Wind turbines can generate clean, renewable power in rural locations that are very windy. Energy Trust of Oregon does not currently recommend small wind turbines for most locations in Portland General Electric and Pacific Power service territories.
Challenges in Oregon’s Small Wind Power Markets
Wind turbines can produce considerable electricity when sited in areas that have a significant wind resource. Wind power remains an important renewable energy resource and technology in Oregon. This is especially true for large, utility-scale turbines such as those near the Columbia Gorge. In the past, Energy Trust has provided incentives for small-scale wind turbines that ranged in size from 1 kilowatt to 100 kW. Based on years of experience and research, Energy Trust no longer provides incentives for small-scale wind projects due to several factors:
|Limited Resource||Locations with high wind energy potential are very limited within Portland General Electric and Pacific Power service territories.|
|Turbine Manufacturer Reliability||Small wind turbine manufacturers have gone out business in recent years, affecting customers’ access to warranties and replacement parts, in Oregon and nationwide. The overall health of remaining turbine companies are uncertain at this point in time.|
|Operations and Maintenance Cost||Regular maintenance of small turbines is necessary and not easily accessible due to the height of the turbine and the number of moving parts associated with the system. Equipment failure can often occur and servicing can be costly as there are few qualified repair personnel in Oregon to work on small turbines.|
|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 when 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 the current market conditions for small wind projects in Oregon, individuals and organizations are encouraged to consider other options, such as solar. Declining costs for solar, combined with its large, well-established market of professional solar contractors, generally make solar a more sound investment. Learn more about solar.
At this time, Energy Trust only considers offering incentives for community-scale installations, which include utility-grade wind turbines ranging in size from 1 megawatt to 20 MW, developed by municipalities or other governmental entities, and in Portland General Electric and Pacific Power territory in Oregon or wheeling power to those utilities.
Please contact Dave Moldal at 503.445.2476 to determine your eligibility.