Wind is a renewable resource because there is a limitless supply that is naturally produced. That makes it a great candidate to provide clean, non-polluting electricity that businesses can use. Companies that seek to become more environmentally friendly in their operations are increasingly using wind power. Many companies receive federal and state incentives for generating wind energy.
Wind energy is one of the fastest growing energy technologies in the world with an annual growth rate of more than 30 percent. The U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management has approved large-scale wind energy projects in seven western states.
Production of Wind Energy
Wind power is generated when the wind causes two or three propeller-like blades to rotate around a rotor. This action spins a generator that supplies an electric current to make electricity. The unit is known as a wind turbine.
In a large-scale setup, wind turbines are organized in groups that produce electricity in a wind farm. Electricity generated from wind turbines can power schools and businesses. Small-scale turbines generate enough energy to power homes. Accessing wind energy requires locations with good wind speeds. More power is generated with strong winds of at least 13 miles per hour. There are locations throughout the United States that are suitable for good wind energy production.
If you are looking to use or generate wind technology for your company, consider the size of your company, its location and your business goals. If you are a small company that doesn’t use much electricity, it may make sense to tap into your local wind energy provider. If you are a large corporation with land available, the investment in manufacturing your own energy source may be worth it.
Incentives for Businesses to Use Wind Energy
Companies interested in using or generating wind energy can take advantage of several tax incentives and rebates. On the federal level, the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit allows a federal tax deduction of 30 percent of the cost of installing a wind energy system.
States offer their own rates, grants, loans and incentives to businesses using or manufacturing wind energy. For example, Nevada offers rebates of up to $0.043 per kilowatt hour to certain companies installing wind systems. The State of Pennsylvania offers $6 million in loans and grants for wind energy projects. Arizona offers property tax reductions to businesses that use their land to manufacture wind energy.
Because of the wide variation in requirements, business owners should investigate what their state offers. The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center maintains an online database that aggregates the information. Keep in mind that not all states offer incentives to companies to use or generate wind power.
Benefits of Wind Energy
There are many benefits to wind energy other than it being a free, renewable resource. It is also an eco-friendly alternative because it creates little to no pollution during power generation. It can even offset emissions of other pollutants that would have been produced in its place. Being environmentally sound is a goal of many companies.
Wind power creates new job opportunities when wind farms hire people to set up and maintain the turbines. This creates jobs in manufacturing, installation, maintenance and support services. If you want to manufacture wind energy on a large scale, you will create hundreds of new jobs.
Wind energy is one of the lowest-priced energy resources currently available, and it could potentially save your company a significant amount of money in the long term. As a sustainable resource, wind only needs the sun and the Earth’s rotation to appear. Minimal operating expenses are associated with wind power, especially since wind turbines can be built on existing land.
Downsides of Wind Energy
One of the major disadvantages of wind power is the constancy factor. The strength of the wind is variable, from nonexistent when there is no wind blowing to maximum force when there is a storm. Good wind sites may be in remote locations, far from areas with high electric demands. This may not be a risk you are willing to take for your company, depending on where you’re located.
While lower in cost in the long-term, wind energy has a higher initial investment because the turbines and machinery are expensive to build and install. Wind turbines can also be noisy and hamper the visual impact of a landscape. Bats and birds can also be harmed or killed by wind turbines.
When deciding whether wind energy is the best way to go for your business, take time to do your research and decide accordingly.
- U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management: Wind Energy
- Wind Energy Development Programmatic EIS: Wind Energy Basics
- Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Advantages and Challenges of Wind Energy
- U.S. Department of Energy: Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
- NC Clean Energy Technology Center: NV Energy RenewableGenerations Rebate Program
- NC Clean Energy Technology Center: Wind and Geothermal Incentives Program
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images