• Wind Resource Maps and Estimates Show Increased Potential for United States

    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and consulting firm AWS Truewind, LLC have developed new wind resource maps and wind potential tables for the United States, the first comprehensive update of wind energy potential since 1993. The analysis indicates that wind resources in the U.S. are greater than previous estimates, up to three times more than previous estimates with the potential to generate up to 37 million gigawatt hours annually.

    U.S. Wind Resource Map
     

    Accurate information about the wind resource and the wind energy potential in each state is required for federal and state policy initiatives that will expand the use of wind energy in the United States. For planning installations of wind turbines and development of wind farms, it's important to know if the wind resource for a location is adequate. From wind resource maps, it can be determined if an area of interest should be further explored.

    Areas with annual average wind speeds around 6.5 m/s and greater at 80-m height are generally considered to have suitable wind resource for wind development. NREL has conducted a preliminary review and validation of the AWS Truewind's 80-m map estimates for 19 selected states (6 Western states, 6 Midwestern states, and 7 Eastern states) based on tower measurements at heights of about 50 m and above from more than 300 locations.

    Wind potential tables, graphs, and maps are available for the contiguous United States and for each state. NREL also produced graphs showing the wind resource potential above a given gross capacity factor at both 80-m and 100-m heights.

    U.S. Total and State by State Wind Energy Estimates

    Wind Maps and Wind Resource Potential Estimates on the Wind Powering America web site

    US Wind Potential Estimates on the AWS Truewind web site

  • States Advancing Wind Peer Network

    Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) would like to invite you to join a new States Advancing Wind Peer Network group as part of the DOE's Wind Powering America State Outreach Project. The goal of this initiative is to create a peer-to-peer network for sharing information on the merits, approaches, best program practices, and policy tools available for states to accelerate wind project development. The information that will be provided will include briefing papers and notices of in-depth webinars on specific topics such as best siting practices, innovative policy tools, and emerging finance mechanisms for wind projects, as well as real-time information on state wind activities. The objective is to provide objective, quality, targeted information for state officials and those interested in state wind policy, not to overwhelm you with too much information too frequently - and to seed opportunities for collaboration.

    The goal of DOE's Wind Powering America project is to rapidly accelerate the market penetration of wind technology to secure the substantial energy, economic, environmental, and national security benefits for America. The Department has chosen to work with 25 diverse states and organizations to promote information sharing, including CESA - whose role is to work with state agencies and officials across the nation to advance outreach efforts and to provide targeted technical assistance.

    Clean Energy States Alliance is a nonprofit organization representing leading state clean energy programs across the country. Established in 2002, CESA works with over 20 state clean energy funds and programs. CESA assists its members in multi-state strategies to develop and promote clean energy technologies and to create and expand markets for these technologies.

    To join the listserv, please send an contact  Anne Margolis  with "Wind Listserv" in the subject line and include your contact information.

     

  • U.S. Wind Energy Expanded Nearly 10 GW in 2009

    Washington, D.C., January 26, 2010 - The U.S. wind energy industry broke all previous records by installing nearly 10,000 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity in 2009 (enough to serve over 2.4 million homes) according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) in its “Year End 2009 Market Report.”

    The 9,922 MW installed last year expand the nation's wind plant fleet by 39% and bring total wind power generating capacity in the U.S to over 35,000 MW. The five-year average annual growth rate for the industry is now 39%, up from 32% between 2003 and 2008. U.S. wind projects today generate enough to power the equivalent of 9.7 million homes, protecting consumers from fuel price volatility and strengthening our energy security.

    “The U.S. wind energy industry shattered all installation records in 2009, chalking up the Recovery Act as a historic success in creating jobs, avoiding carbon, and protecting consumers,”

    —Denise Bode, AWEA CEO

    “The U.S. wind energy industry shattered all installation records in 2009, chalking up the Recovery Act as a historic success in creating jobs, avoiding carbon, and protecting consumers,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “But U.S. wind turbine manufacturing — the canary in the mine — is down compared to last year's levels, and needs long-term policy certainty and market pull in order to grow. We need to set hard targets, in the form of a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), in order to provide the necessary stability for manufacturers to expand their U.S. operations and to seize the historic opportunity we have today to build up a thriving renewable energy industry.”

    America's wind power fleet will avoid an estimated 62 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, equivalent to taking 10.5 million cars off the road, and will conserve approximately 20 billion gallons of water annually, which would otherwise be withdrawn for steam or cooling in conventional power plants.

    Texas again gained the largest amount of new capacity bringing the state past the 9-GW mark. Iowa now has a total of 3,670 MW installed, consolidating its position as #2, behind Texas and ahead of California. With several large wind farms added, Washington pulled ahead of Minnesota in the ranking of top five states. Thirty-six states, including Arizona for the first time, now have utility-scale wind installations and fourteen of them have more than 1,000 MW of wind power capacity. 

    The “Year End 2009 Market Report” along with wind energy projects information is available at the American Wind Energy Association web site.

