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Wind Energy

Wind Turbines, courtesy of NRELA typical small wind system consists of a wind turbine mounted on a tower, supplementing a home or farm's energy supply whenever the wind is blowing. States with net metering programs allow wind energy producers to sell excess energy back to the utility, essentially causing their electric meter to "spin backwards."

Besides installing small wind turbines to meet their own energy needs, many rural landowners lease land to power companies for large-scale wind projects. Other landowners have pooled their resources to start cooperatively-owned wind projects.

The publications and links below offer information on choosing and putting up a wind turbine of your own, as well as leasing arrangements, funding opportunities, and other factors to consider.

NOTE: Some of the following documents are available as Adobe Acrobat PDFs. Download Acrobat Reader.

ATTRA Publications

Locally Owned Renewable Energy Facilities - IP309


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Renewable Energy Opportunities on the Farm - IP304


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Small-Scale Wind Energy on the Farm - IP311


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy



Wind Energy Publications & Links

Wind Icon Information on Wind Resources and Siting
Wind Icon Legal and Financial Considerations of Wind Energy
Wind Icon Small-Scale Wind Energy
Wind Icon General Resources on Wind Eenergy
Wind Icon Success Stories
Wind Icon Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Wind Icon Glossary of Wind Related Terms

Wind Resources and Siting

Siting Wind Turbines
This page from Wind Powering America provides resources and information about siting wind turbines.
The Wind Resource Assessment Handbook
This 79-page booklet, created in 1997 for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, offers helpful information for those who are considering a wind measurement program. [PDF/2.71M]
Wind Resource Assessment
Correctly estimating wind speed, direction, and consistency can make or break the economics of small wind and wind farm development alike. The Wind Resource Assessment tools provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory help you accurately predict these and other factors before installing a wind turbine.

Legal and Financial Considerations

Community Wind Financing Handbook
A wind-project-financing handbook from the Environmental Law & Policy Center. [PDF/502K]
Community Wind: A Review of Select State and Federal Policy Incentives
This overview of the incentives for developing wind projects is available from the Farmers' Legal Action Group, Inc. (FLAG, Inc.). [PDF/1.32M]
Electricity from the Wind: What Landowners Should Know
These Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program resources from the U.S. Department of Energy outline lease agreements, easements, and other factors to take into account when considering large wind turbines on your farm or ranch. [WORD/40K]
Farmers' Guide to Wind Energy: Legal Issues in Farming the Wind
An in-depth overview of planning a wind project and the considerations that go into developing them, available from the Farmers' Legal Action Group, Inc. (FLAG, Inc.). [PDF/7.97M]
Harvesting the Wind
This website answers basic questions about large wind turbines and locating them on your land. [PDF/396K]
Landowner Guidelines for Evaluating Wind Energy Production Contracts
The Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at Michigan State University provides a step-by-step example of considerations related to a wind energy production contract. [PDF/48K]
Leasing Your Land to a Developer
Windustry provides in-depth resources on leasing and negotiating wind development contracts.
On-Farm Wind Power
This website is an introduction to agriculture-related wind energy generation from the Rodale Institute, including information about costs and cooperatives.
Wind Energy Production: Legal Issues and Related Liability Concerns for Landowners in Iowa and Across the Nation
The Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation (CALT) provides another good overview of the legal considerations for large wind projects. [PDF/322K]

Small Scale Wind Energy

Buying a Small Wind Electric System
This guide from the California Energy Commission provides a brief overview of what to consider when purchasing a small wind system. [PDF/538K]
Small Wind Certification Council
The recently established Council provides information on turbine performance and other small wind system considerations.
Small Wind Electric Systems: A U.S. Consumers' Guide
This 27-page booklet published in March 2005 by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. [PDF/1.3M]
En Español: Sistemas Eólicos Pequeños para Generación de Electricidad [PDF/1.3M]
Using Wind Energy for Irrigation Power
This Excel spreadsheet from Montana State University allows you to compare up to three different sizes of wind turbines, and up to four different types of irrigation systems, matching electric requirements to wind turbine generating capacity.

General Wind Resources

American Wind Energy Association
AWEA, a national wind energy trade association, provides information about wind energy projects, technology development, and policy on its website.
eXtension Wind Energy for Homeowners, Farmers and Small Businesses
This national resource has excellent information on zoning for wind turbines, payback, and other considerations.
Iowa State Energy Center
The Iowa State Energy Center provides information and tools including a wind assessment study and calculator, case studies, and other wind related resources.
Montana Green Power: Wind Energy
This website includes a list of factors and costs to consider when deciding whether to install wind energy systems as well as wind maps, wind speed explanations, links, and other resources.
National Wind Technology Center
A major wind turbine research facility, NWTC's website includes information on industry partnerships, demonstration projects, and other wind energy resources.
Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development
This nonprofit organization works throughout the Pacific Northwest to build rural economies through clean, affordable, and distributed energy.
NREL Wind Research
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory provides a variety of resources, including results from small wind turbine testing and information on environmental impacts.
Wind Handbook for Electric Cooperatives
This is a great resource from the U.S. Department of Energy, Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program, Wind Powering America, and Western Area Power Administration for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. It aides with resource planning objectives through technology and procurement options
Wind Power and Agriculture: Farming the Wind
This Union of Concerned Scientists' website gives an overview of the U.S. wind industry and explains the processes and costs involved in purchasing wind energy equipment.
Wind Powering America
This U.S. Department of Energy program aims to dramatically increase the use of wind energy in the United States through wind maps, anemometer loan programs, small wind guides, legislative briefings, and wind energy working groups.
Windustry provides technical support and analysis tools—including information about landowner rights, risks, and benefits—in order to increase wind energy opportunities for rural landowners and communities.

Success Stories

Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative Installs 1.65 MW Turbine, Wins Annual DOE Award
Kendall County, IL: Community Wind Project
See more community owned wind projects at Windustry.
Minnesota Rural Community Negotiates for a 100-Megawatt Wind Energy Project
Our Wind Co-op
In addition to being a functioning wind energy cooperative, the organization assists other communities with cooperative-related questions.


Windustry Frequently Asked Questions
Try these frequently asked questions from Windustry.

Wind Glossary

Glossary of Wind Related Terms from Windustry


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This page was last updated on: May 20, 2016