NREL Publishes Assessment of Economic Potential of Distributed Wind in Colorado, Minnesota, and New York

Feb. 1, 2018

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) researchers published Assessment of the Economic Potential of Distributed Wind in Colorado, Minnesota, and New York, a report that seeks to identify current and future economic potential for behind-the-meter distributed wind energy systems serving primarily rural or suburban homes, farms, and manufacturing facilities in Colorado, Minnesota, and New York. Technical experts selected the three states based on their current or expected favorability for distributed wind deployment. Counties with high economic potential within each state were generally observed to have modest to good wind resource quality, significant load, favorable rate structures, and sufficient spatial patterns to enable siting of distributed wind turbines. Some of these areas include counties in Colorado’s Front Range urban corridor; counties with high population centers such as St. Cloud, Duluth, and the Twin Cities in Minnesota; and Long Island, White Plains, and Buffalo in New York. These findings demonstrate that while distributed wind is not economic everywhere, certain market segments show clear growth potential, particularly for agricultural, commercial, and industrial end users. The visualizations of spatial trends included in the report can help policymakers and the distributed wind industry identify the areas of greatest potential within the three states and the potential costs and benefits of various policy or government interventions.