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With Wind Power Smaller is Bigger

WIND MEASUREMENTS

  • 04 2011 13
    Having worked with wind farms large and small across the U.S. and having witnessed firsthand that when it comes to wind farms, smaller really can be bigger, I thought I’d list a few of those ways.

    A Bigger Success Rate

    Anyone who has developed wind farms can tell you that navigating the maze of bureaucracy in the development process can be one of the more frustrating roadblocks in the process.  Long before construction can begin, or financing sought, or a power purchase agreement negotiated, there are any number of permissions that have to be obtained – zoning, land use, and environmental impact, to name just a few – from a whole alphabet soup of agencies at every level of government. 

    We have found that the time it can take for any given permit is directly related to the size of the project: the bigger the wind farm, the longer it takes at this stage of the process.  Simply put, with smaller wind farms, more projects can get to construction faster than with a single, larger one – which means that communities can start enjoying the economic benefits that wind power development brings sooner. 

    Bigger Impact

    Smaller projects are frequently developed under a business model called Community Wind, in which there is local ownership in the project and size range of no more than 100 MW.  These local owners, rather than simply leasing their property to a wind development company, have an ownership interest in the project.  This results in some well-documented further benefits to community. Studies prepared by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that for every dollar spent on the project, Community Wind farms had two to three times the economic impact on the local community as wind farms with absentee owners. Sursa: renewableenergyworld.com