Introduction to Wind Power

Wind energy is a source of renewable power which comes from air current flowing across the earth's surface. Wind turbines harvest this kinetic energy and convert it into usable power which can provide electricity for home, farm, school or business applications on small (residential), medium (community), or large (utility) scales.

Wind energy is one of the fastest growing sources of new electricity generation in the world today. These growth trends can be linked to the multi-dimensional benefits associated with wind energy.

  • Green Power: The electricity produced from wind power is said to be "clean" because its generation produces no pollution or greenhouse gases. As both health and environmental concerns are on the rise, clean energy sources are a growing demand.
  • Sustainable: Wind is a renewable energy resource, it is inexhaustible and requires no "fuel" besides the wind that blows across the earth. This infinite energy supply is a security that many users view as a stable investment in our energy economy as well as in our children's' future.
  • Affordable: Wind power is a cost-competitive source of electricity, largely due to technological advancements, as well as economies of scale as more of these machines are manufactured and put online around the world.
  • Economic Development: As well as being affordable, wind power is a locally-produced source of electricity that enables communities to keep energy dollars in their economy. Job creation (manufacturing, service, construction, and operation) and tax base increase are other economic development benefits for communities utilizing wind energy.

North Carolina's wind resources are mainly located along the coastal and mountain regions of the state and are an excellent opportunity for local energy supply. Please see the NC Wind Maps for more details on wind resources at specific sites, or for a real time national wind map, and contact our office if you would like an interactive wind map CD.

North Carolina has abundant wind resources on the western mountain ridges and eastern coastal areas, unique to the Southeast, and has an excellent opportunity to harvest this local source of power. Both areas have particular opportunities and challenges for both small and large scale wind power.

  • U.S. Wind Industry 2015 Wind Market Report 
    U.S. Wind Industry Third Quarter Market Report published by the American Wind Energy Assiciation provides a status report on the U.S. wind energy market and industry.

  • North Carolina Small Scale Wind Resource

  • AWEA
    The American Wind Energy Association's wind overview including discussion on technical basics, off-shore wind, economics, policy, the environment, and industry statistics. A starting place for learning about wind power and some of its most common top

  • Incentives for Wind Energy In North Carolina:  This site lists more than a dozen financial incentive programs available in North Carolina and more than 20 at the federal level for renewable and efficiency energy.  Technical and regulatory policies are also listed here.



QEP Global Learning


Brent Summerville
Appalachian State University
Department of Sustainable Technology & the Built Environment
Katherine Harper Hall
Boone, NC 28608