General News

Community and Small Wind Webinar Series - Small Wind Market Report Recording

Community and Small Wind Webinar Series

Topic #1: U.S. Small Wind Market Report: 144,000 Turbines Deployed

Video and text versions of the webinar are available for this webinar that was recorded on December 15, 2011. This webinar examined the market for clean, affordable, homegrown wind energy and recent growth in sales, capacity and incentives for small wind turbines (up to 100 kW) powering homes, farms and businesses.

Listen to the recorded Webinar

Community Wind Across America logo

This is the first in a series of free webinars funded by the DOE Wind Powering America Initiative. The webinar is designed for attendance by the general public, local officials, state and federal regulators, permitting officials, facility siting officials, state and federal policy makers, and others interested in small and community wind development.

The webinar speakers will discuss:

  • Market Highlights
  • Federal & State Incentives
  • Small Wind Market Drivers
  • Distinguishing Product Features
  • Economic Value of Small Wind
  • 2010 Developments & Challenges
  • Industry Perspectives

Speakers:
Larry Flowers, AWEA Deputy Director of Distributed and Community Wind

Heather Rhoads-Weaver, eFormative Options Principal Consultant and DWEA Board Member

Moderator:
Lisa Daniels, Windustry Executive Director

The 2010 U.S. Small Wind Market Report is available at:
awea.org/learnabout/smallwind/

The recorded Webinar Video and Audio is available at:
Wind Powering America

Windustry Moved to New Offices

Continues to Deliver Innovative Community Wind Programs

Minneapolis, MN, December 12, 2011 – Windustry has moved to new offices, located just four blocks from its old offices. The organization’s new contact information is below. Please update your address book and database accordingly. All staff e-mails and the website url remain the same.

201 Ridgewood Avenue
Minneapolis MN 55403
Phone: 612-200-0331 OR
1-888-818-0936

Windustry continues to deliver the same innovative community wind programs it always has. For more than 15 years, Windustry has been working to overcome the barriers to community-owned wind energy through advocacy, outreach, technical assistance, and education. Windustry's vision is for communities to become involved with the production of the energy they consume. In most areas of the U.S. wind is the most cost-effective form of energy and, because of the urgency of the climate crisis, its rapid deployment is our highest priority. Windustry envisions wind turbines dotting the outskirts of small towns and in large open spaces of urban areas, such as mall parking lots and near athletic fields.

Community wind power can deliver large amounts of renewable energy affordably to many people, and can be deployed now, allowing us to realize clean energy benefits much sooner. Because community wind is often built to serve local energy needs, it doesn't need to wait for new transmission lines. With increasing constraints on regional transmission systems, community wind can play a vital role in meeting demand for renewable energy now, while the large transmission grid is being expanded and upgraded.

The potential to reduce greenhouse gas and other toxic emissions through increased community and small wind development in the U.S. is significant. Community and small wind in the U.S. has the potential to offset the production of over 78.7 billion pounds of CO2 per year - the equivalent of removing nearly 7 million passenger vehicles from the roads, avoiding the burning of nearly 200,000 railcars of coal annually, or taking 8.4 coal-fired power plants out of production.

We have the knowledge and the technology to realize the potential of community wind right now. Why wait?

Community Wind – Ready to Deliver!

For more information contact: Lisa Daniels, Executive Director, Windustry, lisa@windustry.org, 612-200-0331, ext. 701

Community Wind: Affordable, Abundant, Ready To Deliver

Innovative new technologies are continually being developed that will help us to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change. Despite these efforts, the Earth's atmospheric CO2 levels continue to rise. According to NASA's Jim Hansen and other leading scientists, the number one way to cut emissions quickly and get below 350ppm - the estimated safe upper limit of CO2 in the atmosphere - is to stop burning fossil fuels and convert to more renewable sources - as soon as possible.[1]

A much-touted strategy is to build out and upgrade the national energy grid to make it possible to deliver electricity from remote clean energy sources to large population centers where it is most needed. Unfortunately, modernizing our nation's electricity grid is proving to be a very slow, costly, and difficult process.

Wind Turbines and Smokestack

Photo: JV Virta Some rights reserved

Community Wind Provides Significant Potential for CO2 Reductions - and Can Be Deployed Now

In the meantime, community wind power can deliver large amounts of renewable energy affordably to many people, and can be deployed now, allowing us to realize clean energy benefits much sooner. Because community wind is often built to serve local energy needs, it doesn't need to wait for new transmission lines. With increasing constraints on regional transmission systems, community wind can play a vital role in meeting demand for renewable energy now, while the large transmission grid is being expanded and upgraded.

