Land-Based Wind

Taller Turbines are Unlocking Land-Based Wind for the Southeast

There is a common misconception that the Southeast lacks sufficient wind for large-scale wind projects. The truth is that it depends on the height of the developer’s turbines; the higher you go in the air, the more wind there is. The heights of turbines used in traditional development in western states such as Oklahoma were previously insufficient to reach the Southeast’s elevated resource, but this is no longer the case.

 

The advancement of wind turbine technology, specifically the emergence of “tall wind” turbines with tip heights of up to 700 feet, has been a game-changer for wind energy deployment in the Southeast. These turbines, now commercially available from original equipment manufacturers such as Vestas, enable the harnessing of wind resources in regions previously considered unsuitable, including vast areas of the Southeast.

 

This technological leap was predicted in 2014 when the Southeastern Wind Coalition (SEWC) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) collaborated to create custom maps exploring the potential of taller turbines:

SEWC and NREL's maps highlighting wind expansion potential for the Southeast by using taller turbines.

These maps have proven accurate, as tall wind technologies have been commercialized and are currently being constructed across the Southeast, most notably at AES’s Delta Wind project in Tunica County, Mississippi, which features 700-foot turbines, some of the tallest in the country.

A size comparison of notable tall wind turbines and structures in the southeast.

As of Q2 2024, there are at least 20 active land-based wind projects in development in SEWC’s footprint, owing in large part to these turbine advancements:

Onshore wind projects in the Southeast as of Q2 2024.

The Delta Region is a Hotspot for New Southeast Wind Projects

As the Western United States approaches its capacity for optimal wind energy sites, attention is shifting to the Southeast, particularly to states in the Delta Region such as Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky. This region is known for its vast agricultural fields and minimal developmental barriers, making it an attractive new frontier for onshore wind energy projects.

The Critical Role of Corporate Offtakers for New Wind Projects

The Southeast’s rising energy demand, driven primarily by the growth of data centers and electric vehicle manufacturing, highlights the critical role of corporate buyers in the region’s wind energy initiatives. Amazon, which is the off-taker for Amazon Wind US East in North Carolina (2017) and the Delta Wind project in Mississippi (2024), is significantly expanding its footprint with a $10 billion investment that includes the construction of two data centers in Mississippi. Projects like Delta Wind are critical for supplying clean electrons to the grid, which power these massive data centers and factories. The growing demand from corporations for more clean energy drives the development of such projects, establishing the Southeast as a prime location for wind energy development.

Online Land-Based Wind Projects in the Southeast

Sorted by Most Recent Projected Online Date

Delta Wind

  • Location: Tunica County, Mississippi

  • Capacity: 184.5 MW

  • Developer: AES

  • Highlights: Delta Wind Farm is Mississippi’s inaugural utility-scale wind project and the Southeast’s second major wind project, featuring some of North America’s tallest turbines. Vestas’ development arm, Steelhead, initially developed this historic project, which signaled the start of wind energy development in the Delta Region, and sold it to AES in 2022. Amazon is the offtaker of the project. Development began in 2017 and concluded in 2024.

  • Status: Online since 2024

 

Amazon Wind US East

  • Location: Pasquotank and Perquimans Counties, North Carolina

  • Developer: Avangrid

  • Online Since: 2017

  • Capacity: 208 MW

  • Highlights: The Southeast’s first large-scale wind project, Amazon Wind US East, demonstrates the potential for wind energy to support local farmers while advancing corporate sustainability goals.

  • Status: Online since 2017

 

Buffalo Mountain Wind Energy Center

  • Location: Anderson County, Tennessee

  • Capacity: 27 MW

  • Developer: Invenergy

  • Highlights: A pioneering utility-scale wind project in the Southwest. Initially established with three pilot turbines by TVA in 2000, Invenergy added additional turbines to the site in 2004. As its 20-year PPA with TVA concludes at the end of 2024, the project’s future is under consideration.

  • Status: Online since 2004

Land-Based Wind Projects Under Development in the Southeast

Note: The projects listed below have been publicly announced or have been listed on developer websites. As of mid-2024, the Southeast has at least eleven additional early-stage, land-based wind projects in development that have yet to be announced.

Descending Order of MW Capacity

Long Grain Wind

  • Location: Crittenden County, Arkansas

  • Capacity: 400 MW

  • Developers: Triple Oak Power

  • Highlights: Long Grain Wind, located approximately 30 minutes west of Memphis, is Triple Oak Power’s first wind project in the Southeast and is likely to become one of the first wind projects online in Arkansas.

  • Status: In Development

 

Rock Bluff Wind Energy Park

  • Location: Henderson County, Kentucky

  • Capacity: 200 MW

  • Developers: Tensaska and Cordelio Power

  • Highlights: Rock Bluff Wind Energy Park is set to be Kentucky’s first utility-scale wind project.

  • Status: In Development

 

Timbermill Wind

  • Location: Chowan County, North Carolina

  • Capacity: 189 MW

  • Developer: Apex Clean Energy

  • Highlights: Timbermill Wind is set to become North Carolina’s second land-based wind project. Construction work began in May 2023, with turbine deliveries scheduled for 2024 and full commercial operation beginning in 2024–2025.

  • Status: Under Construction

 

Nimbus Wind

  • Location: Carroll County, Arkansas

  • Capacity: 180 MW

  • Developer: Scout Clean Energy

  • Highlights: Nimbus Wind is the only project in Arkansas that is currently facing organized opposition, but it is expected to proceed.

  • Status: In Development

 

Pinewood Wind

  • Location: Pulaski County, Virginia

  • Capacity: 180 MW

  • Developer: Apex Clean Energy

  • Highlights: Pinewood Wind is expected to be one of the first land-based wind projects in Virginia.

  • Status: In Development

 

Crossover Wind

  • Location: Cross County, Arkansas

  • Capacity: 135 MW

  • Developer: Steelhead

  • Highlights: Crossover Wind is on track to become Arkansas’s first operational wind project, setting a precedent for future wind energy developments in the state.

  • Status: In Development

 

Rocky Forge Wind

    • Location: Botetourt County, Virginia

    • Capacity: 75 MW

    • Developer: Apex Clean Energy

    • Highlights: Rocky Forge Wind is expected to be one of the first land-based wind projects in Virginia.

    • Status: In Development

Land Based Wind Resources