Community-Scale & Distributed Wind

External Resources

Wind energy holds many economic and environmental benefits. There are a number of great informational resources on the web beyond what is presented on this site. Here are some key sources.

Our Wind Cooperative - Peshastin, WA

Distributed wind is broadly defined as a wind energy project that is connected to the electrical distribution grid and serves a local electric load on that distribution grid. The project is not directly connected to a substation and does not send electricity over transmission lines to remote loads. Community wind includes both smale-scale distributed wind applications and larger-scale applications where electricity is sold over the transmission grid. The distinguishing feature of community wind projects is that one or more local community members receive the majority of the economic benefits of the project, beyond land lease payments. 

Distributed and community wind applications have significant potential to provide direct local and economic benefits to communities.  These projects are typically structured to support local investors who retain the majority of profits from power sales.  Because of the local investment dollars, a community wind project can be a useful tool to foster public acceptance for wind turbines in general and to gauge the potential for larger scale development.  In addition, distributed generation that provides power close to the source of demand may help to stabilize the electric grid and delay the need to construct new transmission lines.

The Northwest Wind Center's Distributed and Community Wind Working Group includes community and small wind advocates, financial institutions, community wind project owners and developers, and manufacturers of wind turbines for distributed applications.  The committee will work to achieve the following objectives:

  • Wind-friendly zoning and permitting practices are in place in jurisdictions with high distributed/community wind potential;
  • Access to capital is no longer a primary barrier to distributed/community wind development;
  • Proposed community wind projects in the region have access to the best available information and tools during the project development phase.

The Distributed and Community Wind Working Group is led by Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (Northwest SEED).  For more information on issues involving distributed and community wind, please contact Northwest SEED.

Community Wind Case Studies

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The Northwest Wind Resource and Action Center was formed with initial funding from the US Department of Energy through WINDExchange.

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