Wind can be used on a small scale, with stand-alone turbines, for mechanical uses like water pumping, or for other uses, like communications and electricity generation. Small scale wind systems are generally defined as those generating less than 25 kW. Wyomingites interested in developing wind energy on their property should use the following resources as a guide in the development process. In general, the following steps should be taken:
1. Determine your wind power capacity
2. Consider economic, lifestyle, and legal impacts from wind development
3. Explore development opportunities and their feasibility
Finally, those interested in developing small scale wind projects should carefully review the information available under our Energy Basics webpage.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- How can I determine if wind is right for me?
Before investing in a small wind system, be sure to carefully weigh the personal, economic, legal, and environmental implications that switching to a small wind system may have. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provides helpful considerations when planning for a small wind electric system. The American Wind Energy Association also provides an extensive FAQ list on small wind systems. Evaluating your wind resource may require you to enlist the help of a professional, but you may start by reviewing the following resource: Wind resource map of Wyoming
- What are the principal advantages and drawbacks?
- Wyoming has a relatively abundant wind resource.
- Wind energy can be used for a variety of purposes, including off-grid residential systems and water pumping.
- Using electricity generated from wind can lower electric bills.
- The system will entail substantial upfront costs.
- Wind is an intermittent resource.
- Because wind turbines can be obtrusive on the landscape, it may be necessary to seek neighbors’ approval before installation, and neighborhood codes and covenants should be reviewed before installing.
For more information visit the DOE’s “Frequently Asked Questions on Small Wind Systems”.
- Does wind make sense for folks who want to live “off the grid”?
Wind, especially paired with other types of renewable energies, like solar electric, can make sense for folks who wish to live off the grid. If you are interested in living off the grid, visit our Energy Basics page as a start.
Living off the grid might make sense for you if:
- You have a good wind resource (an average annual speed of at least 9 miles/hour), in addition to other energy resources.
- You are facing a grid connection that is not available or is very expensive.
- You want to use clean energy.
- You want energy independence.
The DOE provides more information on “Off-Grid or Stand-Alone Renewable Energy Systems.”
- What are the incentives?
Small wind systems, like other renewable energy sources are eligible for numerous federal and state incentives. Please visit our Incentives page for more information.
- How much does wind cost?
The cost of installing a small wind system will depend on the amount of electricity you intend to generate with it. It generally costs between $3000 and $6000 per kilowatt of generating capacity. Costs vary greatly, so be certain to contact an installer for more accurate pricing.
- Where can I find a Wyoming-based contractor?
Please see our list of Wyoming based contractors.
- Additionally, consumers should review the following list of questions to ask when shopping for a small wind system, provided by the American Wind Energy Association.