C. P. Van Dam, Henry Shiu, Scott Johnson, and Scott Larwood
Wind power can reliably and economically provide electricity to farms and other food processing applications. Wind turbines are available in a wide range of sizes, from under 1 kW to more than 3 MW of capacity. A farmer can invest in wind power in a number of ways: 1) land leasing to a wind plant developer, in which the farmer receives royalties for wind turbines installed on his land; 2) direct ownership of a wind turbine, in which the farmer buys a wind turbine and consumes the electricity it generates, reducing the amount of energy purchased from other sources; and 3) through a power purchase agreement, in which the farmer contracts to a third party, which owns, installs, and operates a wind turbine on the farmer's land, selling the wind-generated electricity back to the farmer at a mutually beneficial rate. Prospective investors/owners should make a careful economic assessment, weighing factors including resource availability (i.e., windiness), permitting requirements, and eligibility for incentive programs (e.g., rebates, tax benefits, and grants).