Wind farms are becoming more efficient at generating electricity. However, even wind still has its limitations. Backup generating resources are still necessary because the wind doesn't blow 24-hours a day. As technology evolves, however, wind has the ability to play an important role in the electric generation once the energy can be captured and stored in an economical manner. Due to the growing interest in consumer-owned wind generation, MiEnergy feels obligated to bring some important considerations to the attention of our membership. 

Plan ahead before making your investment. If you are interested in installing a wind generator for the purpose of selling electricity back the cooperative, you will need to review detailed plans with our staff. Interconnection with utility lines requires considerable planning and will involve additional equipment and metering. Any device that introduces electric energy onto the cooperative's power lines must be interconnected in a way that does not pose an electrocution hazard to our employees. Read more »

Do your research. The power in the wind varies greatly from one location to another. Although it seems like the wind is always blowing, there are many things to consider, such as the terrain, the site’s elevation, any buildings or natural obstructions, access to prevailing winds and wind speed. Speed is the most important factor, and wind speed will vary from year-to-year, season-to-season, with the time of day, and also with the height of the turbine. Wind turbines require a minimum wind speed before the blades will turn and begin to generate usable power. At very high wind speeds, most turbines will cease generation and shut down. This cutout speed is a safety feature that protects the unit from damage. Wind turbines are a large investment. Before purchasing a turbine, it is suggested that a wind study be done at the location where the turbine would be installed. Wind maps are available to the public, but these are more of an average for the area and are not always accurate.

The following websites contain important information regarding wind generation:

MN Department of Commerce »

US DOE Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy »

US DOE Wind Energy Program »

National Renewable Energy Laboratory »

Download article by Cooperative Research Network »

Other options

If you have considered installing renewable energy to power your home, but are not comfortable with the long-term investment, Evergreen is a great alternative. Evergreen is a renewable energy program available for homes, farms or businesses.

Learn more about Evergreen »