Site vs. footprint

Viking Wind Farm Site boundariesSite - total area of a development

Footprint - area which is actually build upon.

In any development the footprint of a site is always much smaller than the total site size.

According to the Viking Energy scoping document of January 2007, the site size is 12800 hectares (about 32000 acres). This is a conservative estimate, because it doesn't include some of the valleys at the side of hills, nor does it include main roads running through the site, nor does it include villages and settlements which will be surrounded by turbines. So the 32,000 acres site size is a minimum site size.

Site quadrants from which Viking calculated the site area. Note the missing areas!Recent claims from Viking Energy Ltd (12/3/08) that the footprint had shrunk by a third from 9km2 to 6km2 are based on the reduction in the number of turbines in their initial grossly inflated numbers, to a number closer to what their target number may be. It's just used car sales tactics, ask for a lot, reduce it later and the poor buyer will think they have driven a hard bargain. The final number will most likely be less than the current 154. Their own scoping report in January 2008 said that the number is "unlikely to exceed 150".

The art of spin is taking an unfavourable news story or fact - in this case "Tresta Estate refuses to give permission to Viking Energy Wind Farm", and turning it into a positive one "wind farm footprint reduced by a third". The clever bit is using the word footprint, but trying to imply the total site area of the wind farm has been reduced by a third, when of course it hasn't. The footprint is the bit which gets dug up and built upon, so 6km2 (ie. 600 ha) footprint is a built area equivilent to 858 football pitches!