Turning Wind into Power
Humans have been harvesting the wind for energy for hundreds of years. In the United States, wind is the fastest growing form of renewable energy and according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, it expanded 34.5% in the first few months of 2009 alone.
There are a variety of ways farmers and ranchers are utilizing wind energy technology. Many are using small turbines to meet their own 'on-farm' energy needs, while others are leasing tracks of land to power companies, for larger-scale wind projects. Some landowners have partnered with their neighbors and initiated cooperatively-owned wind projects, often called co-ops.
Wind energy is great example of how farmers are utilizing their land and environment to develop clean energy and fight climate change. Many states are even buying back the excess energy produced by these projects, in a sense, turning the farm's energy meters backwards.
Are you a farmer or rancher? In the links below you will find websites that help you determine how your operation can benefit from wind energy and how you can take advantage of state and federal incentives for clean energy.
Wind energy is among a variety of current opportunities for producers to provide eco-benefits while cutting costs. Couple that with compensation from energy/climate change legislation and there are real economic benefits available for America's farmers and ranchers. Agriculture can and will play an important role in the emerging green economy.