The department's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has issued the first comprehensive analysis on a growing field called distributed wind, which involves generating wind energy close to where it will be used instead of purchasing power from large, centralized wind farms.
"The public often pictures large wind projects with long rows of turbines when they think of wind power," report lead author Alice Orrell, an energy analyst at the laboratory, said. "But this report provides detailed data that shows this image is incomplete. Many of the nation's turbines are for distributed, not centralized, wind projects."
Distributed wind can range from a small, solitary turbine in someone's backyard to several large turbines that power a manufacturing facility or a neighborhood, the researchers said.
Sixty-eight percent of all wind turbines installed in United States from 2003 to 2012 were distributed wind turbines, representing about 69,000 turbines generating 812 megawatts combined, the report said.