Understanding Wind Energy

Wind energy is recognized as one of the safest and most environmentally friendly forms of new electricity generation. It’s clean, sustainable and renewable, and has the potential to cost-effectively provide 80 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2050.

Learn about the equipment, the safety precautions taken, the implications of the energy outputs and more – Understanding Wind Projects

Take a look a fascinating video to discover how wind turbines are built.

Did You Know?

  • Wind energy is one of the cleanest, most abundant, sustainable — and increasingly cost-effective — ways to generate electricity, currently powering the equivalent of 18 million average American homes.
  • Generating wind power creates no emissions. Coal fired power plants, on the other hand, emit approximately 30 percent of the greenhouse gasses in the United States.
  • Wind power installed in South Dakota will avoid 623,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year – that’s the equivalent of taking 110,000 cars off the road.
  • Wind power, along with other renewables, could cost-effectively provide 80 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2050, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • A wind turbine produces enough clean energy in three to eight months of operation to offset all of the greenhouse gas emissions emitted during its manufacture and construction, and it will produce clean electricity for another 20-25 years.
  • In a 12-month period through July 2016, South Dakota generated 26.9 percent of its electricity from wind power, the third highest in the nation. Many of the largest Fortune 500 companies, including Google, Johnson & Johnson, Bank of America, Cargill, General Motors, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Amazon, Nestle, Philips, Starbucks, Walmart and Nike, are making renewable resources a priority and are demanding clean energy in determining where they locate their facilities and create their jobs. Wind energy is a big part of this plan.  Many states are eager for the chance to entice these companies’ demands and gain the economic benefits that are associated.  ​

The Truth About Wind Farms

Don’t be misinformed. Get the facts about wind farms.

  • Modern wind turbines produce very little noise. The turbine blades produce a whooshing sound as they encounter turbulence in the air, but the noise tends to be masked by the background noise of the blowing wind. An operating modern wind farm at a distance of 750 feet to 1,000 feet is no noisier than a kitchen refrigerator or a conversation between two people (50-60 decibels). Just how noisy is that? Download an app (iTunes or Android) to see for yourself!
  • Wind farms and wildlife can and do coexist successfully. Wind energy development’s overall impact on birds is extremely low compared to other buildings, communication towers, traffic or even house cats. Birds can fly into wind turbines as they do with other tall structures. But conventional fuels contribute to air and water pollution have a far greater impact on wildlife and their habitat than wind. That’s why the United States Department of the Interior, the Sierra Club, The National Audubon Society and the Environmental Defense Fund all have issued statements in support of wind energy.
  • Scenic views and visibility of human development of all kinds—not just wind power developments—can both positively and negatively affect property values. But there has not been any direct correlation between wind farms and property value. In fact, in 2009, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory created a 166 page report that analyzed more than 50,000 home sales near 67 wind facilities in 27 counties across nine U.S. states and was unable to uncover any impacts to nearby home property values. This study was updated in 2013 to encompass over 122,000 real estate home sales, 1,500 of which were located within a mile of a wind turbine.
  • There has been no scientific consensus backing up the so-called “Wind Turbine Syndrome.” A study by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Public Health found no evidence of any negative health impacts on the people living in the surrounding community. A critical review of scientific literature also revealed that infrasound and low-frequency sound do not present unique health risks.
  • Shadow flicker is predictable and is based on the sun’s angle, turbine location and the distance to an observer and its effects can be mitigated. With modeling, shadows from moving wind blades are predictable and turbines can be sited to minimize flicker to a few hours a year.
  • The documentary, Windfall, takes aim at clean, affordable, homegrown wind energy with misinformation. An article published by Power of Wind outlines the issues raised by the documentary, and sets the record straight.

What Others are Saying about Wind Energy

“Several positives from the wind project in White Lake. The first is that it is a good return for landowners – the land near us is marginal land. The second and probably largest big benefit is the income for the county. The income is used for school districts and townships. The school system here has greatly benefited.” –  Jim Burg, President SD Wind Foundation, a group that put up the 7 turbines in White Lake

“Benefit is the yearly income. I’ve done quite a bit of research and there is not much of an impact on the birds at all. There are 175 species in and around the wind farm and those species are all stable. The effects are insignificant. The noise doesn’t bother me at all. The turbines are part of the landscape now. Tax implications are tremendous – schools, county, state.” – Jim Headley, Landowner with turbines on property

“In our experience, the development of windmill farms in Northwest Iowa has been nothing but a positive experience. There are certainly a number of ag related developments that can and have had a negative impact on residential and commercial values, but windmill farms are simply in a different category. Windmill farms help to bring economic stimulus to rural Northwest Iowa, and there is no data that I am aware of to suggest that they negatively impact ag land values or residential home values.” – Aaron Jones, Realtor and Broker/Owner at RE/MAX Lakes Realty


Wind Energy in South Dakota

There’s a lot of wind in South Dakota.

The Dakota Power Community Wind project is key to getting our state’s wind energy projects connected to the planned Rock Island Clean Line, a transmission line that would send electrical power from the Midwest to the East Coast, eliminating the daunting hurdle facing the regional wind energy industry — getting the power to market. It could dramatically accelerate wind power developments throughout the state.

Take Action

Do your part – support the facts!









This study analyzed more than 122,000 home sales, 1,500 within a mile of a turbine.

For additional information visit these links:

Berkeley Lab Response

Testimony Transcripts

Relationship Between Wind Turbines and Residential Property Values

Wisconsin Wind Siting Report (see Appendix G for a summary of siting for all 50 states)

Wisconsin Wind PSC 128

Wind Health Impacts Dismissed in Court (see page 22 for why McCann was rejected as a witness)

Proposed Wind Farm Gains Traction, Still Faces Uphill Battle

Property Values & Economic Impacts of Wind

Dakota Plains Companies Dakota Community Wind Campbell County Wind Farm Dakota Power Community Wind Dakota Plains Companies Solar Power