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Farmers and wind energy

Agriculture.com Staff Updated: 07/09/2010 @ 10:02am

Farmers share in the general public's interest in producing energy from the wind.  A few farmers may want to "get off the grid,” that is, rely on their own wind turbine to generate farm power and disconnect the power lines from the electric utility company.  Many see wind energy as a clean and environmentally friendly alternative to carbon based energy sources.  Most are probably interested in the income they can generate by owning wind turbines or leasing their land to a wind power company.   Most utility companies will now buy electrical power from persons with wind turbines.

A farmer interested in learning about wind energy opportunities can find information from state university extension programs on the world wide web.    http://www.extension.org/pages/Wind_Energy_for_Homeowners,_Farmers_and_Small_Businesses  Another source of information may be your local electrical utility company.   The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) web site has both references and educational materials. 

Industrial scale wind turbines may cost $50,000 and more.  They stand as much as 300 feet high and require extensive infrastructure and management.   Zoning and government permission are likely necessary.  Environmentalists, aviators, bird lovers and local residents may oppose wind towers.  Finally, if the wind does not blow adequately the costs of installation may never be covered.  Therefore, many farmers may elect to work with a power generating company and restrict their involvement to leasing a tower site.

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