Benefits of Wind

Wind Energy for Rural Economic Development

This presentation from the Wind Powering America program was given in 2006 at the AWEA annual conference.  According to the Wind Powering America web site, the presentation "covers wind turbine sizes and applications, the evolution of U.S. commercial wind technology, capacity and cost trends, world growth market, installed wind capacities, drivers for wind power, wind cost of energy, historic natural gas prices, Renewables Portfolio Standards (RPS) — people want renewable energy, wind energy investors, wind energy doesn't consume water, windy rural areas need economic development, economic development impacts, case studies, local ownership models, Farm Bill activities, Job and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) Model, state economic impacts, comparative economic development impacts, key issues for wind power, and more."

Click here to go to the presentation. 

Pros & Cons

In the U.S., the greatest source of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions is the power sector, at about 38%. The largest source of power is coal, which, even though it produces less than 40% of the power, produces over 70% of the power sector's greenhouse gas emissions. (20% of the greenhouse gas emissions are from natural gas-fired power plants.) Although wind turbines have become familiar in much of the U.S., wind power still (2013) only accounts for about 4% of the power sector.

Comparing Statewide Economic Impacts of New Generation from Wind, Coal and Natural Gas in Arizona, Colorado and Michigan

This 2006 report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory assesses the direct economic impacts of constructing new electricity from wind, coal and natural gas in three different states. Initial results showed that new electricity generation from wind could be more economically effective than adding new electricity generation from gas or coal power and that new wind electricity generation keeps more dollars local.

Read the report

Renewable Energy: Wind Power's Contribution to Electric Power Generation and Impact on Farms and Rural Communities

Published by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) in September 2004, this report examines the amount of electricity generated by U.S. wind power and prospects for its growth, the contribution of wind power to farmers' income and rural communities, the advantages and disadvantages for farmers of owning a wind power project versus leasing land for a project, and USDA's efforts to promote wind power in rural communities.

“Wind Power's Contribution to Electric Power Generation and Impact on Farms and Rural Communities Wind power provides electricity without polluting the air or depleting nonrenewable resources. Wind power relies on steady winds to turn the blades of power-generating turbines. Because these turbines generally are located on rural lands, wind power could also provide economic benefits to farmers and rural communities.”

Read the report

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