Wind Energy Manual

Wind Energy Overview

Wind energy has become one of today’s lower cost renewable energy technologies. Wind turbines are becoming a more common sight in Iowa, with a number of turbines and large wind farms in the northeast part of the state.

Most people are unaware of their practicality and improved reliability. Some Iowa utilities have begun testing programs for advanced wind turbine designs that perform more efficiently in the state’s moderate wind conditions. However, despite wind energy’s long history and non-polluting qualities, concerns and questions about the technology and its use still exist. Some commonly asked questions are:

  • Are Iowa’s winds strong enough to make wind turbines practical?
  • Are wind energy costs competitive with conventional energy sources?
  • Are communities willing to have wind turbines nearby?

These and similar questions face the prospective wind turbine owner and are addressed in the Technology and Issues sections of this site.

This site includes information on both large and small electricity-generating wind systems:

  • Small systems are typically those sized for residential, agricultural and small commercial use with an electricity-generating capacity of less than 100 kilowatts.
  • Large systems, sized for industrial operations and utility companies, produce more than 100 kilowatts. An example of a large system is a “wind farm.” A wind farm is a concentrated cluster of wind turbines.