Click a question in our Wind Power FAQ to see the answer
displayed to the right side of the screen:
- What is wind energy?
- Why choose wind energy?
- What are the environmental benefits of wind energy?
- What are other advantages of wind energy?
- Why does wind energy cost more?
- Do wind farms have a negative impact on birds?
- What are Renewable Energy Credits?
Wind energy is an emission-free, clean, renewable, and endless source of electricity. State-of-the-art wind turbines convert the kinetic energy of the wind to electric energy, which is harnessed by turning a rotor like a pinwheel, and delivered directly to the power grid.
Power plants are the nation’s largest source of air pollution. When fossil fuels like coal, gas or oil are burned to generate energy they emit carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the leading contributors to global warming, along with other harmful pollutants such as nitrous oxide (N2O), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and mercury (Hg). Purchasing emission-free wind energy allows wind farms to operate cost-effectively and adds more clean energy to the power grid, therefore displacing the need for conventional energy sources.
Wind energy is clean, renewable and entirely fuel free. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an average household uses 750 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity each month. Offsetting this with a wind energy purchase prevents the release of over six tons of CO2 each year.
Purchasing wind energy directly supports the development of future wind farm projects along with the environmental and economic benefits they facilitate. Wind farms create jobs and boost local economies in the form of lease payments to landowners for hosting turbines on their property, and in the form of tax revenues to the local government. These dollars support the development of schools, police and fire stations, and are used for repairs to infrastructure and general municipal needs. Because wind is an inexhaustible energy source, wind farms play an important role in strengthening our energy security and promoting our nation’s energy independence.
Currently, the cost of generating wind power is more expensive than fossil fuel power plants. The cost and installation of the technologies required to harness wind power necessitate a higher price per kilowatt hour (kWh). However, wind energy is becoming more competitively priced as more wind farms are developed. Costs have fallen from $0.40/kWh in the 1980s to $0.10–$0.25/kWh today.
Wind farms account for a remarkably low percentage of the total avian mortalities attributed to human behavior. Nationwide, studies show that properly-sited wind farms will cause one or two bird deaths per year, per turbine. Statistically, wind turbines account for only 1 out of every 10,000 bird deaths caused by human actions (vehicles, pesticides, buildings, and house cats are all responsible for far greater numbers). Before a site is approved for wind farm construction, scientists monitor bird migratory, nesting, mating and feeding patterns to ensure the project will not interfere with local avian populations. In addition, modern wind turbines are designed to minimize the likelihood of birds or bats colliding with the blades.
Renewable energy credits (RECs) represent the environmental and economic value of electricity produced from clean, renewable, emission-free energy resources that are safe for our environment and will never be depleted. RECs hold real and quantifiable economic value and act like a form of currency that allows the environmental attributes of renewable energy generation to be separated from the electricity commodity and to be sold as a separate product. Each REC displaces an equivalent amount of electricity that otherwise would have been generated using fossil fuels. As such, RECs offset the CO2 emissions created by conventional electricity generation. RECs enable consumers across the country to support renewable energy generation and contribute to the growth of the green energy sector. Ongoing market support will continue to improve the cost competitiveness of renewable energy vs. conventional electricity.