See how wind farms are powering Maine's economy.


Knowledge Base

Economic Benefits

As the wind industry experiences strong growth, it attracts investment capital which is being put to work in the economy.  Investment in wind projects leads to economic benefits and work for wind turbine manufacturers, landowners, construction companies and workers, local businesses which support construction and operations, and the municipalities where facilities are built.  In addition, the final delivered price of wind energy is competitive with other sources and helps stabilize electricity rates through fixed long-term contracts.

The Industry: The wind energy industry has been identified by market research firm IBISWorld as one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. economy for the period 2000-2016 [1].  Since 2000, wind energy capacity in the United States has grown by a factor of 16 [2].  The resulting demand for wind turbines, as well as for other components and raw materials like concrete and steel, is quite significant: First Wind’s 751 MW fleet includes 400 wind turbines.  Turbines from both domestic and global suppliers typically have U.S.-based manufacturing facilities, and on average, more than 60% of the components in U.S. wind turbines is made in the U.S. [3].

Communities and Municipalities: Development of our wind farms usually includes leases with landowners where turbines are sited.  And unlike some other options for development, incorporating wind turbines enables landowners to continue using their property for agriculture, logging, ranching or recreation.  During operations, the facilities also contribute significant property tax revenue for towns and states, with limited increased demand for local services.  Cities and towns can use the increased tax revenue in a variety of ways including allocating funds to schools, fire and police departments, new roads and infrastructure, and/or lowering local tax rates.

Construction and Operations: During the construction of the wind farm, hundreds of businesses, contractors and workers participate in the preparation, installation and commissioning of the wind turbines.  Since 2006, when we built our first wind farm, First Wind’s projects have, on average, continuously employed 180 full-time workers per year in the construction industry [4].  Construction typically lasts about 6-12 months, and during that time, local businesses like hotels, gas stations and restaurants benefit from the surge of on-site workers and activity.  After construction, our operations managers engage local service providers for ongoing maintenance and support.  For a closer look at examples of local impacts, watch these AWEA profiles of local community members who benefited from development and construction of a First Wind project:

Delivered Cost: Finally, wind energy is a low-cost, scalable renewable energy resource, and is competitive with conventional sources in some markets.  Because wind energy has zero fuel costs and isn't impacted by volatile price spikes associated with fossil fuels, the delivered price of electricity from wind farms can be fixed over long periods (10-20 years), helping stabilize electricity rates paid by homes and businesses.   

Sources

1- IBISWorld Market Research; Top 10 Fastest Growing Industries

2- AWEA; 2010 U.S. Wind Industry Market Update

3- DOE; 2010 Wind Technologies Market Report  

4- About 2,000,000 direct, on-site labor hours documented by First Wind and our general contractors

 

Wind farms help energize the economy.

 

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