The interconnection of wind turbines to utility grids, regulations covering installation and operation, and environmental concerns are the main institutional issues. The U.S. National Energy Act of 1978 was a response to the energy crisis caused by the oil embargo. The main purpose was to encourage conservation of energy and the efficient use of energy resources. The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) covers small power producers and qualifying facilities (independent power producers) rated up to 80 MW [1,2]. Sections 201 and 210 of PURPA encourage the use of renewable energy. The main aspects of PURPA are:

Utilities must offer to buy energy and capacity from small power producers at the marginal rate (avoided cost) the utility would pay to produce the same energy.

Utilities must sell power to these small power producers at nondiscriminatory rates. Qualifying facilities are entitled to simultaneously purchase and sell. They have the right to sell all their energy to the utility and purchase all the energy needed.

Qualifying facilities are exempt from most federal and state regulations that apply to utilities.