  • Community Renewable Energy Deployment Projects Funded by DOE

    Washington, DC, January 21, 2010 - U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today the selection of five projects to receive more than $20.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support deployment of community-based renewable energy projects, such as biomass, wind and solar installations. These projects will promote investment in clean energy infrastructure that will create jobs, help communities provide long-term renewable energy and save consumers money. They will also serve as models for other local governments, campuses or small utilities to replicate, allowing other communities to design projects that fit their individual size and energy demands.

    "Smaller, more localized renewable energy systems need to play a role in our comprehensive energy portfolio."

    —Steven Chu, U.S. Dept.
    of Energy Secretary

    “Smaller, more localized renewable energy systems need to play a role in our comprehensive energy portfolio,” said Secretary Chu. “These projects will help create jobs, expand our clean energy economy, and help us cut carbon pollution at the local level.”

    The selected projects will be leveraged with approximately $167 million in local government and private industry funding. DOE estimates that these projects will provide enough clean, renewable energy to displace the emissions of approximately 10,700 homes.

    Projects selected for awards include:

    City of Montpelier (Montpelier, VT)
    This project will further Montpelier's energy goals by supporting installation of a 41 MMBtu combined heat and power district energy system fueled with locally-sourced renewable and sustainably-harvested wood chips. The CHP system will be sized to provide heating to the Vermont Capitol Complex, city owned schools, the City Hall Complex, and up to 156 buildings in the community's designated downtown district for a total of 176 buildings and 1.8 million square feet served. By providing 1.8 million KWh of power to the grid, the system will maximize its operating efficiency and reduce thermal costs for users in the community. Montpelier will conduct outreach to encourage replication regionally and nationally through its project partners, the Biomass Energy Resource Center, the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, and Veolia Energy North America. DOE share: $8,000,000 

    Forest County Potawatomi Tribe (Forest County, WI)
    The Forest County Potowatomi Tribe proposes to implement an integrated renewable energy deployment plan that will provide heating, cooling and electricity for the Tribe's governmental buildings, displacing natural gas and propane. The renewable energy installations will include: a 1.25 MW biomass combined heat and power facility that will provide heating, cooling and electricity; a biogas digester and 150 kW generation facility; three 100 kW wind turbines (788,400 kWh/year); and three dual-axis 2.88 kW solar PV panels (14,000 kWh/yr) located at the Tribe's Governmental Center. DOE share: $2,500,000

    Phillips County (Holyoke, CO)
    This project proposes a community-owned 30 MW wind energy project with an ultimate goal to build a 650MW wind farm within Sedgwick, Phillips, and Logan counties in Northeastern Colorado. This project will impact the local economy by sharing the project's revenues with local landowners and other project participants, by generating local jobs, substantial property taxes, and providing clean renewable energy for the area's primary communities. Plans for sharing this ownership model are part of the business plan and will be coordinated with DOE to increase national delivery of the message. DOE share: $2,500,000

     Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) (Sacramento, CA)
    SMUD will install the state's first-ever ‘Solar Highway', which will feature three PV system installations on 2 miles of highway right-of-ways (300kW of concentrating PV, and 400 and 800 kW of flat plate PV distributed at 2 sites), with total capacity of 1.5 MW. SMUD will also install a full scale co-digestion process of fats, oil and grease (FOG) and liquid food processing waste with sewage to produce biogas with estimated power recovery of 1 - 3 MW, and install two low-NOx anaerobic digesters fed by two dairy facilities that will produce 500 kW of combined heat and power, and generate 600 kW of electricity through a molten carbonate fuel cell. The projects will demonstrate that solar PV and anaerobic digesters can be readily implemented through collaborative partnerships, and avoid siting issues and transmission constraints that pose barriers to renewable energy capacity additions. SMUD will partner with the State of California (CEC, CalTrans, and CARB) and DOE to promote replication of their approaches, technologies and implementation strategies statewide and nationally. DOE share: $5,000,000

    University of California at Davis (Davis, CA)
    UC Davis' proposed Waste-to-Renewable Energy (WTRE) system is one component of a campus oriented mixed housing and commercial development venture. The system would generate power from a renewable biogas fed fuel cell. The organic waste will enter a receiving station in which it can be collected and prepared for digestion. Once the appropriate mix has been created in buffer tanks, the waste will flow to the reactor where methanogenic bacteria will generate methane and carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, etc. These gases will flow to the Bio-methane Upgrade System for hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide removal, so that cleanup is to a level appropriate for use in a fuel cell system, and the cleaned gas is stored. Housed alongside the WTRE system within the Community Energy Park will be an advanced storage battery and a 300kW fuel cell that will be fueled by the on-site biogas and provides electric power to West Village end-users. DOE share: $2,500,000 

  • CERTs Seed Grants in Minnesota

    The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) project has awarded CERTs seed grants of up to $11,000 to help projects garner further funding and bring communities together in identifying and implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. CERTs received 122 proposals, of which 55 proposals were funded for a total granting amount of $280,000.

