Community Wind Handbook/Select and Procure Turbine

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Community Wind Handbook

Select and Procure a Turbine

Turbine selection and procurement rely on multiple project-specific factors, turbine availability, and whether manufacturers are willing to provide turbines for smaller projects.

A variety of factors will influence turbine selection. Photo from McKinstry, NREL 26779.

Certain sites will require turbines with longer blades or higher towers to function properly with the consistent but low average wind speed at that location. Other sites will require turbines that are designed to function in cold-weather regions. To better understand the type of turbine(s) that will be required for your large community wind project, it is important to understand the characteristics of your site, including the wind resource. Understanding how the site's characteristics will impact a project’s performance and lifespan prior to finalizing your turbine selection is a vital step in the development process.[1]

Turbine selection can also be influenced by how a project plans to interconnect into the distribution system. If developers are looking to minimize the cost for potential upgrades in order to interconnect, they may choose to develop a smaller wind project.

Selection will also be influenced by the proximity of operations and maintenance (O&M) teams in your area. The cost of O&M impacts the final project price, so it is important to choose a model turbine that O&M teams within a close proximity are qualified to work on. This can help to reduce the cost of travel and improve the availability of O&M teams for unscheduled maintenance situations.[2]

Most turbine manufacturers will require a deposit and a letter of credit for the remaining cost prior to accepting an order. The time between placing your deposit and turbine delivery can be more than a year, depending on the number of orders in the queue.[3]

Also note that many manufacturers choose to provide turbines for large commercial wind projects instead of smaller developments.[4] All of these factors combined can lead to project developers having to select a second or third choice of turbine for a large community wind project.


  1.  "Renewable Energy Alaska Project. Community Wind Toolkit: A Guide to Developing Wind Energy Projects in Alaska"
  2.  "Windustry. Community Wind Toolbox: Chapter 15, Turbine Selection and Purchase"
  3.  "Energy Trust of Oregon. Community Wind: An Oregon Guidebook"