The sector of the economy responsible for the most greenhouse gas emissions is the power sector, and the source that produces the largest share of our electricity and the bulk of greenhouse gases is coal. Community renewables are the most rapidly deployable form of green energy, because they require minimal upgrades to the transmission grid. Community renewables also provide the most economic benefit to their communities, since more of the dollars saved and made stay in the local community.
Our Mission Statement
Windustry's mission is to promote sustainable energy solutions and empower communities to develop and own clean energy assets. As an independent voice acting in support of communities, we work, through education, outreach and advocacy, to advance broad community ownership of renewable energy. Windustry is an Equal Opportunity Provider.
Windustry has provided high quality wind energy information to varied audiences of farmers, rural landowners, elected officials, utility representatives, community planners, farm management educators, and bankers since the mid-1990s. Windustry was originally developed as a project of the nonprofit Sustainable Resources Center based in Minneapolis, funded by the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources for two bienniums. In 1999 Windustry began a transition to broaden its scope and expand its target audience beyond the state of Minnesota. Windustry is now a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization partnered with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), another nonprofit organization that promotes resilient family farms, rural communities and ecosystems around the world through research and education, science and technology, and advocacy.
Here's a timeline.
- Cindy Webster - Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties
- David Benson - Farmer, Nobles County Commissioner
- David Kolsrud - Farmer, Agri-Energy LLC; DAK Renewable Energy
- Ed DeMeo - President, Renewable Energy Consulting Services, Inc.
- Carita Zimmerman - Financial Consultancy for Non-Profits
- Lisa Daniels - Executive Director and Founder, Windustry
Windustry's programs include
- Community Wind Energy Advocacy
- Distributed Renewables Advocacy
- Small and Community Renewable Development Resources
- Education and Outreach
- Technical Assistance and Analysis
Wind Energy Advocacy
The fast-paced expansion of the wind energy industry leads to new challenges daily and Windustry is committed to seeking solutions that benefit rural landowners and communities. Not only does wind energy provide clean, emissions-free, locally produced electricity, but it also creates economic development in the form of new jobs, new industry, new revenue through electricity sales, and associated growth and spending. Windustry seeks to promote wind energy in ways that help capitalize on these opportunities to diversify and revitalize rural economies.
Long-term, sustainable growth of the wind industry depends on support and enthusiasm for wind development in windy regions. To this end, we believe that residents of these areas must be well informed about their options and have the opportunity to be full partners in this growing industry.
To help rural communities harness the economic potential of wind energy, Windustry works to develop information and tools for evaluating wind energy easement contracts, landowner options, and economic development impacts of wind energy. We also customize our outreach efforts for landowners, farm and agricultural organizations, local elected officials, economic development organizations, and rural utilities.
“Wind is homegrown energy that we can harvest right along side our corn or soybeans or other crops. Farm-based energy is one of the few bright spots on the rural landscape and growing the market for it can only benefit rural communities.”
—David Benson, Farmer, County Commissioner, and Windustry Board Member, Nobles County Minnesota
Wind power development comes in many shapes and sizes, but local or community ownership of wind turbines contributes most significantly to local economic development benefits. Essentially, Community Wind means that one or more members of the local community have a significant financial stake in the project. Examples of Community Wind projects include farmer-owned wind turbines, school wind projects, municipal utility or rural electric cooperative wind installations, and tribal community wind projects. At Windustry, we encourage community wind projects by developing practical tools, information, and expertise to help communities and landowners evaluate and implement community wind projects.
We welcome your questions and comments. Please see our staff directory for details about and contact information for specific staff members. You can support our work by making a donation to Windustry today! For more information or to provide feedback on our materials and activities, please contact us.