Americans are increasingly installing wind turbines near their homes, farms, and businesses to generate electricity for their own use, a form of wind power called distributed wind energy. Between 2003 and 2013, for example, 68% of all wind turbines installed in the U.S. were for distributed wind power rather than centralized wind farms. These 69,000 turbines have a combined rating of 812 MW, according to the recently released 2012 Market Report on Wind Technologies in Distributed Applications. The report also found that although 50% fewer distributed wind turbines were installed in 2012 compared to 2011, the total power they could produce jumped 62%, climbing to 175 MW.
Who installs wind turbines is just as important as how much wind power is used. Despite the surge in distributed wind power, large centralized wind farms that sell power to corporations or industries still dominate the market.
Photo courtesy of Vergnet, via NREL