Some businesses are perfectly situated to consider wind power installation. There are two options for wind power usage: small or distributed wind with turbines smaller than 100 kilowatts for direct power generation or utility-scale with turbines larger than 100 kilowatts.
Is onsite wind power an option for your business?
Small wind electric systems are particularly suitable for the agricultural sector at farms and ranches for remote applications such as pumping water. If you are located in a more developed area, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory published a technical report (PDF) in June of 2016 outlining some important recommendations including the need to fully conduct onsite atmospheric measurements and performance of detailed loss calculations to account for real-world operating conditions.
If you are interested in learning whether wind is practical for you, the size of wind turbine you need, wind systems costs, and other information regarding small wind, we suggest you check out the small wind information provided in "A Pennsylvania Consumer's Guide to Small Wind Electric Systems" (PDF) and checking out the US DOE's Wind Exchange.
Do you have lots of land and want to "farm" wind?
Pennsylvania obtains about 4% of its net electricity generation from renewable sources. Until recently, renewable electricity came mostly from hydroelectric and biomass power plants, but wind power has grown to provide two-fifths of renewable electricity generation, making it the state's largest renewable source. In 2018, Pennsylvania has over 1,300 megawatts of wind power generation installed on 24 wind farms providing enough electricity to power nearly 350,000 Pennsylvania homes, with nearly 3,000 people employed in the wind energy field.
If you own a large piece of land, you may be interested in utility-scale wind installation. Please contact your local DEP office as DEP regulates impacts of wind farms, typically impacts to water and wetlands mainly from road building and construction activities. DEP permitting activities occur at the Regional Office covering the area where the project will take place. As part of a normal permit application, the applicant or consultant needs to complete a PNDI Environmental Review and attempt to resolve any conflicts with the required agencies before submitting the permit application to DEP.
In addition to this required review, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has signed cooperative, voluntary agreements with companies developing wind energy in Pennsylvania to avoid, minimize and potentially mitigate any adverse impacts the development of wind energy may have on the state's wildlife resources, brokered with substantial input from wind energy industry representatives and assistance from the Pennsylvania Wind and Wildlife Collaborative (PWWC) Wind Energy Cooperative Agreement.
Construction of large wind energy projects generally requires approval by the local government(s) in which they are located. The development of many of the wind farms in Pennsylvania followed guidelines established in the Model Wind Ordinance (PDF) for Local Governments.This document can be adapted as needed by the municipality that is considering wind farm development within its boundaries.
More questions about wind in Pennsylvania?
- The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the American Wind Energy Association, released a comprehensive dataset of U.S. wind turbine locations and characteristics that is easily accessible, more accurate, and updated more often than existing wind turbine datasets and can be viewed in the United States Wind Turbine Database Viewer.
- PA Public Utility Commission - Pennsylvania requires 18 percent of electricity generated to come from alternative energy sources, including wind energy, by 2021. Visit their Alternative Energy site for information on this process.
- Wind Powering America - A U.S. DOE Web site providing information on the Wind Powering America initiative, which is seeking to increase the use of wind energy in the United States.
- National Wind Coordinating Committee - Consisting of representatives from government, industry, environmental and advocacy groups, the committee works to promote the sustainable development of wind energy.