Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled a list of the most common questions asked to give interested parties a better idea of how Hill Country Wind Power works with landowners to develop wind farm projects. Should you not find your questions or answers on this page please reach out to us so that we can assist you in making your decision to become involved in wind farm development as a landowner.

How Does The Process Work?

What Kind of Tax Revenues Can Wind Farms Provide My Community?

Do Wind Turbines Produce Much Noise?

Do Wind Turbines Affect Wildlife?

Meteorology 101

How Does The Process Work?

The landowner forms a partnership with Hill Country Wind Power. We work with our landowners every step of the way from development to operations.

Screening and Feasibility
Hill Country Wind Power may obtain funds to and complete a comprehensive assessment on the subject property lasting 12 - 18 months.

Power purchase agreements may be put into place with available electricity purchasers in your area, financing for turbines may be acquired, and engineering and site study work may be completed.

Construction
Once all preliminary work is completed, construction may begin.

Operations
Hill Country Wind Power operates and manages the day to day operations of each wind farm.

What Kind of Tax Revenues Can Wind Farms Provide My Community?

Active, producing wind farms are typically multi-million dollar projects that provide tax revenues for rural communities.

Do Wind Turbines Produce Much Noise?

According to the American Wind Energy Association, manufacturers of large, modern wind turbines expend considerable effort to ensure their machines are as quiet as possible. With years of experience installing machines in areas of high population concentration, especially in Europe, turbine manufacturers and engineers have developed quieter machine technologies.

One source of noise from a turbine is aerodynamic noise—i.e., the "swish" sound that the rotor blades make as they pass the tower of a wind turbine. Aerodynamic noise primarily occurs at the tip and the back edge of the rotor blade. The higher the rotational speed, the more one can notice the sound. Aerodynamic noise has been cut dramatically over the years due to better rotor blade design, particularly in the blade tips and back edges, and lower RPM machines. Rotor blade manufacturers take extreme care to ensure a smooth surface, which is important to reduce noise.

It is important that developers perform careful turbine sitting, which in turn regulates the amount of noise produced. There are many techniques used to develop low-impact turbine locations: developers place turbines at a sufficient distance from homes, factor in the prevailing wind direction and the attenuation characteristics of the surrounding terrain, and understand the effects of other noise contributors such as yard noise and traffic sounds. As an effect of this turbine sitting, an average residence in a well-designed project area should have turbines that produce sound levels similar to that of a kitchen refrigerator. You are more likely to hear the wind over the sound made by the turbine.

Do Wind Turbines Affect Wildlife?

Local wildlife studies are conducted prior to constructing a wind farm to ensure the project is developed in the most environmentally friendly way possible. Most wildlife is not negatively impacted by wind farms. Birds and bats occasionally collide with wind turbines, as they do with other tall structures. Except for a few areas of the country (the Altamont Pass in California), these impacts are generally considered to be low and are not a major concern. Wind's overall impact on birds is lower than other sources of avian mortality such as vehicles, buildings and house cats.

Meteorology 101

What is wind?

This is a simple answer. Wind is air in motion. It is the result of the impact of the sun on the surface of the earth. As the day progresses, the land absorbs the sun's rays, which heats it up and causes the air over the land to become lighter and rise. As the warmed air rises, it is replaced by cooler air from nearby areas. This cooler air moves in very quickly and as a result, we feel this in the form of wind. At night this pattern is reversed as the air over land cools more quickly than that over water. The larger, global wind patterns, like the prevailing trade winds, are created by the differences in air temperature between tropical and polar regions.

Wind energy is actually solar energy?

Yes. Remember, the sun's warming of the earth is essential to the creation of wind. Our atmosphere is made up of air, which is composed of different kinds of gases. The sun shines on our atmosphere all of the time, but it heats the surface of the Earth unevenly, so in some places it is warm while in other places it is cold. As the air gets warmer, its particles spread out. This makes the air light, or less dense, so it rises. As air cools, it becomes heavier, or dense, and it sinks. As warm air rises, air from cooler areas rushes in to take the place of the heated air, creating wind. This process, called convection, causes the air to move. Wind varies by season and wind is affected by land topography as well.

How does wind generate energy?

Wind is kinetic energy or energy that is produced by the speed of its movement. Anything that moves has kinetic energy. For example, a rushing river may be used to power a hydroelectric dam since the energy can be harnessed and redistributed. In this case, a typical example would be flying a kite since the kite's movement is enabled by the kinetic energy supplied by the wind.

In terms of generating power, wind energy works by delivering kinetic energy to massive wind turbines. The turbines are essentially gigantic windmills that gather the wind and redistribute it. These turbines can sometimes have blades measuring over 100 feet in length and are located on wind farms where a constant breeze and oftentimes strong winds blow as a result of the land's topography.