• Save the Date! Windustry's 2008 Community Wind Conference is Set for April 14-16, 2008

    Join Windustry in Albany, NY for the premier national conference bringing agriculture and wind energy together to advance opportunities for locally-owned clean energy production and rural economic development. We will share experiences and information to harness the growing momentum for new models, new policies and new projects.

    Click here to go to the official conference web page!

    What is Community Wind? Community wind energy projects come in many shapes and sizes, all sharing significant elements of local ownership and participation (public or private). This new economic opportunity for rural communities can build support for renewable energy in general while maximizing the local economic benefits of wind energy development.

    What to expect at Community Wind Energy 2008:

    • See a snapshot of what community wind and other clean energy can mean in your community.
    • Hear from wind experts, agricultural producers, tribes, and rural landowners who have developed community wind projects.
    • Meet potential project financers.
    • Engage in discussions about all sizes of wind turbines—from home and farm scale machines to mid-size and commercial-scale machines.
    • Shop the extensive wind industry exhibit floor.
    • Gather to advance the dialogue on what’s next for community wind!

    Who will attend?
    Rural landowners, elected officials, farmers, ranchers, business leaders, tribal representatives, economic development professionals, lenders, bankers, city planners, and community leaders will be in attendance.

    The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is a partnering sponsor of this event.

    For more information, contact Windustry:

    Click the link below to download a printable version of this flyer.

    Click here to sign up for our email list if you'd like to receive updates as they're available!

  • Windustry Newsletter - Spring 1999

    Spring 1999 Newsletter


    Minnesota Wind Breakthrough

    The future of wind in Minnesota became much brighter January 21, 1999, with the promise of 400 MW to be built by 2012. Rejecting Northern State Power's analysis, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) decided with a vote of 4-0 that the development of an additional 400 MW of wind is in the public interest. "The public demand for clean, renewable energy was recognized in this decision," said Bill Grant, Director of the Midwest Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America. The PUC deliberations had received substantial public attention, including unprecedented public hearings in St. Cloud, Moorhead, Winona, Pipestone, Mankato, and St. Paul. Citizen testimony was overwhelmingly in favor of moving forward with wind development, in which Minnesota is seen as a national leader in wind energy production and technology. John Dunlop, Great Plains Representative for American Wind Energy Association, said "With the completion of the initial 425 MW required by state law and the additional 400 MW ordered by the PUC, wind businesses will provide as much electricity as used by one out of every six Minnesota households."

    NSP is currently contracting projects for the first 425 MW as defined by the 1994 Prairie Island legislative agreement. The agreement called for 400 additional MW to be built if wind power was deter-mined to be the least cost option and in the public interest. Dunlop said, "The PUC has affirmed the state’s leadership in a transition to clean, renewable energy."


    Governor Ventura meets with citizens and students from SW Minnesota

    Newly elected Governor Jesse Ventura and Government Relations staff Joe Bagnoli, sat down with concerned citizens and leadership from Southwest Minnesota, students from Lake Benton High School, and wind and environmental advocates with the SEED coalition, to hear concerns over the future of wind energy in Minnesota. On January 13, one week before the PUC wind decision, citizens and advocates appealed to the Governor to promote wind development in Minnesota, especially in counties hard hit by low agricultural prices. Ventura agreed that a deal was a deal and NSP should hold up their side of the bargain. Concerns were also raised regarding the Renewable Development Fund, specifically where the funds were and how they could be accessed. Afterwards, meeting participants lobbied various members of the Senate and House to favor and support increased wind development and clean environmental standards in Minnesota.

    1999 Legislative Watch

    A Renewable Development Fund is to be established as part of the Northern States Power (NSP) Prairie Island legislative agreement of 1994. According to the 1994 statute, $500,000 must be paid per dry cask per year, if the nuclear waste remained on the island beyond 1998. This means $3.5 million this year and probably $4.5 million next year. Who is going to administrate this fund and how are some of the questions to be answered this session. NSP is of the opinion that fund is an internal one that the company itself would control it. The SEED coalition (Sustainable Energy for Economic Development) is holding the positions that the process must be "publicly accountable" and that the fund must have a "strong preference" for projects in Minnesota.

    On The Windustry Trail
    Don't sign on the dotted line until...

