Recent growth in the renewable energy industry has largely been driven by government support for alternative energy. Wind power in the United States is the second largest source of renewable energy, and has been heavily subsidized by state and federal government. There has also been an increasing interest in small scale environmental community projects, and this trend is expected to continue. Currently, there are 2 terawatt hours (TWh) of potential energy capacity through small- and micro-wind projects throughout the United States. Increased development of micro-wind energy could significantly impact America’s non-hydropower renewable energy generation. Micro-wind, the utilization of the flow of wind energy to produce electricity for a house, farm or other non-utility scale generation can be regulated at the federal level, as well as at the state and local/community level. We examine two cases of micro-wind energy production to explore the regulatory impediments these smaller projects face. We find that the level of complexity of the regulatory framework is discouraging for innovation and development, and that the benefits of installing energy-generation are often outweighed by the cost of implementation.
Part of the book: Microgrids and Local Energy Systems