Wind Energy Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is wind energy a growing industry?
A: Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing energy resources in the world. Wind energy has always been clean and renewable and, over the past 10 years, the cost of wind energy has dropped about 65%.

Q: How safe are wind turbines?
A: Wind energy is one of the safest energy technologies, with several built-in safety features.

Q: Are wind turbines noisy?
A: Wind turbines have moving parts, but the sound they make is virtually undetectable from a distance. In closer proximity, the detectable noise is recognized as a swooshing sound of the blades displacing air.

Q: Will a wind farm affect the value of my property?
A: Multiple studies have found wind farms have no significant long-term impacts on property values.

Q: Do wind turbines have any effect on our health?
A: No. Through proper siting, wind turbines are a safe and effective means of generating electricity.

Q: Why do some wind turbines spin, while others near them do not?
A: Variations in wind direction and speed can cause some turbines to spin while others nearby may be idle. Turbines may also be idled for maintenance or due to requirements of the electrical transmission system.

Q: How reliable is wind energy?
A: Constant analysis and monitoring of wind resources allow developers to accurately estimate when wind energy is available and how much energy will be produced, so energy can be reliably delivered to customers. Studies have shown that when a utility diversifies its power supply by adding wind energy, it can meet customer demand more reliably.

Q: What happens when the wind isn’t blowing?
A: When the wind is calm, the turbine is at rest. However, at the hub height of a utility-scale wind turbine – usually more than 200 feet above ground – on a site with good wind resources, it is rare for the wind to be totally still.

Q: Are there wind seasons?
A: Yes, but they vary by region. In the Midwest, it’s generally windier during the fall and winter. Each wind project has specific daily and seasonal variations.

Q: Do wind turbines operate in cold weather?
A: In areas that experience extreme cold, turbines are equipped with cold-weather packages that allow the turbine to operate in most conditions. Turbines do shut down automatically in sustained winds of about 55 mph or gusts of about 100 mph to prevent damage.

Q: How often do turbines require maintenance?
A: Wind turbines require preventative maintenance checkups approximately two to three times per year. There are also times when non scheduled maintenance is required or equipment must be repaired.

Q: What happens at the end of a wind farm’s useful life?
A: Decommissioning is the process of removing all wind turbines and returning the land to its original condition. In many cases, the site will be repowered with the latest wind turbine generator technology.

Q: Do wind turbines impact birds, bats and wildlife?
A: Wind energy is less harmful to wildlife than traditional energy sources. Diligent planning and a thorough siting process can avoid or significantly minimize potential impacts to wildlife.

Q: Can I still hunt on my land if I sign a lease agreement?
A: There are no restrictions for hunting or other activities that landowners have previously conducted. Employees are committed to ensuring safety at the project and they will coordinate with landowners to minimize concerns.

Q: Can I lease my land to a tenant farmer if I’m under lease with you? How does signing your lease restrict my land usage?
A: Your property can be leased to a tenant farmer. The key to avoid concerns is good coordination during construction-related activities for both the property owner and the tenant farmer. Compensation for any crop damage will be paid to the property owner, and the property owner can work directly with the tenant farmer to address concerns.

Q: Is wind energy more expensive to produce than other forms of energy production?
A: Wind energy has become one of the lowest-cost methods for producing energy. The federal government provides a production tax credit (PTC) to support investment in wind generation that correlates to further reducing the cost of energy for customers.