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Wind energy has gained tremendous momentum throughout the renewable energy industry in the United States. Over the past decade, U.S. wind power has become the largest source of renewable energy in the country. As the industry continues to grow, more companies are discovering the benefits of investing in wind power.
There are numerous ways you can get started in wind energy investment, and an investment’s structure and benefits will differ from project to project.
Let’s say you’re investing in turbine manufacturing. To understand the main benefit of this investment, you may wonder, “How long does it take for a commercial wind turbine to pay itself off?”
According to a journal from Inderscience Publishers, a 2-megawatt turbine with a working life of 20 years will bring an investor a net benefit after operating for five to eight months.
Because each project promises different benefits, the best way to plan your investment is to examine various wind projects that are currently available to understand the environmental and economic benefits.
Keep reading to learn more about several common wind energy projects, so you can plan your investment.
One type of wind energy investment to consider investing in is distributed wind systems. These systems are commonly installed on residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural sites.
Distributed wind systems vary in size, depending on the project site. For example, a distributed wind system located at a residential home can have a 5-kilowatt turbine. A larger-scale distributed wind system turbine can be located at an industrial site. Regardless, most distributed wind systems are no larger than 20 megawatts.
The main purpose of distributed wind systems is to either meet a site’s load or offset large energy loads near the site. So, a smaller turbine at a house can meet load needs, while a larger turbine can offset a manufacturing facility’s load.
Offshore wind projects refer to wind farms that are constructed in bodies of water off the coast of the United States. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management or BOEM began its renewable energy program in 2009. This program includes offshore wind and other energy projects located on the outer continental shelf.
Typically, offshore wind farms are located close to major coastal load centers. Thanks to this proximity, offshore wind farms provide an energy alternative to land-constrained regions.
The energy provided by these offshore projects is abundant. According to the BOEM, offshore winds “blow harder and more uniformly than on land.” This wind consistency is a major benefit, as it better ensures these projects generate consistent energy once in operation.
When picturing a wind energy project, you’ll likely envision a wind farm. The American Wind Energy Association defines a wind farm as a “large number of turbines built close together.”
The main difference between one wind farm and another is the turbine size. For example, a utility-scale wind turbine ranges from 100 kilowatts to several megawatts.
The size of a wind farm’s turbines will depend on the project site. So, when siting a project, you’re looking for large, open spaces that can fit numerous wind turbines. With more available space, a wind farm project can easily install multiple utility-scale wind turbines.
Want to learn more about wind energy investment opportunities?