Wind power comes in a variety of technologies and sizes. There are small generators of a few kilowatts up to those meant for utility scale wind farm production. Most of us are familiar with the wind turbines we see from our car windows as we pass the large wind farms, but there are also vertical wind turbines (refer to pic to right) with a smaller foot print generally meant for lower output applications.
Wind turbines can range in capacity from a few kW to over 3,000 kW, with a blade radius of a few feet to over 125 feet, and in height from 50 to over 250 feet at the nacelle (central enclosure atop the tower holding the gearbox, generator and auxiliary equipment). The larger the equipment, the more care that should be exercised in siting, due to issues with low frequency vibration, shadow flicker, radio frequency interference and safety concerns related to sloughing of ice and snow in winter weather.
Generally, installing a larger number of wind turbines of a smaller size, while lowering the efficiency, lessens the impact if one shuts down, so there are trade-offs. What will work best for you depends on your situation.
With the reduction in costs that have occurred and available tax credits, wind is becoming an increasing popular alternative particularly in the Midwest. However, the wind doesn’t blow the same everywhere and a study of wind conditions should be completed before significant investments in wind are undertaken.
Wind can readily be used in conjunction with other green energy applications.
If you think a wind power project may be a fit for your application, you should consider:
- Do you have enough wind for a practical project?
- How much capacity can your project support?
- Where will the turbines be located?
- Will your local utility require an interconnect agreement ?
- What other permits will be required?
- Does your local utility allow “net metering”?
- Are there zoning or neighbor issues the project will create?
- Do you have enough space to site the equipment?
- Will you need transformers or conversion equipment to make the electricity readily usable at your facility?
- Do you have the expertise to operate and maintain the equipment (i.e., is it part of your core business)?
- What green energy tax credits are available from the state and federal governments?
- What investment tax credits are available from the state and federal governments?
- Are there utility incentives for green energy?
If a wind power project looks like a fit for your project, contact IEA and one of our experts can guide you through the project screening and development processes .
Financing / Ownership / Outsourcing
IEA can own, operate and maintain your wind power project or provide a turnkey solution with asset management services to support ongoing operations and maintenance for projects owned directly by customers.