Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is wind energy?
Wind energy is an emission-free, clean, renewable, and endless source of electricity. State-of-the-art wind turbines convert the kinetic energy of the wind to electric energy, which is harnessed by turning a rotor like a pinwheel, and delivered directly to the power grid.
2. Why choose wind energy?
Power plants are the nation’s largest source of air pollution. When fossil fuels like coal, gas or oil are burned to generate energy they emit carbon dioxide (CO₂), one of the leading contributors to global warming, along with other harmful pollutants such as nitrous oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO₂) and mercury (Hg). Purchasing emission-free wind energy allows wind farms to operate cost-effectively and adds more clean energy to the power grid, therefore displacing the need to conventional energy sources.
3. What are the environmental benefits of wind energy?
Wind energy is entirely fuel free. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an average household uses 750 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity each month. Offsetting this with a wind energy purchase prevents the release of over six tons of CO₂ each year*.
*Emissions factors are weighted averages for CEI’s national wind supply purchases in 2004 and 2005 and compared to the US EPA EGRID data for the NERC region averages of the wind farms under contract with CEI.
4. What are other advantages of wind energy?
Purchasing wind energy directly supports the development of future wind farm projects along with the environmental and economic benefits they facilitate. Wind farms create jobs and boost local economies in the form of lease payments to landowners for hosting turbines on their property, and in the form of tax revenues to the local government. These dollars support the development of schools, police and fire stations, and are used for repairs to infrastructure and general municipal needs. Because wind is an inexhaustible energy source, wind farms play an important role in strengthening our energy security and promoting energy our nation’s energy independence.
5. Why does wind energy cost more?
Currently, the cost of generating wind power is more expensive than fossil fuel power plants. The cost and installation of the technologies required to harness wind power necessitate a higher price per kilowatt hour (kWh). However, wind energy is becoming more competitively priced as more wind farms are developed. Costs have fallen from 40 cents/kWh in the 1980’s to under 10 cents/kWh today for national RECs.
6. Do wind farms have a negative impact on birds?
Wind farms account for a remarkably low percentage of the total avian mortalities attributed to human behavior. Nationwide, studies show that properly-sited wind farms will cause 1-2 bird deaths per year per turbine. Statistically speaking, wind turbines account for only one out of every ten thousand bird deaths caused by human actions (vehicles, pesticides, buildings, and housecats are all responsible for far greater numbers). Before a site is approved for wind farm construction, scientists monitor bird migratory, nesting, mating and feeding patterns to ensure the project will not interfere with local avian populations. In addition, modern wind turbines are designed to minimize the likelihood of birds or bats colliding with the blades.