The potential to reduce greenhouse gas and other toxicemissions through increased community and small wind development in the U.S. is significant. Community and small wind in the U.S. has the potential to offset the production of over 78.7 billion pounds of CO2 per year - the equivalent of removing nearly 7 million passenger vehicles from the roads, avoiding the burning of nearly 200,000 railcars of coal annually, or taking 8.4 coal-fired power plants out of production.[2]

Community Wind Is Much More Affordable Than Other Energy Sources

If the true cost of polluting were factored into the consumer's price for energy, community and small wind (and other renewables, depending on location) would be the most economic energy choice. Many more projects would be developed, raising the potential greenhouse gas reduction benefits from these sources by a factor of three or four... or more. In a recent study scientists estimate that "the life cycle effects of coal and the waste stream generated are costing the U.S. public a third to over one-half of a trillion dollars annually."[3] If the health and environmental damages suffered from the use of carbon-based fuels were taken into consideration, the price of energy per kWh to consumers would double or triple.

Community wind can deliver greater environmental benefits, in less time and for lower cost than could be delivered by any other form of energy.

In addition, in contrast to traditional sources of electricity, wind power does not use massive amounts of water. Two gallons of water, on average, are consumed by traditional power plants per kWh of electricity for the consumer.[4] The initial potential for community and small wind, if realized, would save over 100 billion gallons of water a year.

These are very significant numbers. With supportive policies in place, community wind, in most parts of the U.S., can deliver greater environmental benefits, in less time and for lower cost than could be delivered by any other form of energy.

So What Are We Waiting For?

Although community wind provides an affordable, abundant, and immediate clean energy option with tremendous benefits to the environment, to rural economies, and to national and local energy security, it still faces many barriers:

  • Economies of scale that work to decrease project costs for wind farms owned by large corporate entities seldom apply to community wind.
  • The primary incentive for wind energy development in the U.S., the Production Tax Credit (PTC), largely excludes community and small wind owners and developers. This unique passive tax credit is geared toward large multi-national corporations with the ability to finance the projects on their balance sheets.
  • Low-cost capital, for financing tasks critical to assessing the likely success of a proposed wind project, is needed long before the project reaches the shovel-ready stage and is extremely difficult for a start-up wind energy business to obtain.
  • Permitting regulations on the local, state, and federal levels tend to be written for large projects with budgets of many tens of millions, where additional costs for permitting studies are a smaller percentage of the whole. Permitting regulations need to be right-sized so as not to over-burden smaller projects unnecessarily.
  • Misinformation about turbine sound, shadow flicker, real estate values, environmental impacts, and other issues has spread unwarranted concern about wind development generally.

What Windustry Is Doing and How You Can Help

For more than 15 years, Windustry has been working to overcome these barriers to community-owned wind energy through advocacy, outreach, technical assistance, and education.

  • Windustry works on the state, regional and national levels to inform and advocate for progressive policies that will stimulate wind development and other forms of renewable energy.
  • Windustry is a clearinghouse of wind energy information, offering an exceptionally broad array of in-depth expertise to those who access our services. We function as a center of information, with networks extending throughout the nation and beyond U.S. borders.
  • Windustry's signature online service, the Community Wind Toolbox, provides practical information to anyone looking to develop community-owned, commercial-scale wind projects. It is an unparalleled resource, with 16 sections of detailed information related to each step of the process in developing a wind project, from inspiration to turbine selection.
  • Windustry has a long history of hosting conferences, webinars, trainings, and other events as way to connect with our constituencies. For example, Windustry has planned and hosted eleven major conferences on community and small wind in regions across the U.S. - five in the past year alone. And each year, Windustry produces and staffs the Wind Energy Centerin the Eco Experience Building of the Minnesota State Fair.
  • Windustry provides direct technical assistance, such as site assessments, wind resource analyses, economic modeling, equipment assessment and advising business set-up, to those seeking to develop a community wind project.

Windustry's vision is for communities to become involved with the production of the energy they consume. In most areas of the U.S. wind is the most cost-effective form of energy (especially when all things, including the costs of pollution, are considered) and, because of the urgency of the climate crisis, its rapid deployment is our highest priority. Windustry envisions wind turbines dotting the outskirts of small towns and in large open spaces of urban areas, such as in mall parking lots or near athletic fields.

