Local Wind Power: The Next Renewable Trend?

08/09/2013 |

This turbine in Cleveland, OH, is an example of distributed wind power, which made significant gains in popularity in 2012.

Wind turbines located near businesses, homes, and farms are increasingly popular in the United States, according to a new report.

The Market Report on Wind Technologies in Distributed Applications, conducted by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, offers the first comprehensive analysis specifically focusing on distributed wind, meaning wind energy that’s generated close to where it is used rather than in a centralized wind farm.

Distributed wind power could range from a single turbine on a smaller site to a handful of large ones powering a bigger facility. In fact, 68% of all wind turbines installed in the U.S. between 2003 and 2012 were distributed – adding up to roughly 69,000 turbines with a generation capacity of 812 mW. Other findings included:

  • About one-third of the turbines installed in the U.S. in 2012 were distributed wind turbines, which represents about 3,800 turbines that can generate 175 mW.
  • The total number of distributed turbines installed in 2012 declined by almost 50%, but the amount of power that the new turbines can produce increased by 62%.
  • Large turbines for distributed wind projects are responsible for that shift.

The full report is available from the Department of Energy.

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