Energy Trust releases tool for calculating wind energy potential

Curious whether a wind turbine would pay off on your property? Energy Trust of Oregon has a new tool that might interest you.

Curious whether a wind turbine would pay off on your property? Energy Trust of Oregon has a new tool that might interest you. 

Energy Trust of Oregon has a new online tool for anyone curious whether a wind turbine on their property would be worth the investment.

The online wind resource calculator is designed for customers of Portland General Electric and Pacific Power to check the strength of the wind at their farm, business or residence —areas with an acre or more for accommodating a turbine — with just a few clicks.

A rating of "excellent," "good," "fair" or "poor" conditions is returned by the tool based on historic data.

The online calculator, called WindSight, was developed by Wind Analytics, a company in Brooklyn, N.Y.

"WindSight allows our customers to discover whether their farm, ranch, rural home or business location has the potential to produce clean, renewable energy with a small wind turbine,” said Chris Dearth, renewable energy senior project manager at Energy Trust, in a press release. “Rural residents with several acres in areas of strong wind can often supply a large percentage of their annual electricity needs."

Energy Trust this year increased its incentives for small wind turbines that are 50 kilowatts and smaller. The incentives are based on the estimated annual energy production of a particular turbine at a given site and can equal up to 60 percent of the installed cost of a small wind turbine system. Customers may also be eligible for state and federal tax incentives.

Oregon is home to two companies with turbine offerings in the so-called small wind industry — turbines designed for use in small-scale installations rather than industrial-scale wind farms.

Xzeres Corp., based in Wilsonville, makes small-scale wind turbines with customers in the U.S. and Europe. Genesis Wind Inc. is a startup based out of the Portland State University Business Accelerator and is making a play for a similar market.

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