Wind Power: Economic Growth for Rural America

Tim Hemphill, Milford IA: Since leasing land to EDP Renewables over three years ago, Tim’s farm has found a new cash crop. And while his corn and soybean crops are seasonal, the wind blows year-round, providing Tim steady income throughout the year.

Nancy Carter, Director of Nursing, Milford Memorial Hospital, UT: Until recently, Milford had the oldest operating medical facility in the state of Utah. Then a new 200-megawatt wind farm helped provide the resources for an $8 million hospital renovation. The wind project provided an economic boost to the community, creating significant financial resources to help make the envisioned healthcare facility a reality.

Wind Power: A New Cash Crop

Landowners can realize lease payments of up to $120,000 over a twenty-year period for each wind turbine installed on their property. The payment continues even in years when farm income would otherwise decline due to factors such as low yields or low commodity prices.

  • Agricultural producers can continue to farm on the majority of their land, up to and around the turbine base and access roads, since the permanent disturbed area for most wind farms is less than 5% of the total wind project acreage.

Contributing to a Healthy Rural Economy

Wind energy brings taxes and other revenues for rural communities – benefiting county and local services including schools, health care facilities, and roads.

  • Wind farm manufacturing, operation and construction provide jobs, 75,000 American jobs today and the promise of 500,000 jobs less than 20 years from now. In areas with wind farm development, economic activity increases, especially during construction, with the influx of workers eating at local cafes, renting offices and spending money within the community.

Saving Water for Agricultural and Municipal Use

Compared with conventional thermal electric power generation, which uses substantial amounts of water for cooling, wind generation does not consume water. Currently, 25% of all non-agricultural fresh water consumption in the United States is used in the energy sector and wind can play a significant role in reducing the stress imposed by power plant water consumption.

Made in America
Wind power is a rapidly increasing source of economic growth, creating new manufacturing, construction and operation jobs.

  • The wind industry has been a source for brand new manufacturing jobs in the U.S. with more than 400 manufacturing facilities in the U.S. across 43 states making components for wind turbines.
  • Since 2005, the domestic content in American wind turbines has grown 12-fold from less than 25% domestic content to 60% domestic content of wind turbines, continuing to bring new manufacturing jobs to America.

Harvesting the Wind

More than 98% of wind projects are located on private land leased from the landowner. Typically, a landowner signs a contract granting the developer the right to use his/her land and the wind above it for wind development, receiving compensation from the developer in the form of lease payments.
A landowner’s annual income from a single 1.5-MW wind turbine can range up to $6,000 per year depending upon how much electricity is generated.

Driving More Wind Development in Rural America

The Production Tax Credit (PTC) has spurred wind development across the nation, leverage more than $70 billion in wind project investment since 2005. Continued growth and investment in rural American by the wind industry will depend on the certainty and signal sent by policymakers.
A swift extension of the PTC to encourage wind developers to invest in America will not only bring rural communities a source of steady income, but it will help the U.S. continue to establish an entire new American manufacturing base to build wind turbine components.

Estimated Annual Impacts of Existing Wind:
Land Lease Payments and Property TaxesU.S. Total: $411 million
Arizona $1.2 mil Nebraska $1.9 mil
California $28.5 mil New Mexico $9 mil
Colorado $11 mil New York $14 mil
Hawaii $900k North Dakota $8 mil
Idaho $3.1 mil Oklahoma $14 mil
Illinois $21 mil Oregon $18 mil
Indiana $25 mil Pennsylvania $3.5 mil
Iowa $27.5 mil South Dakota $5.5 mil
Kansas $6 mil Texas $140 mil
Maine $4.8 mil Utah $3.1 mil
Michigan $3.5 mil Washington $20 mil
Minnesota $13 mil West Virginia $1.9 mil
Missouri $3.8 mil Wisconsin $2.3 mil
Montana $6.6 mil Wyoming $14.5 mil


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Update March 2009

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