James Madison University

Scales of Wind Energy

There are various sizes of wind turbines available for different uses and they are becoming more commonplace throughout the United States as advances in technology occur and costs get lower. It is important to understand scale when discussing turbines, as there are a range of sizes available for a variety of purposes. Depending on who you talk to, you may get a different description of the same turbine.

  • The Industry: defines a wind turbine by its generating capacity
    • Small wind < 100 kW, large wind > 100 kW
  • The Public: defines a wind turbine by its physical size
    • How big/tall is it? How many turbines?
  • Nameplate capacity: rated maximum power output
Example of scales of wind energy

Here is another example of scale.

Onsie or residential/agricultural -scale: ranges in size from 100's of watts to 50 kW.

Scales of wind energy, Floyd, VA

Community-Scale: Ranging from 50 kW to 2 MW

Example of scales of wind energy

Utility or Large-Scale: larger than 2MW

Example of scales of wind energy

Offshore: 2.5-5MW (up to 7MW under development)

Example of scales of wind energy