With depleting natural resources and an increase in environmental consciousness around the globe, wind farms are gaining popularity as an energy resource. Wind farms have multiple windmills or wind turbines placed in one location to generate electricity from their rotating panels powered by the wind. Wind energy harnessed from wind farms has many advantages--it is clean, renewable and though it requires a high initial investment, it continues to generate free energy using the natural power of the wind. Since even a small wind turbine is expensive, starting a wind farm requires some research and careful planning.
Develop a business plan. Determine how much money would be required to invest and maintain a wind farm and what type of business model would be best suited for you. If you have sufficient funds, then you can start your wind farm with a small turbine and sell the electricity generated to a local power company. But if you don’t have the money to buy wind turbines, you can lease the land to a wind developer who can start a wind farm and share part of the profits with you. Another alternative may be to involve the local community to invest in the wind farm.
Choose an appropriate location. Check the average wind speed in your proposed area by referring to wind resource maps and information on wind speeds by zip code that are available on most state energy department websites. For wind farms, an annual average wind speed of 11 miles per hour or more is required to power the turbines. Besides wind speed, consider other factors such as access to power lines and environmental or community impact.
Research local laws and obtain necessary permits. Each state may have its own rules and zoning laws, so it’s best to check with local officials about obtaining a permit to start a wind farm. Though many states and federal governments provide incentives for developing wind farms in the form of tax credits, at times there are restrictions on building wind farms due to air traffic safety, noise, aesthetics and property values.
Buy wind turbines for your farm from a certified energy company. Once you have the necessary permits, purchase wind turbines based on your budget and the type of wind farm you want to start. Again, state laws may govern the type, height, number and quality of wind turbines so this must be considered before purchasing them.
Build power transmission lines or partner with a local company. If you have a large wind farm, then you can set up your own power lines that carry electricity from your wind farm to your customers. Small wind farms usually partner with local power distribution companies that sell the electricity through their own power grid.
- Wind turbines on a wind field, Sagres, Portugal. image by inacio pires from Fotolia.com