Q: Why should my community consider wind energy as a source of electricity?
A: The costs of wind energy at good wind sites are becoming competitive with those of conventional sources of electricity. Wind systems are modular, can sometimes be installed in a matter of months, and can be configured to meet large and small needs for power. They help utilities satisfy regulatory requirements and meet the environmental expectations of customers. Wind systems operate safely and without pollution.
Q: What will be the effect on the current power system if wind energy is connected to the grid?
A: Utilities can integrate wind power plants into their system with standard operating techniques using the available control system regulating capacity.
Q: Do wind turbines have any negative effects?
A: There have been some bird fatalities at wind development sites. Companies involved in wind power are taking steps to reduce these deaths. People who live near wind sites may dislike the sight of numerous wind turbines. People may also be disturbed by the sound made by turbines. The environmental effects from wind turbines are small compared to those from most other sources of electrical power.
Q: How can local government officials determine what locations have the best potential for siting a wind power plant?
A: Municipal utilities can take advantage of national studies, such as those from Pacific Northwest Laboratory, and state studies, where available, by placing anemometers, which measure wind speeds, in regions already identified as promising. (To determine if your state has existing studies, contact your state energy office. You can contact your state energy office by contacting the U.S. Department of Energy Regional Support Office that services your state.) By collecting at least one year of data with the anemometers, utilities are able to determine the potential wind resource at their site.