To apply the various MCEs to determine the most suitable wind farm development site within the study area.
One MCE output demonstrated the environmentally optimal sites, the second MCE output demonstrated the socioeconomically optimal sites along with the most suitable site considering all criteria and constraints of both perspectives. These three maps identified the suitable areas for wind farm development assessing environmentally important variables, socioeconomically important variables, and environmental plus socioeconomic variables. The lack of suitable area that was found for the environmental and socioeconomic factors together was very limited by the constraints (set back distances). Therefore multiple iterations of this map were created; 1) Suitability based on buffered socioeconomic variables and environmental variables without buffers. 2) Suitability based on buffered environmental variables and socioeconomic variables without buffers. By examining the environmental and socioeconomic outputs independently and comparing them to the merged output, the suitability of sites were examined based on different priorities, and the importance of including both environmental and socioeconomic variables together during the MCE process was also demonstrated.
A variety of ArcGIS Spatial Analyst Tools were used to achieve this (Figure 4). First, projections were transformed into the NAD 1983 UTM Zone 12N projection. All shapefiles were then clipped using the Clip tool to the boundary of the Special Areas. Using the Buffer tools, the appropriate buffer distances were given to each input layer being analyzed. All shapefiles were converted to raster datasets using the Polygon/Polyline/Point to Raster tool. The Filter Majority tool was used on the wetlands and forested areas rasters to remove any single cells that may have been misclassified. All constraints were reclassified using the Reclassify tool where areas that could be built on were given a value of 1 and areas that could not be built on were given a value of 0. Constraints and criteria related to proximity, such as roads and water systems, were calculated using the Euclidean Distance and inputting the appropriate distances (Figure 4). The Slope tool was used to obtain slope from the Canadian DEM. The Raster Calculator was then used to determine the criteria using a weighted system and to also implement the MCE itself. Multiple iterations of map outputs were created for each category of variable to account for and visualize factors that have been more limiting to the analyses than others.
Figure 4: ArcGIS Spatial Analyst Tools used in sequence to construct constraint and criterion outputs.