New Resources Spotlight Distributed Wind Energy’s Local Value

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USDA Partnership, National Network, and Information Hub Support Timeliness of On-Site Wind Energy Deployment

The renewable energy spotlight is turning toward distributed wind.

Increased reliability and affordability, combined with funding and incentives provided by the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, have given rise to an unprecedented opportunity for distributed wind energy deployment.

Making it easier for businesses, farmers, homeowners, and communities to turn this opportunity into on-site energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has launched the new National Distributed Wind Network and complementary Distributed Wind Energy Resource Hub.

Created in collaboration with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO), these resources are designed to provide people interested in installing distributed wind turbines the information, tools, and connections they need to generate their electricity near where it will be used.

“The National Distributed Wind Network and Distributed Wind Energy Resource Hub will help a broad range of Americans understand and make use of the potential of distributed wind power,” said Suzanne MacDonald, an NREL wind researcher who led the creation of the network.

National Network Invites Collaboration

Launched by NREL in partnership with PNNL, the National Distributed Wind Network is an inclusive convening place for U.S. distributed wind stakeholders to collaborate with and learn from peers and leading experts on issues that matter to them.

“By offering extensive informational resources about distributed wind, the network will help farmers, municipalities, homeowners, and business owners navigate their decision-making around distributed wind—with the ultimate goal of increasing the successful deployment of distributed wind turbines across the country,” MacDonald said.

An initial focus of the National Distributed Wind Network will be to support the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and DOE’s new Rural and Agricultural Income & Savings from Renewable Energy (RAISE) Initiative, which is focused on helping farmers cut costs and increase income from clean energy. Through RAISE, USDA has set an initial goal of helping 400 individual farmers deploy smaller-scale wind projects using USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program funding.

The National Distributed Wind Network represents a trusted source for:

  • Fact-based resources and tools
  • Support and inspiration for distributed wind installation efforts
  • Details on in-person and virtual events.

The network is informed and overseen by a diverse 17-person advisory board that comprises national wind energy experts and representatives from multiple industry sectors, state and local entities, and electric cooperatives.

“WETO has made significant investments over the past 10 years to support research that has made distributed wind energy technology more reliable, cost competitive, and compatible with other sources of power,” MacDonald said. “The National Distributed Wind Network will allow us to highlight these improvements along with a range of informational resources and tools to help people understand the potential for distributed wind to add value locally. The RAISE initiative will also allow us to provide tailored support to farmers, in partnership with USDA.”

MacDonald said that launching the National Distributed Wind Network is just the start.

“We plan to add offerings, such as technical assistance and local engagement opportunities, in the coming months,” she said.

Learn more about the National Distributed Wind Network during a one-hour webinar on

March 14, 2024, at 11 a.m. MT. Register to attend.

Hub Centralizes Distributed Wind Resources

A primary feature of the National Distributed Wind Network is the Distributed Wind Energy Resource Hub. Another NREL/PNNL collaboration, the resource hub is hosted on WETO’s WINDExchange community resource platform and includes:

  • General information about distributed wind energy
  • Project funding and technical assistance opportunities
  • Case studies of successful distributed wind energy projects
  • Models, tools, and toolkits to help users assess their location for distributed wind energy.

“Designed for anyone interested in harnessing the power of distributed wind energy, the resource hub offers a directory of objective, fact-based distributed wind energy information and related resources,” said Ruth Baranowski, an NREL wind energy researcher who helped develop the Distributed Wind Energy Resource Hub.

The Distributed Wind Energy Resource Hub builds on years of WETO-funded efforts by NREL and PNNL to provide useful information about distributed wind energy to industry, researchers, and the public.

“Both NREL and PNNL have been developing, gathering, and disseminating useful distributed wind information for years,” Baranowski said. “Now, anyone who is interested in investing in or deploying distributed wind energy can visit the resource hub on WINDExchange to access this information in one centralized location.”

NREL encourages interested participants to register for the virtual National Distributed Wind Network Webinar in advance.

Learn more about NREL’s distributed wind energy research, and be sure to subscribe to NREL’s wind energy newsletter for more news like this.

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