Donate Now

Donate now and help Windustry to achieve this vision - and begin seeing real and immediate reduction in CO2 levels. We don't need to wait for the grid to be modernized - we have the knowledge and the technology to realize the potential of community wind right now. Why wait?

 


 

[1] James Hansen, Makiko Sato, Pushker Kharecha, David Beerling, Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Mark Pagani, Maureen Raymo, Dana L. Royer, James C. Zachos. 2008. Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim? (http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0804/0804.1126.pdf)

[2] At least one-quarter to one-half of the estimated 35,000 cities and towns in the U.S.(http://nationalatlas.gov/mld/citiesx.html) have the potential for at least one wind project. Conservatively, the average size for such a wind project is about 2 MW. If a 25% capacity factor is used for the average production of these projects, and if the lower estimate of the number of cities with viable conditions is applied, then the amount of clean energy that could be produced per year is over 37.5 billion kWh. Using the EPA figure of 1.52 lbs of CO2 avoided per kWh of clean energy, this would translate into a reduction of over 57 billion lbs. To this estimate add the potential for reduction from increased small wind development. If just one-quarter of the estimated 2.2 million farms in the U.S. were to install, on average, a 20kW turbine that would produce 26,000 kWh per year (less than a 15 percent capacity factor), the total production would be over 14 billion kWh per year, which would reduce CO2 by over 21.7 billion lbs. per year, for a combined annual total reduction of 78.7 billion lbs of CO2. (http://www.ers.usda.gov/StateFacts/US.HTM)

[3] Paul R. Epstein, Jonathan J. Buonocore, Kevin Eckerle, Michael Hendryx, Benjamin M. Stout III, Richard Heinberg, Richard W. Clapp, Beverly May, Nancy L. Reinhart, Melissa M. Ahern, Samir K. Doshi, and Leslie Glustrom. 2011. Full cost accounting for the life cycle of coal in "Ecological Economics Reviews." Robert Costanza, Karin Limburg & Ida Kubiszewski, Eds. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1219: 73-98.

[4] http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy04osti/33905.pdf

Tom Wind given Inaugural Community Wind Distinguished Service Award

The Windustry Board of Directors is pleased to announce the inauguration and the first recipient of the Distinguished Service in Community Wind Award. This award is given annually to a person who has made an exceptionally significant contribution to the establishment and growth of Community Wind as a uniquely valuable form of clean, renewable energy.

The recipient of this award possesses outstanding dedication, excellence or achievement and has worked over many years to further the goals of community wind and distributed renewable energy. "This person is an exemplary professional and a mentor for others." Lisa Daniels, Windustry, Executive Director stated, "This person is regarded as a creative leader in his/her professional field and embodies methods of practice and aspects of being that we aspire to ourselves."

This first recipient of the Community Wind Distinguished Service Award is: Thomas A. Wind, PE of Wind Utility Consulting, PC based in Jamaica, Iowa. 


Dan Turner, Windustry; Tom Wind, Wind Utility Consulting; Lisa Daniels, Windustry

Mr. Wind was chosen for his years of pioneering work in the field, for his creative and practical clear-sighted leadership, for his willingness to share, and to put in many unpaid hours of effort in mentoring and also in supporting both particular Community Wind projects and the Community Wind industry. Tom's work is varied and spans a huge range from feasibility analysis with Glen Canon, in Waverly Iowa in the 1990's to put up the first municipal owned wind turbine, to leading many technical studies of the distribution grid, to the work with many many groups of rural citizens and farmers to put wind projects in the ground. In presenting the award, Ms. Daniels stated, "Through sharing his expertise as an electrical engineer with extensive utility experience, Mr. Wind has helped communities across the country make wise decisions about wind projects."

Many thanks to peer group: Dan Turner, Windustry; Sue Jones, Community Energy Partners; Larry Flowers, AWEA; Lisa Daniels, Windustry, along with the Windustry Board of Directors for helping to establish the criteria and awardees for this award. 

Kevin Schulte and Jacob Susman given Inaugural Community Wind Innovator Award

Windustry is pleased to announce the establishment and presentation of the Community Wind Innovator Award, which is to be given annually to an individual who has made significant progress over the past two years in forging ahead with new policies, new approaches, new business models or new research to further community and distributed wind energy. This person's ideas and efforts have changed how we think about or perform our work. The recipient of this award:

  • has creative vision about implementing community and distributed wind;
  • is immensely generous in sharing his/her time for the promotion of community and distributed wind;
  • is a person of great heart.

