Windustry Publication

Decisions

To participate in wind energy, you will need to make decisions about numerous options that exist for harvesting the wind. You should consider all your options before proceeding, since each option has its own risks and rewards. Additionally, there are various financial incentives and markets that may or may not apply to your situation. If incentives are available to you, these can also influence which option you choose. This fact sheet will help you begin to understand the basic options for participating in wind energy.

Economics

One of the main benefits of wind energy is economic gain, both for individuals and for communities. Individuals can save money on their energy bills, and even make money by generating wind power. Communities can diversify their economies and enjoy greater reliance on local resources when their members invest in wind.

Of course, a wind project will provide these advantages only if the economics have been thought through in advance. Like any investment, wind energy projects require some research and a basic understanding of the risks, costs, and benefits involved.

Business Structures

Let's assume you have established that you have a good wind resource on your property, and you decide to undertake a wind energy project. How will you do it? As with any business venture, there is more than one way to structure your involvement. Do you want to own a wind turbine by yourself, or join forces with a partner? Or do you want to sell or lease your land to someone else? The structure you choose for your wind energy business will depend on three main factors:

Project Overview

Wind energy offers many financial, environmental, and social benefits to the communities and individuals who choose to get involved with it. Developing a wind project, however, can be a time-consuming and complex process. Before beginning, you will want to familiarize yourself with all of the necessary steps and gain a solid understanding of the elements of a wind project.

Why Wind Energy?

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.

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