Why do some wind turbines spin, while others next to them do not?

This is part of the normal operation of a wind farm. Continuous variations in wind direction, speed, and intensity cause some turbines to spin while others nearby may be idle.


How reliable is wind energy?

Sophisticated monitoring and wind resource analysis allow wind developers to estimate with a high degree of certainty "when" and "how much" wind energy is available, so to be reliably intergated into the electric grid. When the wind blows, wind farms are a reliable source of energy and also can displace fossil-fueled generation, such as oil and gas.


What happens when the wind doesn’t blow?

When the wind is calm, the turbine may be at rest. However, at the heights of utility-scale wind turbines – usually more than 200 feet above ground – on a site selected specifically for its good wind resources, it is not very often that they would be totally still.


Are there wind seasons?

Generally yes, but they vary by region. In California, the peak wind season is summer; in the Midwest, it's fall and winter; in Texas, spring is peak. Each wind plant has specific daily and seasonal variations. Each wind site also has specific wind patterns, which are determined through wind studies conducted during early development of a project.


Do wind turbines operate in extreme temperatures/weather conditions?

Turbines sited in areas that experience extreme cold or heat are equipped with special Arctic or tropical equipment packages. Nevertheless, in sustained winds of 56 MPH or gusts of about 100 MPH, turbines shut down automatically.


How often do turbines require maintenance?

It depends on various factors, but wind turbines generally require preventative maintenance checkups one to two times per year. We also have a state-of-the art diagnostic center located at our corporate headquarters that monitors turbine operations 24/7 and can identify and address issues before they become operational problems. When an issue does occur, we work with the manufacturer to investigate the cause and replace the impacted equipment.


What does the computer system inside a wind turbine do?

The sophisticated computer system inside a turbine performs thorough self-diagnostic tests and troubleshoots errors before the startup command is given. If the computer detects any problems it cannot auto-correct, the turbine automatically shuts down. In addition, a SCADA (system control and data acquisition) control system allows a remote operator (using a data link from anywhere in the country) to set new operating parameters, stop and start and perform system checks, and ensure turbines are operating at peak performance.


Is wind energy just the latest energy fad?

Not at all. Today, wind energy is the fastest-growing renewable energy resource in the world. Wind energy has always been clean and renewable and, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), since 2009 the cost of wind energy has dropped about 70%.


Is a power purchase agreement required before construction begins?

Our projects generally secure long-term commitments for a wind farm's output from one or more buyers prior to construction.


What effect do wind turbines have on the transmission grid?

The energy from wind turbines can be  reliably intergrated into the transmission grid, so to have no negative impact on the grid and provide customers with clean, renewable energy as a source of their electricity.  

 

Safety

How safe are wind turbines?

Wind energy is one of the safest energy technologies, with several built-in safety features to protect the turbines - but more importantly the surrounding landowners and communities.


What effect can lightning have on turbine operations?

Modern turbines are equipped with an extensive lightning protection system that grounds (makes harmless) the equipment  without  affecting turbine operations.


Are wind turbines noisy?

When ground level winds are high, the sound of the wind masks most of the turbine sound. The sound from the rotating blades may be audible depending on many variables, such as your distance from the turbine, weather conditions and time of day. You would have little difficulty holding a conversation with a neighbor right beneath one of our turbines.


Does wind energy rely on government subsidies?

Yes, like all forms of energy production in the U.S. – whether fossil fuel or renewable – energy producers receive some level of support from federal and state governments to encourage investment. To learn more, view our Wind Energy - Government Subsidies Fact Sheet.


What impact will a wind farm have on my property values?

Multiple studies have found wind farms have no significant long-term impacts on property values. View our property values page for more details.


Do wind turbines negatively impact our health?

No. When properly sited, wind turbines are a safe and effective means of generating electricity. Learn more by visiting our health page.


What happens at the end of a wind farm’s useful life?

Decommissioning is the process of removing all wind turbines and returning the land to its original condition. Learn more about decommissioning.


Do wind turbines impact birds, bats and wildlife?

Wind Energy is far less harmful to wildlife than the traditional energy sources it displaces. Learn more about how wind energy affects our environment.


Economics

What is the impact of new wind plants on my electricity bill?

Our company is a wholesale provider of electricity. While we provide the electricity itself, your power bill – which you get from your local electric provider – contains a number of different items and costs, along with the electricity. That said, renewable energy is among the most cost-effective forms of energy generation available today, and adding more affordable, renewable energy to the regional grid reduces the need to build more expensive fossil-fuel generated electricity.


How does wind energy work with farming and ranching?

Wind energy can complement farming and ranching operations, adding a new source of reliable income for their families. Learn more.

 

Community

What involvement should communities have in a wind energy project?

