Distributed Wind for FARM Operations 101

If you live in or travel through America's farmland, you'll see windmills dotting the fields, hills, and open plains. These windmills were designed and installed to either pump water out of the ground or installed as wind turbines to to generate electricity. The latter has been gaining a lot of popularity over the last decade.

To give you some perspective of the growth in wind turbine adoption in the U.S., a report published by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) estimates that a new turbine is installed every two and half hours across the country. It can be difficult to truly grasp this speed, for a powerful visual depiction you can watch the U.S. Department of Energy’s time-lapse graphic.

WindFarm.jpgIt is important to recognize that there is a difference between a wind farm and distributed wind generation system. Utility scale wind farms generate electricity that is distributed to power grids that are transmitted often times hundreds of miles away. In contrast, a distributed wind turbine is installed on the operator’s property and generates electricity exclusively for the business.

If you're considering investing in your own on-site wind turbine, United Wind covers the basic information you should know before you move forward.

Do I have the wind resources needed for a wind energy solution?

One of the biggest reasons for the growing rate of turbine installations are the abundant wind resources available in the Great Plains region of the country. The map below from the U.S Department of Energy shows that states like Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota are abundant with wind resources. 

Wind Energy.jpg

Source: U.S Department of Energy

The best way to determine if an on-site turbine is right for your operation is to have a professional analyze the available wind resources in your geographical location. This first initial step is crucial to ensure that your investment will produce the electricity needed to power your farm’s machines.

Hedging Against Rate Hikes

Another reason for the rapid growth of wind power is that many commercial consumers are hedging against the rise of electricity rates. Utility rate hikes are dependent on components such as the cost of fuel inputs, generating facility upkeep, and the transmission and distribution which deliver that electricity to the ratepayers. By installing their own on-site wind energy systems, they can reduce the affect of a sudden rate hike on their bottom line.  

Average_retail_price_of_electricity2C_monthly.pngThe U.S. Energy Information Administration highlights a steady rise of retail electric rates for commercial and residential customers. The average retail price of electricity is priced by cents per kilowatt-hour, and will vary by state and electric company.

How to select a turbine system:

Because of the rapidly changing technology and every site is different, it is best to get a site analysis from a wind professional. A United Wind Energy Consultant can create a custom wind report that analyzes your property’s location and historical electricity demands to prescribe a properly designed turbine.

Getting started on your wind energy solution: 

If you are interested in better understanding your options or getting started with wind power, United Wind can help. United Wind offers a $0 dollar down turbine lease that includes installation, insurance, maintenance service, and a production guarantee. The WindLease™ allows operators to lock-in an electricity rate that will be fixed for 20 to 30 years. 

As an added bonus, all Farmers Business Network℠ members are eligible for a special offer! To see the latest offer details, log into your FBN℠ account, go the FBN Direct page and click the Technology section to find United Wind's offer. 

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This blog post was contributed by United Wind, a small-scale wind turbine company, which is available on FBN Direct Marketplace. WindLease™ is a trademark of United Wind. © 2016 United Wind Inc. All rights reserved.

1. (2017), Economic Development Impacts of Wind Projects, American Wind Energy Association, Web

The views expressed in this article are the author's alone and not those of Farmer's Business Network, Inc., its affiliates or members.