Challenges in Oregon’s Small Wind Power Markets
Wind power remains an important renewable energy resource, particularly for large, utility-scale turbines such as those near the Columbia Gorge. Based on years of experience and research, Energy Trust no longer provides incentives for small-scale wind projects due to several factors:
|Locations with high wind energy potential are very limited within Portland General Electric and Pacific Power service areas.
|Turbine Manufacturer Reliability
|Small wind turbine manufacturers have gone out of business, affecting customers’ access to warranties and replacement parts, in Oregon and nationwide. The overall health of remaining turbine companies is uncertain.
|Operations and Maintenance Cost
|Regular maintenance of small turbines is necessary and difficult due to the height of the turbine and the number of moving parts associated with the system. Equipment failure can occur and servicing is costly, with few qualified repair personnel in Oregon and the scarcity of new parts.
|Variable Power Generation
|Small wind generation estimates rely on wind maps. Actual power generation can vary significantly from estimates.
|Overall Performance and Cost
|Small wind turbine prices have not declined compared to solar panels. Small wind turbines tend to produce less energy and are less reliable than a similarly priced solar electric system.
Based on these market conditions, individuals and organizations are encouraged to consider other options, like solar. Declining costs and a large, well-established market of professional solar contractors generally make solar a better investment. Learn more about solar.