Distributed Wind FAQ

The Distributed Wind Toolkit is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), through the Wind Energy Technology Office (WETO), under Award Number DE-EE0008958.0001

Frequently Asked Questions

Wind as a Resource

  1. Can I benefit from distributed wind if I live in a location that's not very windy?

    The "windiness" of a site is the most important factor in a wind energy project's long-term success. Wind speed and quality can vary greatly with season, location, time of day, height above the ground, and the proximity of obstacles like trees and buildings, so it is wise to have a professional resource assessment before moving ahead with a project. Even if your particular location is not a perfect place for a wind turbine, distributed wind may still benefit you as a community project or as part of a wind+ system.

    Learn More:
    - https://windexchange.energy.gov/maps-data
    - https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/frequently-asked-questions-small-distributed-wind-systems#Siting

  2. What happens when the wind is not blowing?

    The wind doesn't always blow, but in any well-designed (or grid-connected) distributed wind system the lights will always stay on. In short, electricity from other generating sources or from stored energy must pick up the slack when a wind turbine is not spinning. Grid operators routinely balance supply and demand across transmission lines, and wind energy has been seamlessly integrated all over the country.

    Learn More:
    - https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/frequently-asked-questions-about-wind-energy#ElectricitySupply

Living and Working Around Wind

  1. How does wind energy work with farming and ranching?

    Wind energy and agriculture enjoy a mutually beneficial partnership. The open lands used for farming and ranching provide some of the best wind resources, and the revenue produced by the turbines located there contributes economic benefits for landowners and nearby communities. Furthermore, since turbines only require a small footprint for the tower and an access road, almost all of the surrounding land stays productive for the owner.

    Learn More:
    - http://www.windustry.org/how_will_wind_turbines_affect_my_farm_how_much_space_will_they_take_up

  2. Are the turbines disruptive? I've heard they can make a lot of sound and cast shadows.

    Turbine sounds are quite low and siting projects at appropriate distances from occupied homes and businesses reduces it further. Shadows cast by rotating wind turbine blades are easily predicted and sensible siting virtually eliminates this effect.

    Learn More:
    - https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/frequently-asked-questions-about-wind-energy#WindTurbineSound
    - https://windexchange.energy.gov/projects/sound
    - https://windexchange.energy.gov/projects/shadow-flicker


  1. Are wind turbines safe for wildlife and birds?

    Wind energy is recognized by environmental stakeholders as one of the most environmentally friendly forms of energy generation. Bird and bat collisions with wind turbines do happen but are minimized through careful siting and operation.

    Learn More:
    - https://www.fws.gov/birds/bird-enthusiasts/threats-to-birds.php
    - https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/frequently-asked-questions-about-wind-energy#BirdsandBats
    - https://windexchange.energy.gov/projects/wildlife

  2. Are wind turbines safe for people?

    Modern wind turbines have an excellent safety record that stretches back decades. Numerous studies over the last 15 years have concluded that wind turbines have no direct impact on human health.

    Learn More:
    - https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/frequently-asked-questions-about-wind-energy#WindTurbineHealth
    - https://windexchange.energy.gov/projects/safety

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