    In March, Windustry conducted a series of Town Meetings on Wind Rights. Landowners were presented with a outline of legal contract considerations to help them identify issues before signing wind easement contracts. Meetings were held in Pipestone, Lake Benton, Slayton, Moorhead and St. Charles. More town meetings, Harvesting the Wind: A Landowners Perspective are being held in early April in Lake Wilson. These meetings are intended to provide even more opportunities for landowners to discuss issues and gather information on the wind development that is taking place in Southwest Minnesota. We have wind energy experts, banking and economic development professionals as speakers to talk about the benefits of the various payment options, tax implications, long term value of the land, and different ways of developing wind projects that include local ownership. All the meetings are free and open to the public.

     

    Click on the link below for a pdf version.

  • Minnesota Transmission Owners Notice of Public Meetings

    Minnesota electric utilities with transmission lines in the state are required by law to conduct transmission planning and identify reasonably foreseeable inadequacies in the electric transmission system.  This process is particularly important for local government officials, but the general public is also encouraged to participate, and Community Wind advocates may want to pay particular attention as access to adequate transmission is often a key element for the success of a project.

    In order to inform the public of the planning process and to solicit input from the public on possible inadequacies and activities that may affect demand for electricity, a series of webcasts will be held in mid-September.  Each webcast relaties to a discrete portion of the state.  Complete details for dates, times and access can be found in the attachments to this article.  

    The Public Utilities Commission requires a report on this planning process every two years.  This is a reporting year, with the report being due November 1.  

  • Going Grid Neutral at California Schools

    2008: State and Consumer Services Agency Secretary Rosario Marin  announced the release of California's "grid neutral" guidebook; a step-by-step guide to help California schools and community colleges cut energy costs through on-site electricity generation.

    The program was spearheaded by the California State Architect and a team of environmental experts. It is the first comprehensive program for schools to use to create campuses that generate as much electrical energy as they consume in a year.

    Windustry staff thought that it might be useful to share these ideas with a wider audience.  While there is only a small segment specifically about wind energy, many ideas contained in this guidebook could be useful in other states. Please follow the link at more information for access to the full report and the full press release.

  • New energy grant could help jump start rural Kansas in renewable energy and energy efficiency

    As Ray Hammarlund, director of energy programs at the KCC, explained to CEP, the grant money will be used to help rural Kansas entities apply for existing federal funds to implement renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. The focus will be applying for CREBS and 9006 grants.

    CREBs stands for Clean and Renewable Energy Bonds - basically interest-free loans for financing qualified energy projects. They are funded by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, through the federal Production Tax Credit for wind and solar. Rural electric cooperatives, municipal electric utilities, and government entities (including tribal councils) are eligible. (If the PTC is not renewed these funds are in jeopardy.)

    9006 rural development funds come through the Farm Bill. They provide grants and loans to agricultural producers and rural small business for assistance with renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. Rural areas with populations of 50,000 or less (and that’s most of KS, except for about six or seven counties, right?) are eligible.

    The one-time funds are a first step in Hammarlund’s larger plan - to make such applications a long-term part of the Kansas Energy Office.

    “These are established federal funds,” he says. “Kansas is not claiming its share. We can’t let that happen.”

    Other neighboring states have filed far more applications, and reaped much larger awards per grant.

    “Last year Kansas filed 12 applications for a total of $232,000,” Hammarlund says. “Nebraska filed 102 applications for $12 million. Iowa filed 55 applications and was awarded $17 million. Kansas absolutely needs to get in on these programs.”

    Part of the grant funds will go to hiring a person to be a go-between Kansas applicants and the federal funding entities. The job will also include analyzing other states’ successful applications, and strategizing how the grant and loan funds can be tailored to Kansas’s own energy situation. Hammarlund is already interviewing candidates for the job.

    “Our office has so many great partners who are helping this program off the ground - Department of Commerce, Small Business, K-State Research and Extension - there’s so many,” Hammarlund said. “The key will be getting this expertise centralized, with one person dedicated to tracking it and then helping Kansas applicants take advantage of the fantastic resources that this state already has in terms of energy.”

    What does a successful application look like? While Hammarlund wants to wait on some of the analysis before he fully answers this question, he does have a pretty good idea already. Community wind projects are a definite possibility. Solar projects might be right for some communities. Energy efficiency is also important.

    “Energy efficiency - saving energy - is always low-hanging fruit,” Hammarlund said. “Some of the smaller areas don’t have as many resources to make these programs happen. Getting grants or loans could really jump start their programs.”

    Interested in knowing more, or being one of the communities that applies for these grants? Call the KCC at 785-271-3100 and ask for Ray Hammarlund.

  • Southern Minnesota Federal Grants Workshop-Rochester, MN-December 3

    The purpose of this workshop is to connect citizens in southern Minnesota with grant opportunities with the goal of enhancing opportunity and prosperity for all citizens in southern Minnesota. 

    By convening representatives from federal, state and local agencies with community based organizations, this workshop will foster the sharing of information and strategies relating to applying for and obtaining federal grants.  During this day long workshop, participants will hear about available resources, learn how to research grant opportunities, review best practices in grant writing, and discover current trends in funding.

    One of the breakout session tracks in this workshop is titled "Energizing Communities through Alternative Energy."  Representatives of the US Dept. of Energy, MN Dept. of Commerce State Energy Office, Joel Haskard of CERTS and Lisa Noty of USDA Rural Development have been invited to provide leadership for this track.  They will have resources, both financial and informational to share with attendees.

    Plenary speakers will focus on the process of seeking grant funding both at the federal and state levels.  The event is hosted by Congressman Tim Walz who will provide the keynote address.  Please see the attached workshop brochure for further information.

  • Phase I of Minnesota Dispersed Renewable Generation study available

    The passage of the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007 by the Minnesota State Legislature and Tim Pawlenty requires a study of the potential for dispersed renewable generation statewide. The study consists of two parts, Phase I and Phase II, which focus on installing a total of 1200MW of new dispersed renewable energy projects with a minimal impact on the transmission grid. As determined by the legislation, project sizes under consideration are limited to between 10 and 40MW. For the study the state is split into six regions while focusing on the five out-state regions - the NW, NE, W-C, SW and SE - for potential for dispersed generation The Minnesota utilities affected by the 25x25' (25% by 2025) renewable energy standard are performing the analytical work with oversight by the projects Technical Review Committee (TRC).

    On June, 16th 2008 the results of Phase I of the study were released. The first phase of the study, the appendices, and the presentation slides for the study's release can be found at the Minnesota Department of Commerce page.

  • GE Study Finds Tax Revenues from Wind Farms Offset Tax Incentive

    Confused by the rhetoric on all sides of the current debate over whether or not to renew the federal renewable energy Production Tax Credit? Would you like to be able to address the issue in an informed and persuasive manner?

    A study released in June by GE Energy Financial Services finds that, over the average 20-year projected life-span of a wind project, the revenue streams to the federal treasury from the construction and operation of the wind project result in a net gain to the federal government even given the current cost of the federal production tax credit (PTC).

    The study was based on projects becoming operational in 2007. By the end of the 20-year project life-span assumed in the study, the $2.5 billion investment by the federal government in these projects through the PTC (the study assumed that the federal government would borrow this money and includes those borrowing costs) would show a return of $250 million. Averaged over the life of the projects, this would represent approximately a 5% per annum return on investment. Most of this return would, however, be realized in the last half of the expected life of these projects. Read the report summary, which also hints at the local economic and ecological benefits not included in the study's calculations, for more details.

    Addendum:  8/8/2008 - a very good and readable critique of this GE report was posted on LeonardoEnergy on 7/17.  It's worth reading as a follow-up. 

     

  • Renewable Energy Business Education Announcement

    Windustry has a variety of connections to the many organizations that encourage the growth and expansion of community wind energy development. Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA is one such institution. Their announcement of a new educational program which we thought might be of interest to many visitors to our website follows.

    Saint Francis University Graduate School of Business, Loretto, Pa. is pleased to announce it will be offering a new course - Wind Energy Business. This pioneering curriculum is the first in a timely series of four courses in a renewable energy business development certificate program. Beginning September 11, 2008, this offering will be presented on-line, with no on-campus requirements and is tailored for professionals interested in this exciting new field.

    The on-line series begins with a course entitled "Introduction to Wind I" which will consist of 10 weekly two hour on line live sessions presented by Mr. Dan Ancona (an internationally recognized renewable and wind energy expert). Each session will be archived so that students may view the sessions at any time (24/7) if they are unable to participate in the live session. Also, the programs will be accessible from any location that has internet access.

    Academic credit is available to those enrolled in graduate or undergraduate program at Saint Francis University.

    For more details (including a biography of Mr. Dan Ancona) regarding this innovative and timely program, please visit the Saint Francis University website at http://www.francis.edu/mbahome.htm

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