Wind energy generation could be an attractive field for investors. According to the American Wind Energy Association, the wind energy sector grew roughly 9% last year, adding more than 7,000 megawatts of power generation capacity. In total, wind energy accounted for 6.3% of the electricity supplied to the United States in 2017. And that 6.3% is more significant than it seems – it is enough to power nearly 27 million homes. In 2017, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota produced more than 30% of their energy from wind, while at least 10% of the electricity generated came from wind power in a total of 14 states. Globally, there is even more room for growth – the International Energy Agency reported that wind is on target to reach 18% of the world's energy production by 2050.

However, there is a definite hazard for investors seeking exposure to wind in that, unlike solar energy, there are very few pure-play wind energy companies. Most of the major players in the sector actually operate their wind energy business as a division or a subsidiary, such as General Electric Company's (GE) Renewable Energy division. Siemens AG (SIEGY) is widely known for its medical imaging equipment, but its merger with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, S.A. made it another major wind energy player. (See also: Clean or Green Technology Investing.)

If you are looking for ways to get into the wind energy space, here are three companies you may want to consider. Note: All figures are current as of Sept. 17, 2018.

General Electric Company (GE)

No list of wind stocks would be complete without this behemoth. This blue-chip stock has a market cap of $110.377 billion and posted revenue of $122.09 billion in 2017. GE has a global presence in the wind energy market, and its $13 billion acquisition of Alstom SA's (ALSMY) power and grid business made it a major player in gas turbines. The company aims to solidify its position as a wind leader, announcing another acquisition – LM Wind Power – for $1.7 billion in April 2017. The conglomerate has seen some struggles recently, which even resulted in its removal from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, but it has undertaken a broad restructuring program. Renewable energy remains among the focus areas for the "new GE" along with power and aviation, while other businesses such as health care will be spun off or sold. 

As of Sept. 17, 2018, GE stock was trading at around $12.70 per share, a decrease of roughly 49% over the previous 12 months. The company recently cut its dividend in half, but it still offers a decent dividend yield of 3.78%, or $0.48 per share. GE shares have a 12-month median price target of $16.89, implying potential upside of around 33%, and the stock is trading toward the low end of its 52-week range of $11.94 to $25.21. (See also: The Rise and Fall of GE.)

Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWDRY)

If your heart is set on a pure play in wind, Vestas will get you there. The company is 100% focused on wind energy and recently toppled Xinjiang GoldWind Science and Technology Co., Ltd. in China for the title of largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world. Vestas is headquartered in Denmark, but it manufactures turbines at facilities in Colorado.

Vestas has a market cap of about $13.02 billion. As of Sept. 17, Vestas stock was trading at around $21.66. According to a Bloomberg article from October of last year, Vestas partnered with Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) on a $160 million project in Australia that will integrate wind, solar and battery storage technologies. (See also: Vestas Wind Systems: Time to Invest?)

Pattern Energy Group Inc. (PEGI)

Pattern Energy Group is the owner of 24 wind power facilities – with eight additional projects in the pipeline – located in the United States, Mexico, Canada and Japan. The San Francisco-based firm is dedicated to generating power in an environmentally responsible fashion, and it sells electricity and renewable energy credits to local utilities. At the beginning of December 2017, Goldman Sachs analysts upgraded Pattern Energy shares to Buy, stating that the stock could be poised to overcome its recent underperformance.

As of Sept. 17, Pattern Energy shares were trading at $20.45, which equates to a decline of around 21% over the previous 12 months. However, it is worth noting that the stock looks to be heading upward again after posting a low at around $17 in July. As highlighted by Goldman's upgrade, the pullback in Pattern Energy shares over the past year may offer investors an attractive entry point to purchase shares in this renewable energy company. (For more, see: Top 5 Alternative Energy ETFs.)

The Bottom Line

Although it is difficult to find investment opportunities that focus exclusively on wind energy, the companies on this list provide some exposure to a segment that could continue to grow in the remainder of 2018 and into the future. As renewable energy continues to become more prevalent and affordable, these stocks could bring windfall profits to your portfolio. (For more, see: Why You Should Invest in Green Energy Right Now.)