Building a strong partnership with the community is critical to the success of every one of our projects. With community dialogue a vital component of our strategy, we started speaking with residents early in the project development process to introduce the project and solicit early feedback on our proposal. Our goals are to:

  • Establish a cooperative relationship with your community;
  • Listen to you and your neighbors;
  • Share information; and
  • Ensure that our proposal fits the interests and priorities of the community.

We've also met with your elected and appointed officials, civic associations, environmental groups and other community organizations. We periodically share new information, as it becomes available, to provide project updates to the community.

 

Environment

Is an environmental review performed?

Yes. An environmental review is performed for every project.  The wind project  works to preserve cultural and environmental resources. Wind projects are sited in areas where there is good wind resource, an ability to transmit the wind energy, a market for the wind energy, and land use is compatible with wind farms.


Will a wind project cause any pollution?

No.  Wind turbines  do not produce any greenhouse gas emissions, water emissions, or solid waste byproducts.

 


LANDOWNERS

What do you look for in a site when building a renewable energy project?

We generally look for a location with good wind or solar resources, landowners who are interested in hosting our equipment, and proximity to transmission lines.


If I have land and want you to assess its suitability for a renewable energy project, how can I get you to look at it?

We cannot guarantee that we will assess every parcel of land presented to us. However, the first step is to contact us.  


How much land does a typical wind project require?

Each wind turbine uses less than one acre of land, allowing landowners to continue farming and ranching around them. NextEra Energy Resources works with landowners when siting wind turbines and access roads to minimize impact to crops, grazing and other farming and ranching operations.


Is there construction traffic?

Yes. During construction there will be additional traffic in the area. Although the construction period is only a matter of months, it will require heavy equipment, including bulldozers, graders, trenching machines, concrete trucks, flatbed trucks and large cranes. Once the wind farm is operational, there is no need for additional construction traffic.


How long will it take to complete construction?

The timeline really depends on the size of the project. However, six to nine months is a typical timeframe to build most wind projects.


How much income is generated for a landowner?

A landowner can potentially earn more per acre for hosting a wind turbine than any crop or ranching activity. Income from a wind farm helps diversify a landowner’s operations. The regular payments landowners earn create guaranteed, long-term income that is not impacted by commodity prices or weather. Land agreement  terms can vary widely, based on a number of factors. The prices  are negotiated between the wind project and the landowner, so we do not disclose them to the public.


What does a land agreement cover?

The land agreement will generally cover payment terms, length of easement, other uses of the property, the location and type of access roads, other support facilities and the condition of the land after operations cease, as well as the landowner’s responsibilities and  the wind project’s responsibilities.


If I allow you to build turbines on my property, am I liable for accidents or injuries on my land?

No. Landowners are not liable for actions occurring on their property as a result of the equipment. Our contracts with landowners hold them harmless from liability resulting from hosting wind turbines and associated equipment on their property.


Do construction plans account for harvest/planting seasons?

No. However, if you are a farmer, you are compensated for loss of crops during construction. Determining when construction begins will depend more on when the easements and permitting are complete, as well as having the wind farm operational before peak wind seasons arrive, which will vary by region.


Can I enter into a land rights agreement for other things if I have a land rights agreement with you?

Our option and our easement are only for the wind turbines. Landowners can enter into other agreements that do not interfere with the wind turbine equipment or operation.


Can I still have hunting leases after I sign?

Landowners hosting wind turbines can still have hunting leases. A number of our wind projects are on hunting camp property.


Who pays the taxes if I have wind energy equipment on my land?

The wind project pays the taxes on our generation equipment and infrastructure.


If I am a current landowner and have questions, who can I contact?

Please call 1-855-552-9872, and we will respond to your questions.


 

What is solar energy used for?

Once converted into electricity, solar energy is used in homes and businesses just like any other form of electricity. 

 

What are some advantages of solar energy?

After the initial investment in solar-energy equipment, the costs are minimal since the sun provides free "fuel." These facilities are not affected by the supply and demand of fuel or subject to price volatility, and solar energy can help reduce America’s dependence on foreign sources of energy. Solar energy is also clean and renewable, which helps protect our environment.

 

How many solar facilities does your company have and where are they located?

Through its subsidiaries, NextEra Energy Resources is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and the sun. We currently have 2,313 MW of operating solar projects (as of Dec. 31, 2018), representing universal-scale solar facilities in 22 states and one province in Spain, as well as multiple small-scale (distributed generation) solar projects.

 

Are solar facilities good for the environment?

Solar energy emits no pollutants and the overall impact of solar on human health is overwhelmingly positive. To learn more, view our solar environment page.

 

What percentage of generation does solar energy represent in the NextEra Energy Resources' portfolio?

Solar energy represents about 11 percent of NextEra Energy Resources' generation.

 

What do you look for in a site when building a renewable energy project?

We look for a location with good wind or solar resources, landowners who are interested in hosting our equipment, and proximity to transmission lines.

