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Wind Power

Several white wind turbines against a cloudy sky with trees, grass and farm in the foreground. Fall scene.
Since 2009, New York has been a member of the "Gigawatt Club"
with wind power generation capacity in excess of 1,000 MW.
(Photo: Maple Ridge Wind Farm.
Credit: Nat'l Renewable Energy Lab)

Wind is a powerful and plentiful resource that can provide energy without burning fossil fuel or emitting greenhouse gases.

Since ancient times, sailing vessels and windmills have been turning the energy of the wind into mechanical energy to push ships, pump water and grind grain. Today's advanced wind turbines convert wind energy directly into electricity, which can be moved instantaneously to where it is needed.

A single small wind turbine can generate enough clean electricity for local use. Connect several large turbines to an electric power grid and you have a wind farm -- a wind energy system generating significant amounts of pollution-free, renewable electric power to be used anywhere power lines reach.

New York's Wind Power

Wind generation today. Today in New York, wind power makes a small but real contribution to meeting electric power needs.

Single blade wind turbine against blue sky with men around base during installation
One of three 33 ft tall wind turbines
installed at Union College in Schenectady.
Together they supply 40 percent
of power for the athletic complex.

The American Wind Energy Association ranks New York eleventh in the nation for installed wind generation capacity. As of Spring 2014, twenty wind energy projects (PDF) (14 KB) are operating with a rated capacity of a little more than 1,812 MW, approximately 2.6 percent of all the electric power available from generation facilities in New York and enough to power more than 500,000 homes. In addition, two wind power projects are under construction in New York, and one is under active review. This wind energy development is critical in meeting New York's renewable energy goals.

Wind generation tomorrow. But today's wind power is only the beginning for New York, the 15th windiest state in the nation. Usable wind sites are found in most parts of the state -- according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, New York's wind resource has the potential to fill more than half of the state's current electricity needs.

DEC Environmental Review of Wind Power Proposals

Although wind power creates no toxic air emissions or greenhouse gases, DEC must still evaluate potential issues related to construction and operation of large wind energy projects. The review includes noise and aesthetics, as well as possible impacts on wildlife (especially birds and bats and any endangered or threatened species), forests, grasslands, wetlands and streams, and sensitive ecosystems. Impacts of wind turbine towers and rotating blades on flying birds and bats are a current focus.

For more information about DEC review of wind projects, see Review of Wind Energy Generation Projects.

More about Wind Power: