Distributed Wind Energy 101

Distributed and Community Wind Energy

❖ Distributed Wind: is the use of one or a few wind turbines at homes, farms, businesses, and public facilities to off-set on-site energy consumption or small arrays placed close to loads (front-of-meter)

❖ Community Wind: medium – large wind turbines with significant local participation (like Community Solar)

Homes Distributed wind turbines on the distribution grid. Source: U.S. Dept. of Energy

Benefits of Distributed Wind Energy

❖ Least-cost renewable technology in areas with good wind resources

❖ Leverages America’s technology and manufacturing strengths Complements solar; reduces need for storage and back-up Small footprint compared to solar Strengthens the grid and promotes resilience Ramps faster than some other clean energy technologies Provides branding for environmental stewardship

More Expensive, but also More Valuable

Windfarm Turbines

❖  ~ $1,500 / kW
❖  Providing Wholesale

Power, sold at: 2 – 4¢/kWh

Distributed Turbines

❖  ~ $3-9,000 / kW

❖  Providing Retail

Power, sold at: 8 – 42¢/kWh

    Wind and Solar are Complementary Energy Sources

    Distributed Wind, with Less Automation, is a “Jobs Machine”

    Distributed Wind, with Less Automation, is a “Jobs Machine”
    Distributed Wind, with Less Automation, is a “Jobs Machine”
    Distributed Wind, with Less Automation, is a “Jobs Machine”
    Distributed Wind, with Less Automation, is a “Jobs Machine”
    Distributed Wind, with Less Automation, is a “Jobs Machine”
    Distributed Wind, with Less Automation, is a “Jobs Machine”

    Turbine Size Classifications

    Small: 0 – 100 kW

    Manufacturers: Primo, Sonsight, Ryse, SD

    Wind, Bergey, QED, Xflow, Eocycle, Pecos,

    Northern Power

    Mid-Size: 101 – 1,000 kW

    Manufacturers: Siva, Carter, EWT

    Large: > 1,000 kW (> 1MW)

    Manufacturers: GE, Goldwind, Vestas,


    FTS Enterprises Juniata, NE

    Install by:

    15 kW turbine on 100’ tower

    Installed June 2021

    Produces ~ 50,000 kWh per year

    $100,000 installed; USDA grant + Tax Credit + Bonus Depreciation = 2 year payback

    Heritage Dairy Farm Yuma, CO

    Install by:

    2 x 100 kW turbines on 100’ towers

    Installed October 2016

    Turbines produce 480,000 kWh/yr – 60% of dairies’ annual energy

    Utility: Y-W Electric Association (REC)

    Anhueser-Busch Brewery Fairfield, CA

    Install by:

    1,850 kW turbine, “Bud Light”, on 260’ tower installed August 2014

    Brewery’s second turbine: 1,500 kW turbine installed in 2011

    Two turbines provide 30% of energy demand (equal to 33,000 cases of beer per day)

    Installed under Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

    DW Potential: Comparable and Complementary to Offshore Wind

    2016 & 2022 NREL Reports:

    Technical feasibility: 49.5 million residential, commercial, industrial and public sites

    Economic feasibility in 2022: 1,400 GW

    Economic feasibility in 2035: 6,000 GW

    Offshore Wind serves larger coastal communities. Distributed Wind serves smaller interior, transitional and more disadvantaged communities. Both have large supply chain opportunities, but DW is far less developed.

    2035 DW Potential: 1,000 GW

    DWEA 2035 DW Goal: 35 GW

    Major Cost Reduction Potential

    LCOE: Levelized Cost of Energy – Source: DWEA Vision Report, 2016

    Inflation Reduction Act of 2022: Transformational for the DW Industry

    President Biden

    IRA Policies Supporting Distributed Wind

    30% Investment Tax Credits for Residences (through 2032)

    30% Investment Tax Credits for Businesses & Non-Profits (lower requirements for projects under 1 MW) through 2032

    10% Bonus for Domestic Content

    10% Bonus for being in an Energy Community zone (mapped annually)

    10-20% Bonus awards for projects in low income zones

    Transferability for For-Profits

    Elective Pay (rebate) for Non-Profits

    1 (Sec. 179) or 5-Year depreciation for businesses

    Manufacturing Tax Credits for Domestic Production, with limited Direct Pay

    USDA REAP Grants up to 50% for Ag Sector and Rural Small Businesses “Underutilized Technologies” set-aside for wind projects Policies for Distributed Wind Growth

    Preserve USDA REAP funding and the Underutilized Technologies sub-program

    Investment Tax Credits: §25D (residential) parity with §48 (business)

    Appropriations: Increase the US-DOE DW funding from $13M to $30M

    DOE should highlight DW with a major new DW deployment initiative

    Add distributed wind to incentive programs provided for solar