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Region’s Residents Can Harness Wind Power on their Property

092004wind_dl.jpgBOONE–New wind energy maps for Western North Carolina show that all 24 western counties have good wind resources for producing electricity, according to the N.C. Small Wind Initiative (NCSWI), a new public service program sponsored by Appalachian State University’s Department of Technology, U.S. Department of Energy and the NC State Energy Office.

Nearly three quarters of a million acres, or 12 percent, of the region’s land area has wind resources adequate for electricity production with residential-scale wind systems. The top five counties for windy land area are Haywood, Watauga, Buncombe, Ashe and Avery counties. NCSWI has organized four workshops on small or residential scale wind energy production beginning Saturday, Sept. 25, to help those interested in learning more about this renewable energy resource.

“With the excellent wind resources we have in the southern Appalachians, electricity can be produced for as little as 3 cents per kilowatt hour,” says Dr. Dennis Scanlin, a wind researcher at Appalachian.

” Wind turbines have very low operating costs, are impervious to fuel hikes, offer stable prices and can help us reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels. The use of wind energy will help us develop a cleaner, more sustainable world for our children and generations to come.”

NCSWI recently identified 16,000 property owners in Western North Carolina who own land with good wind resources and sent them a postcard with contact information describing where they can go to learn more about harnessing wind power.

The information is based on maps prepared by Appalachian researchers using data on estimated annual wind speeds collected by TrueWinds Solutions. TrueWind Solutions is the world’s leader in the development and application of advanced atmospheric simulation models for wind energy mapping and forecasting.

A map of each county’s wind energy potential is available at the following web site:

Facts about wind energy include:

Recent surveys indicate that 75 percent of Western North Carolinians favor wind energy development.

Fifteen to 19 jobs and about 60 person-years of employment are created with each megawatt of new wind capacity. The U.S. wind industry directly employs more than 2,000 people.

Wind energy can diversify the economies of rural communities, adding to the tax base and providing new types of income.

Investing in wind energy can reduce the harmful effects of air pollution from power plants that burn fossil fuels.

Unlike “cheap” energy sources that have hidden costs, such as coal, oil and natural gas, wind power has no hidden costs. Wind power also becomes more cost-effective with each new round of technological advancements.

Wind energy is renewable.

Wind energy currently represents .3 percent of the U.S. electrical production, but the goal of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America program is to see wind power produce 6 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2020.

To help residents learn more about small wind turbines, NCSWI will offer a one-day Introduction to Wind Power Workshop on Saturday, Sept. 25, and again Saturday, Oct. 16. The workshop will cover how wind turbines work, wind turbine technology, products currently available, how to estimate annual energy outputs, costs and paybacks, utility interconnection and case studies.

A more advanced, weeklong workshop called Hands-On Wind Turbine Installation will be held Sept. 27-Oct. 1 and again Oct. 18-21.

All workshops will be held on the Appalachian campus, as well as at NCSWI’s research and demonstration site atop Beech Mountain. For cost information and to register, visit or call Appalachian’s Office of Conferences and Institutes at (828) 262-3045.

More information about North Carolina’s wind energy projects and research is available at, e-mail at, or (828) 262-7333.