A new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) report on wind energy shows distributed wind energy—wind turbines that provide power for nearby consumers—is expanding across the nation, benefiting a wide range of organizations and communities, from large corporations to remote villages.
The latest edition of DOE’s Distributed Wind Market Report finds that all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have installed a combined 1,075 megawatts (MW) of distributed wind. While this is a fraction of the enormous potential for distributed wind energy, we wanted to highlight a few places you’ll find it today.
Maybe you associate beer with a relaxing summer breeze as opposed to wind energy, but now you can associate it with both. California’s Anhueser-Busch plant uses an 80-meter wind turbine named Bud Light and a 91-meter wind turbine named Budweiser to help power its brewery, together providing 4.1 MW of capacity. Both turbines—and a 7-acre solar array—provide 30% of the plant’s electrical needs so it can produce around 33,000 cases of beer per day.
Method cleaning supplies
Washing our hands has never been more important, and Chicago-based Method has met demand by producing 250,000 units of biodegradable soap every day. What’s more: The company combined cleanliness and clean energy by throwing a wind turbine into the mix. About half of Method’s eco-friendly facility is powered by a refurbished 600-kilowatt (kW) wind turbine. Soap has never been cleaner!
Pitka’s Point, a remote Alaskan village
A research team from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories published a study earlier this year highlighting the economic and climate benefits that wind energy provides to three remote, rural Alaskan villages: St. Mary’s, Pitka’s Point, and Mountain Village. In 2019, Alaska Village Electric Cooperative installed a 900-kW wind turbine in Pitka’s Point, partially funded through a 2016 DOE Office of Indian Energy Grant. This turbine serves all three villages and could save $5.3 million in diesel costs over its lifetime. The study makes a powerful case for the potential benefits distributed wind could offer other rural and underserved populations.
Is Distributed Wind Right for You?
The Distributed Wind Energy Futures Study identifies locations across the United States with high potential for distributed wind energy projects. It can serve as a resource for any company or community interested in learning if distributed wind can help them lower energy costs and transition to clean energy. The study was funded by DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO).
Check out WETO’s Distributed Wind Photo Gallery for case studies and more examples of distributed wind’s diversity.