 

If I have land and want you to assess its suitability for a renewable energy project, how do I get you to come out to look at it?

We cannot guarantee that we will assess every parcel of land presented to us. However, you can contact us for more information.

 

How much land does a solar project require?

Typically, a project will require 5 to 6 acres of land for each megawatt of solar energy capacity.

 

Is there construction traffic?

Yes. During construction there will be additional traffic. Although the construction period is only a matter of months, it will require heavy equipment, including bulldozers, graders, trenching machines, concrete trucks, flatbed trucks and large cranes.

 

How long will it take to complete construction?

It depends on the size of the project. However, six to 12 months is a reasonable time frame to build most solar projects.



How do battery energy storage systems work?

Energy from the power grid or from renewable energy sources is delivered via a bi-directional inverter, which converts the energy from alternating current (AC) into direct current (DC). Today's batteries can only store DC. This energy goes into an array of batteries that is typically housed within a battery container or a building structure.

When the energy is needed on the power system, the inverters are then used again, but this time to convert the DC from the batteries into AC. Once the power has been transformed, it is stepped up in voltage and subsequently sent to an on-site substation or directly to a distribution or transmission line.

A Battery Management System monitors the individual cells and controls the voltage, temperature and current for safe, reliable transfer of energy. The system automatically shuts off if the batteries are operating outside of predefined parameters.

The electricity is then distributed to homes, schools, businesses and other consumers.

What are the components that make up a battery energy storage system?

A storage system consists of:

  • Individual battery cells (the size of an iPad)
  • These cells are put into battery modules and stacked on racks
  • The racks fill containers, not unlike a storage container you’d see on a ship or truck
  • The containers are paired with inverters to convert DC-AC electricity
  • The system includes HVAC to maintain temperature control
  • Can be paired with a renewable energy asset (solar, wind) or stand alone
 

What is the value of energy storage for both a utility and its customers?

Battery storage helps optimize the way the power grid delivers electricity to customers with a wide variety of use cases, including:           

  • Smoothing out fluctuations in frequency and voltage
  • Replacing traditional peaking generation units
  • Reducing energy losses and waste
  • Avoiding the need for some system upgrades, including big transmission projects
  • Extending the hours a renewable energy project can operate, i.e., even after the sun goes down or the wind stops blowing
  • Allowing customers to enjoy more renewable energy, more hours of the day

Energy storage technologies are highly flexible and controllable resources, capable of fast response to system needs and near instantaneous ramp to full capacity in either charge or discharge mode. Projects can be scaled in size to match any site—be that co-located with a power plant, installed at a substation, directly connected to a transmission or distribution line, or sited at customer premises—and can provide services interchangeably to wholesale markets, distribution grids, and end users.


What type of batteries will the storage system employ?

Most battery energy storage systems employ lithium ion batteries.

  • Lithium ion is the dominant technology because it benefits from more than $100 billion in R&D from the electric vehicle industry
  • This is also the prevalent battery technology found in laptop computers, iPads, and other electronics
  • NextEra Energy Resources has its own battery testing facility to measure battery performance and degradation, as well as testing alternative technologies


What’s the risk of a battery energy storage system catching fire?

  • All of the battery module designs included in our facilities undergo rigorous industry testing and certification related to fire safety, in order to minimize the risk that a failure of any single battery cell or module spreads to adjacent batteries or other equipment
  • NextEra Energy Resources has a control center in Florida that is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that monitors and can control the operation of all of our assets remotely
  • The company works with local first responders and fire officials to educate them about the technology and coordinate any response, in the unlikely event of a fire
  • NextEra Energy Resources storage systems comply with all local, state, and federal regulations in terms of operations, fire protection, and disposal of waste from storage operations
 

Has your company built other energy storage systems?

NextEra Energy Resources has approximately 164 MW of operational energy storage, including:

  • Frontier Battery Energy Storage System, Illinois
  • Elmira Energy Storage, Ontario
  • Gopher Energy Storage, Anoka and Isanti counties, Minnesota
  • Mantua Creek Battery Energy Storage System, New Jersey
  • Green Mountain Battery Energy Storage, Pennsylvania
  • Casco Bay Battery Energy Storage System, Maine
  • Pima Battery Energy Storage System, Arizona
  • Blue Summit Energy Storage, Texas
  • Minuteman Storage, Massachusetts
  • Montauk Energy Center, New York
  • East Hampton Energy Center, New York
  • Parry Energy Storage, Parry Sound, Ontario
  • Pinal Energy Storage, Arizona
  • Rush Springs Energy Storage, Oklahoma
  • Blythe II Storage, California
  • Various behind-the-meter energy storage projects in California and Massachusetts

Additionally, the company is developing nearly 2 GW of energy storage projects across the U.S. and Canada that are under long-term contracts. Over one-third of the new solar projects we’re developing for customers now includes a storage component.