American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is the national trade association for the U.S. wind industry. With thousands of wind industry members and wind policy advocates, AWEA promotes wind energy as a clean source of electricity for American consumers. Discover all online utility-scale wind projects and manufacturing facilities across the U.S.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is the premier national trade association that represents the interests of America’s wind energy industry - Together, with hundreds of our member organizations, we work to help drive wind energy demand and to make it as cost-competitive as possible.
Who we are: AWEA leaders & supportersMembership & leadership
Advocates & partners
AWEA’s network of hundreds of thousands of wind energy activists hail from across the country, and these individuals call on their members of Congress to support wind energy through our advocacy program. Meanwhile, our Regional Partner organizations promote the growth of wind energy nationwide at the local and state levels.
Wind Energy Foundation
The Wind Energy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to raising public awareness of wind as a clean, domestic energy source through communication, research, and education. The Foundation is also committed to supporting ongoing research that furthers the continued growth of wind energy. Visit the Wind Energy Foundation website.
As a team, and inspired by our CEO’s vision, we’ve defined a set of four Core Values that resonate with us and shape how we strive to interact with the public, our members, and especially with one another. These values are important to who we are and how we work. We’ve embedded them into our work culture and recognize outstanding peers annually with our Core Value Awards. These values help us remember that it’s not just what we deliver that’s important, but how we do it!
We heart icon Wind Energy: Wind energy is our inspiration and our passion. Find out more about sustainability at AWEA.
The Truth Prevails: The facts speak for themselves and AWEA is committed to delivering thorough, pertinent and factual information to the industry.
Together We Succeed: It takes many different talents, personalities and levels of experience to create a successful organization.
Ahead of the Curve: We strive for innovation and creativity in our work.
Wind 101: the basics of wind energy
Learn how wind is used to generate electricity, how it go so affordable, and how it fits into the modern U.S. power grid. These are the wind energy basics. For top facts about wind energy, visit Facts at a Glance.
- Definition of wind power
- The three major types of wind power
- How wind turbines work
- Windmills vs. Wind Turbines
- What is a wind farm?
- How wind energy gets to you
- How wind projects are developed
- Benefits of wind energy
Wind power is the ability to make electricity using the air flows that occur naturally in the earth’s atmosphere. Wind turbine blades capture kinetic energy from the wind and turn it into mechanical energy, spinning a generator that creates electricity.The three major types of wind power
Wind is a type of renewable energy, and there are three major types of wind power.
- Utility-scale wind: wind turbines larger than 100 kilowatts with electricity delivered to the power grid and distributed to the end user by electric utilities or power system operators;
- Distributed or 'small' wind: use turbines of 100 kilowatts or smaller to directly power a home, farm or small business as it primary use;
- Offshore wind: wind turbines erected in large bodies of water, usually on the continental shelf.
Typically standing at least 80 meters tall, tubular steel towers support a hub with three attached blades and a “nacelle,” which houses the shaft, gearbox, generator, and controls. Wind measurements are collected to automatically rotate the turbine to face the strongest wind and angle or 'pitch' its blades to optimize the energy captured.
A typical modern turbine generates usable amounts of power over 90 percent of the time. It will start to generate electricity when wind speeds reach 6 -9 miles per hour (or 3 – 4 meters per second), and cut off at about 45 miles an hour (or 20 meters per second) to prevent equipment damage.
Over the course of a year, modern turbines can reach more than 40 percent of their rated maximum capacity; that is as good as or better than most other forms of electric generation such as natural gas plants, which also don’t run 24/7.
Today's wind turbine is a highly evolved machine with more than 8,000 parts. Modern wind turbines harness wind's kinetic energy and convert it into electricity. Learn more about the history of wind energy.
The turbines in a wind farm are connected so the electricity can travel from the wind farm to the power grid. Once wind energy is on the main power grid, electric utilities or power operators will deliver the electricity where it is needed. Smaller transmission lines called distribution lines will collect the electricity generated at the wind project site and transport it to larger 'network' transmission lines where the electricity can travel across long distances to the locations where it is needed, when finally the smaller 'distribution lines' deliver electricity directly to your town and home. Learn more about transmission.
- Once a site is identified, a developer will conduct wind resource assessment, siting and permitting, transmission studies over a period of several years. The majority of wind projects are located on private land, where the developer leases the land from the original landowner providing lease payments.
- After early stages of development, a developer will seek out a contract with a purchaser of electricity, raise capital from the finance markets, order wind turbines, and hire a specialized construction company to build the project.
- Finally, once a project is built and delivering electricity to the power grid, a project owner or operator will maintain the project for its 20 to 30 year life.
- Wind power pumps billions of dollars into our economy every year, particularly into rural areas where over 99 percent of wind farms are located; 71 percent of those reside in low-income counties. Over the last decade, the industry has invested an average of over $14 billion annually in new wind projects.
- Wind energy supported over 100,000 well-paying American jobs in 2016, including 25,000 manufacturing jobs. The fastest-growing job in America is “wind turbine technician,” according to the Department of Labor.
- Wind energy is a drought-resistant cash crop that farmers and ranchers rely on to make a living and keep their land in the family. During 2016, U.S. wind projects paid at least $245 million in lease payments to landowners. The local taxes they pay help rural communities afford teachers, ambulances, and roads.
- Wind power produced $7.4 billion a year in public health savings in 2016 by cutting pollutants that create smog and trigger asthma attacks and other lung diseases, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
- Transitioning to clean energy protects “all people from the harm of air pollution,” according to the American Lung Association. Its Healthy Air Campaign works for “reforms to transmission and distribution policies that will encourage the expansion delivery of clean, renewable, non-combustion energy resources” such as wind energy.