Many thanks to peer group: Dan Turner, Windustry; Sue Jones, Community Energy Partners; Larry Flowers, AWEA; Lisa Daniels, Windusry, along with the Windustry Board of Directors for helping to establish the criteria and awardees for this award.

It is our pleasure to announce two inaugural recipients of this award: Kevin Schulte, CEO of Sustainable Energy Developments and Jacob Susman, CEO of OwnEnergy.

Dan Turner, Windustry; Lisa Daniels, Windustry; Tom Wind, Wind Utility Consulting; Kevin Schulte, Sustainable Energy Developments; Sue Jones, Community Energy Partners; Larry Flowers, AWEA (Jacob Susman not in photo)

Kevin Schulte, CEO and founder of Sustainable Energy Developments in Ontario, NY

Over the past few years Kevin has been instrumental in giving voice to many of the issues and market challenges facing the installation of distributed generation of wind turbines of any size from small to midsize to large commercial machines.

He is a leading voice and active participant on several working committees, being:

  • active in the formation of DWEA and President Elect for 2012;
  • current Chair of the AWEA Community Wind Steering Committee for the Community Wind Committee;
  • an invited member of the NREL Technical Advisory Board;
  • newly elected to the Alliance for Clean Energy of New York board.

 Kevin and SED are working to install distributed wind turbines of all izes throughout the Northeast region. He has created new markets with projects for a diverse collection of entities including municipalities, schools, and ski resorts.

He is working not only on the application of wind technology, but also on business models and relevant policy, such as federal permitting guidelines with US Fish and Wildlife.

Larry Flowers of AWEA noted "Kevin's boundless passion and personal energy for a clean energy future through distributed and community wind is inspiring."

Jacob Susman, CEO and founder of OwnEnergy, Brooklyn, NY 

Jacob Susman has been effective at both the state and federal levels in advancing the Community Wind agenda. He has effectively engaged with US Senator Franken's staff in developing the Community Wind Investment Tax Credit legislation that was introduced into the Senate on Oct 21. 2011, and organized the campaign to sign up 230 stakeholders from more than 30 states to sign-on and support the Franken-Tester legislation. He was program co-chair of the first Distributed Wind/Community Wind conference, was the first chair of the Community Wind Steering Committee and is currently the Community Wind advisor to the AWEA board.

Jacob has ten years of investing and business development experience in the field of renewable energy. He has led OwnEnergy since its inception, including recruiting and managing the team, raising capital, establishing the brand, sourcing new business, developing projects and generating revenue. Jacob is a member of the Leadership Council of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). In 2010, Jacob was named to Crains New York's '40 Under 40'.

"Jacob has been an inspirational leader in forging ahead and leading us forward on the first federal community wind legislation in the US," stated a colleague, Sue Jones, of Community Energy Partners. Jones also said "Jacob has razor-like focus and his determination in achieving his goals." 

Lisa Daniels, Windustry, remarked, "We are extremely pleased to recognize Jacob for his leadership and hard work over the past two years on developing policies to enable Community Wind to move forward."  

Wind Energy Costs Trending Down

“More efficient turbines are generating greater amounts of wind power at lower costs.”

—Peter Asmus,
Pike Research senior analyst

Since 2008 wind turbine prices in the U.S. have fallen by nearly one-third on average, according to a new report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). "Understanding Trends in Wind Turbine Prices Over the Past Decade" examines how $-per-kW costs have declined in recent years, after having previously doubled over the period from 2002 through 2008. Berkeley Lab analyzed price data on a sampling of U.S. wind turbine transactions totaling 23,850 megawatts from 1997 through early 2011.

Wind Energy Cost Drivers

In conjunction with improvements in turbine design and performance, falling turbine prices enable the latest generation of wind power projects to profitably sell electricity at prices well below what was common several years ago. The Berkeley Lab report examines seven primary drivers of wind turbine prices in the United States, with the goal of estimating the degree to which each contributed to the recent trend:

  • Labor costs, which have historically risen during times of tight turbine supply
  • Warranty provisions, which reflect technology performance and reliability
  • Turbine manufacturer profitability, which can impact turbine prices independently of costs
  • Turbine design, which is principally manifested through increased turbine size
  • Raw materials prices, which affect the cost of inputs to the manufacturing process
  • Energy prices, which impact the cost of manufacturing and transporting turbines
  • Foreign exchange rates, which can impact the dollar amount paid for turbines and components imported into the United States

Wind Energy Outlook

The U.S. Department of Energy has set a goal of obtaining 6% of U.S. electricity from wind energy by 2020. That goal is consistent with the overall rate of growth for wind in the U.S., even though the industry has been subject to boom-bust cycles from year to year. According to a new report from Pike Research, total installed wind capacity in North America will more than double over the next six years, increasing from approximately 53,000 megawatts in 2011 to almost 126,000 megawatts by 2017.

"This will be another difficult year for wind power in North America, but we do see signs of recovery," says Peter Asmus, Pike Research senior analyst. "Larger, more efficient turbines are generating greater amounts of wind power at lower costs, and both the U.S. and Canadian governments have shown strong commitment to the wind industry during this challenging economic time."

Wind energy generation costs have declined over time to a current range of 6-9 cents per kilowatt-hour with an average of 8.2 cents, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Researchers and policy-makers are looking for ways to continue to lower the kilowatt hour cost of wind energy systems for effective growth and for related economic benefits.

Wind Energy Research

Researchers at Iowa State Univesity with wind blade

Iowa State University researchers with TPI Composites turbine blade
photo: Iowa State University


One research project is finding better ways to manufacture wind turbine components in the U.S. through a joint project of Iowa State University's Wind Energy Manufacturing Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories, and TPI Composites, a blade manufacturer. The researchers are using high-precision lasers to analyze wind turbine blades for minor defects and working to improve wind blade design and fabrication techniques.

The researchers' goal is to develop new, low-cost manufacturing systems that could improve the productivity of turbine blade factories by as much as 35 percent, which would support an avearge cost reduction to 6 cents per kilowatt hour by 2020. "Manufacturing in this industry is done largely by hand," says associate professor Frank Peters. "Our goal is to find ways to automate the manufacturing."

Information Resources

Use the following links for more information from cited sources:

Berkeley Lab report - "Understanding Trends in Wind Turbine Prices Over the Past Decade"

National Renewable Energy Laboratory - Open Energy Information

Pike Research - Wind Energy Outlook for North America

Iowa State University - Wind Energy Manufacturing Lab helps Iowa State engineers improve wind power

2010 Wind Technologies Market Report

U.S. Department of Energy logoThe U.S. Department of Energy released the  "2010 Wind Technologies Market Report,"  prepared by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, providing a comprehensive overview of trends in the U.S. wind power market.  Despite a trying year in which wind power capacity additions declined significantly compared to both 2008 and 2009, the U.S. remained one of the fastest-growing wind power markets in the world in 2010-second only to China-according to the report.

Wind power comprised 25% of new U.S. electric capacity additions in 2010.

Wind power comprised 25% of new U.S. electric capacity additions in 2010 and represented $11 billion in new investment. Wind power contributes more than 10% of total electricity generation in four states, and provides more than 2% of total U.S. electricity supply.

2010 Wind Technologies Market Report cover

Roughly 5 GW of new wind power capacity were connected to the U.S. grid in 2010, compared to nearly 10 GW in 2009 and more than 8 GW in 2008. "The delayed impact of the global financial crisis, relatively low natural gas and wholesale electricity prices, and slumping overall demand for energy combined to slow demand for new wind power installations in 2010," said Ryan Wiser, a scientist at Berkeley Lab and one of the authors of the study.

Some key findings of the study include:

  • Due to the size and promise of the U.S. market, wind turbine manufacturers continued to localize production domestically in 2010, despite the relatively slow year.
  • A growing percentage of the equipment used in U.S. wind power projects is domestically manufactured.
  • Wind turbine prices have declined substantially since 2008.
  • Technological advancements have improved wind turbine performance, particularly at lower wind speed sites.
  • Turbine price reductions, coupled with improved turbine technology, are expected to exert downward pressure on total project costs and wind power prices over time.
  • Looking ahead, projections are for modest growth in 2011 and 2012.

Berkeley Lab's contributions to this report were funded by the Wind & Water Power Program, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy of the U.S. Department of Energy.  The full report ("2010 Wind Technologies Market Report"), a presentation slide deck that summarizes the report, and an Excel workbook that contains much of the data underlying the report, can all be downloaded from the Berkely Lab website.

