A review of the wind parks’ environmental and human impacts, based on extended research on the most recent relevant bibliography, is carried out in the present paper. The results of former studies are presented on:
- the impact on the aesthetic of the landscape
- the noise emissions
- the impact on birds and wildlife
- the shadow flicker from wind turbines
- the occupation of land
- the wind turbines electromagnetic interference.
In addition, the results of case studies for selected wind parks installed in the Prefecture of Lasithi in Crete, concerning their visual impacts and their noise emissions are presented. A statistical survey implemented in Crete concerning the public opinion on wind parks and wind energy is also presented. The accomplished tasks indicated:
- There are no serious impacts caused by the installation or operation of wind parks. The wind parks’ impacts may be eliminated with the optimum selection of the installation sites and the appropriate siting of the wind turbines.
- People in Crete exhibit a strongly positive attitude towards wind energy and wind parks, although they are not willing to pay a higher price for the electricity produced from wind parks.
A map with the optimum sites for wind parks installation in the Prefecture of Lasithi was constructed, taking into account all possible restrictions concerning the use of land, the environmental conservation and the impacts on human life. This map can constitute a flexible tool for the optimum site selection for a wind park installation, contributing to the elimination of environmental and human impacts of new wind parks, to the minimization of the required project's licensing time and to the limitation of possible negative public reactions.