Viability of Small Wind Distributed Generation for Farmers Who Irrigate (Poster)

Research output: NRELPoster


About 14% of U.S. farms are irrigated, representing 55 million acres of irrigated land. Irrigation on these farms is a major energy user in the United States, accounting for one-third of water withdrawals and 137 billion gallons per day. More than half of the Irrigation systems use electric energy. Wind energy can be a good choice for meeting irrigation energy needs. Nine of the top 10 irrigationstates (California, Texas, Idaho, Arkansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Arizona, Kansas, Washington, and Oregon) have good to excellent wind resources. Many rural areas have sufficient wind speeds to make wind an attractive alternative, and farms and ranches can often install a wind energy system without impacting their ability to plant crops and graze livestock. Additionally, the rising and uncertainfuture costs of diesel, natural gas, and even electricity increase the potential effectiveness for wind energy and its predictable and competitive cost. In general, wind-powered electric generation systems generate more energy in the winter months than in the summer months when most crops need the water. Therefore, those states that have a supportive net metering policy can dramatically impactthe viability of an onsite wind turbine. This poster presentation highlights case studies that show favorable and unfavorable policies that impact the growth of small wind in this important sector and demonstrate how net metering policies affect the viability of distributed wind generation for farmers who irrigate.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages1
StatePublished - 2010

Publication series

NamePresented at the WINDPOWER 2010 Conference and Exhibition, 26 May 2010, Dallas, Texas

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-7A2-47971


  • distributed wind
  • irrigation
  • wind energy
  • wind turbine


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