"Getting Landowners through the First Steps: Land use decisions now have repercussions that stretch decades into the future" by William Opalka, North American WINDPOWER, Volume 2, Number 3, April 2005.
"Major US Utility Facilitates Citizen Wind Power," Windpower Monthly, May 2006, Vol. 22, No. 5, pp. 29-30. "In an American twist to the European model of community scale wind power development, huge Midwest utility Xcel Energy is facilitating the birth of a broad popular movement in local ownership of small scale wind projects." Windustry executive director Lisa Daniels contributed to this article on the impact of C-BED (Community-Based Energy Development) on wind energy projects in Minnesota.
Minnesota's wind-power industry is picking up speed.
By Mary Hoff
Photography by Michael Petersen
The sight could well make you feel as though you've awakened in a surrealistic world - one in which past, present, and future have been cut up and pasted together into a single scene, like those collages schoolchildren make for book reports and social studies projects. At your feet, fat-leaved soybeans stand in tidy, timeless rows. Above, the achingly blue sky, interrupted here and there by scudding clouds, stretches from horizon to horizon. Connecting the two are hundreds - count 'em, hundreds - of skyscraping white towers, each standing 10 times as tall as the faded farmhouse on the side of the road, each holding aloft a gigantic propellerlike device turning cartwheels in the wind.
Read the article:
Mary Hoff, Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, November-December 2003.
Harvesting The Wind
by Kindra Gordon
Looking for another crop to harvest? Consider the wind. Wind turbines are compatible with raising crops, forages and livestock, says Lisa Daniels, director of Windustry, a Minnesota-based organization devoted to educating landowners about wind energy. They take less than 2% of the land out of production, and it's an additional source of revenue. With wind energy potential pegged at 10,777 billion
Read article, Hay and Forage Grower, March 1, 2004
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.
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!
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 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.
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.
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.