first having to take a programming course. This allows them to concentrate on the problem at hand, namely to analyse the space and calculate where best to install future wind turbines in Flanders.
GIM succeeded in developing a fit-for-purpose tool, which was custom-built for the department, by organising regular feedback rounds with the Government of Flanders' Environment Department.
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