The National Renewable Energy Laboratory published Assessment of the Economic Potential of Distributed Wind in Colorado, Minnesota, and New York, which identifies current and future economic potential for behind-the-meter distributed wind energy systems serving primarily rural or suburban homes, farms, and manufacturing facilities in three states that expect to see continued growth in distributed wind—Colorado, Minnesota, and New York. Counties within each state that were found to have high economic potential for distributed wind had several characteristics in common: modest to good wind resource quality, significant load, favorable rate structures, and sufficient spatial patterns to enable siting of distributed wind turbines.
Some of these areas include Colorado's Front Range urban corridor; counties with high population centers such as St. Cloud, Duluth, and the Twin Cities in Minnesota; and Long Island, White Plains, and Buffalo in New York. These findings demonstrate that while distributed wind is not economic everywhere, certain market segments show clear growth potential, particularly for agricultural, commercial, and industrial end users. The visualizations of spatial trends included in the report can help policymakers and the distributed wind industry identify the areas of greatest potential within the three states and the potential costs and benefits of various policy or government interventions.