TailWinds Wind Energy
Support emission-free renewable energy with our TailWinds wind-generated energy program
How it works
Energy is available for purchase in 100-kilowatt-hour blocks. You choose how much you want to buy. Use wind energy to power your entire home or business, or just a few appliances.
You can enroll at any time. Once you enroll, you'll start seeing a small additional charge on your monthly electric service statement. This helps cover the cost of adding wind-generated electricity to our resource mix.
To sign up for TailWinds, call our Idea Center at 800-493-3299 and ask to enroll.
Common questions about TailWinds
- Will I have electricity when the wind doesn't blow?
Yes. We'll provide electricity through other means if the wind doesn't blow.
- Will I need any special equipment to participate?
No. All you need to do to participate is sign up.
- Will you send electricity from the wind turbine directly to my home or business?
No, it's not possible to deliver energy that way. The TailWinds turbine supplies electricity to our existing generation pool. The amount supplied depends on the amount of wind energy all our customers collectively purchase.
- How does this program affect people who don't subscribe?
Only customers who subscribe to TailWinds pay for it.
- How does the wind generate electricity?
Our turbines have giant blades that catch the wind. The blades are attached to a shaft, which is connected to a generator. The generator turns this energy into electricity.
- Where are the wind turbines and what do they look like?
We purchase TailWinds electricity from a wind turbine rated at 900 kilowatts located near Hendricks, Minnesota. Both its rotor—measuring about 170 feet wide—and generator are mounted on a 237-foot tower.
- Are turbines dangerous to birds?
Generally, no. Across every turbine site in the United States, only one location in California has impacted the bird population. New technology uses larger blades that rotate at a relatively low speed, making the risk to birds much lower than earlier turbine designs. And, newer tubular towers seem to be less appealing nesting spots than the older lattice structures.
- May I get all of my electricity from TailWinds?
You may buy one 100-kilowatt-hour block or as many blocks as you'd like. The amount of electricity you sign up for cannot exceed your current average electricity use. That's because we can't sell you more energy than you consume, regardless of its source.
- How long am I committed to TailWinds once I enroll?
You are committed for a minimum of one year—unless, of course, you move away from our service area.
- What if I move?
If you continue to be our customer, we'll transfer your wind-energy commitment to your new address. If you move and no longer are an Otter Tail Power Company customer, you'll be under no further obligation.
- How does TailWinds apply to heating customers on an off-peak rate?
TailWinds applies no differently to customers on an off-peak rate than to standard electric service customers.
- How much electricity is a 100-kilowatt-hour block?
Here's how much electricity typical appliances require:
Monthly blocks of energy used by typical electric home appliances 100-kWh blocks Additional monthly charge Refrigerator 1 $1.30 Clothes dryer 1 $1.30 Deep freezer 1 $1.30 Small room air conditioner 3 $3.90 Water heating for family of 4 5 $6.50
*South Dakota customers who choose to participate in the TailWinds program have seen a change in the way the TailWinds charge is presented on their monthly bills. When the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission granted our company an overall revenue increase effective June 1, 2011, it changed the way several costs are categorized and presented on customers’ bills. Because a portion of TailWinds costs that we previously recovered as part of the base energy charge has been transferred to the TailWinds line item, it resulted in what appears to be a higher TailWinds charge. The actual cost of TailWinds, however, has not changed.