Windustry Rolls Out New Curriculum for Installers

Seventeen Minnesota community and technical college instructors recently took part in Train-the-Trainer sessions on a new curriculum for Small Wind Energy Systems and are now prepared to offer courses on the subject.

The six-credit course material was produced by Windustry and written by experts, with support from the MN Office of Energy Security. It is the first of its kind in the country, designed to prepare installers for the written portion of the exam by North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

Such training provides much needed workforce development for an expanding small wind industry. This course focused on energy systems with nameplate capacity of up to 100kW and are optimum for residential scale use.

Certification in this field will quickly become the expectation and good training is needed. NABCEP Certified installers must be able to specify, configure, install, inspect, and maintain a small wind energy system

—Alissa Harrington, Windustry Community and Small Wind Analyst

The curriculum covers the entire installation process, from marketing to follow-up maintenance, and includes assistance in establishing an apprenticeship within Minnesota dealer networks. This is a key component, as Windustry staffer Alissa Harrington said the NABCEP test requires candidates be involved in four installations in a “responsibility” position.

Curriculum authors Mick Sagrillo and Roy Butler are seasoned installers and instructors. They presented the material over two-weeks at the University of MN, Morris. They have also made it available for use by the instructors who teach in Albert Lea, Cloquet, Brainerd, Bemidji, and other areas across the State.

Windustry Creates Essential Curriculum for Small Wind Installers

 

 

The six-credit course is first of its kind in the country

With support from the MN Office of Energy Security, Windustry has created a standardized curriculum for Small Wind Installers, unique in that it covers what’s needed for certification. The six-credit course materials will provide much-needed workforce development for an expanding Small Wind industry. 

Windustry and University of MN Morris will host 20 Minnesota community and technical college instructors this summer to rollout the curriculum in train-the-trainer sessions.

Small wind experts Mick Sagrillo and Roy Butler are the curriculum authors; they have formatted the material to be presented in both a traditional classroom environment and online. Sagrillo and Butler will introduce the materials to the trainers from Albert Lea, Cloquet, Brainerd, Bemidji, and other areas across the State.

Certification benefits the industry as a whole

This is the first curriculum of its kind in the country designed to prepare students to test for Small Wind Installer Certification by North American Board of Certified Energy Professionals (NABCEP). 

The training will equip instructors to create their own courses based on the curriculum. Students will learn about the entire installation process, from marketing to follow-up maintenance. The training also includes assistance in establishing an “apprenticeship” within Minnesota dealer networks.

Small Wind turbines generate up to 100 kW and are optimum for residential scale use. They represent a growing US market; 78 percent in 2008 and 15 percent in 2009, and two-thirds of the manufacturers are American companies.

New Report Looks at New Business Models for Community Wind

(January, 2011) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) has released a 34-page report to the public: "Community Wind: Once Again Pushing the Envelope of Project Finance," by Dr. Mark Bolinger. The report describes innovative financing and organizational structures for five community wind projects constructed in 2010.

Bolinger said the purpose of the report is two-fold: (1) to disseminate useful information on these new financial structures, most of which are widely replicable; and (2) to highlight the recent policy changes – many of them temporary unless extended – that have facilitated this innovation.

In most cases, the projects are first-of-their-kind structures that could serve as useful templates for both community and commercial wind alike. Community Wind "has historically served as a 'test bed' or 'proving grounds' not only for up-and-coming wind turbine manufacturers trying to break into the broader U.S. wind market, but also for wind project financing structures," Bolinger stated.

Fox Island Wind, Sugarloaves and Brown's Head Light by Ivan Storck
Fox Islands Wind, Sugarloaves and Brown's Head Light, Vinalhaven, Maine, photo: Ivan Storck


"In addition to its significance as an engaging story – i.e., a photogenic island wind power project that overcame significant logistical hurdles to reduce local electricity costs – the Fox Islands Wind project is also significant in the way it was financed," states the report. "Most notably, the 20-year RUS term loan is the first loan that the RUS has offered to a wind project on a project finance basis. It is also, therefore, the first time that a low-interest RUS loan has been combined with federal tax incentives and investors interested in those incentives. Combining these two historically separate instruments of finance – i.e., low-cost government debt and tax equity leveraging federal tax incentives – helped make even this relatively expensive project (at least on a $/MW installed cost basis) financeable."

The report and a Powerpoint presentation can be downloaded at no charge

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