    “CERTs provides these seed grants with two primary objectives in mind: to encourage implementation of community-based clean energy projects across the state, and to provide an educational forum for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and their economic, community and ecological benefits,” said Lissa Pawlisch, CERTs Statewide Coordinator.

    Project funding will put Minnesotans to work by supporting technical assistance labor services, such as for a consultant, design professional, installer or student labor, for projects across the state in all seven Minnesota CERT regions: Central, Metro, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest and West Central. 

    Four of the CERTS seed grants benefited Community Wind and small wind projects in Minnesota:

    Damstrom Farm: Wind Energy Project
    Alexandria, MN - Craig Damstrom is building a 3 MW community wind project outside of Alexandria, MN. Energy generated will power the Damstrom Farm's irrigation needs and will supply energy for use by the local community. After turbine installation, all wells and irrigators will be run by green power, with excess energy sold to the utility to power other local farmers irrigation needs, homes and businesses. The project will increase local knowledge of the benefits of wind energy, create jobs for local contractors working on the project, and offer green energy to co-op area customers. (Clean Energy; $3,750)

    Mahtomedi Area Green Initiative: Zephyr Wind Project
    Mahtomedi, MN - The Zephyr Wind Project seeks to bring renewable energy, future-focused educational experiences and a vision for a more sustainable community to the Mahtomedi area through the installation of a 10kW wind turbine. The project is a grassroots effort led by the Mahtomedi Area Green Initiative, a volunteer citizen group that has been working together since 2006 to encourage enduring community commitment to sustainability. This will be MAGI's first renewable energy project and will pave the way for other renewable energy and energy efficiency projects aimed at bringing our community together around the common theme of reducing our carbon footprint and building a more sustainable community. The seed grant funding will be used for system installation and electrical and trenching labor, paired with fundraising efforts. (Clean Energy, Education & Research; $5,000)

    Mesabi Range Community & Technical College: Wind Energy Technology Turbine
    Eveleth, MN - The Mesabi Range Community and Technical College has secured funding for a Morphic ST-20 wind turbine that will provide students in the Wind Energy Technology and Electrical Industrial Automation Technology programs with hands-on training. The turbine will also provide continuing education opportunities for incumbent workers in wind power generation industries, as well community members interested in wind energy. (Clean Energy & Education; $2,500)

    Trulson Dental Clinic with HG Wind Power, Inc.: 10 KW Roof-Mounted Wind Turbine
    Stewartville, MN - The Trulson Dental Clinic will install a virtually silent, vibration-free wind turbine to generate clean energy for the building. This pilot project is the first of its kind in Stewartville, with the hopes that the magnetically-levitated, vertical-axis wind turbine will serve as a model to test the efficacy of capturing wind energy from a rooftop installation. (Clean Energy; $5,000)

    A list of all of the seed grant recipients by region can be found on the CERTs website at www.CleanEnergyResourceTeams.org.

  • Community Wind Across America Conferences

    Community Wind Across America

    National Partnering Sponsor

    Nordic Windpower

    U.S. Department of Energy

    with support from the
    U.S. Department of Energy

    Community Wind across America conferences showcase ordinary people who are doing extraordinary work for residential and commercial development on a local level. Meet and learn from energized experts and colleagues who can speak on practical “how to” information, permitting, local, state and national policies, new business models, and options for financing Community Wind and Small Wind.

    “The key goal in Community and Small Wind is to keep the economic benefits as local as possible while, as a nation, we change our energy sources.”
    — Lisa Daniels, Windustry Executive Director

    Chose from three networking and educational events focused on Community Wind and Small Wind development:

    Get Information about Rocky Mountain Region Event Get Information about Midwest Region Mid Atlantic Region Registration

    Who should attend Windustry's Community and Small Wind Energy Conferences

    Anyone interested in wind energy: rural landowners, farmers, ranchers, municipal utilities, rural electric cooperatives, elected officials, town planners, tribal representatives, economic development professionals, business leaders, investors, bankers, and community leaders. Each conference will cover the full range of what's needed to advance opportunities for locally-owned wind energy production

    Community Wind Conference

    Sponsorship Information

    Windustry seeks Sponsors for all three conferences in order to ensure a successful event with broad participation, while maintaining an accessible registration fee structure.

    Download the Sponsorship & Exhibit Information.

    For more information contact:

    Catherine O' Neill at 612-870-3477 or catherine.oneill@windustry.org

    Conference Media

    Visit the Windustry Media Center

    Conference News

  • Stimulus Incentives Benefit Community Wind

    A new report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory reveals how the 30% investment tax credit (ITC) and cash grant equivalent have increased benefits for the development of Community Wind projects. “Revealing the Hidden Value that the Federal Investment Tax Credit and Treasury Cash Grant Provide To Community Wind Projects” analyzes the impact of new federal policies for wind farm investment incentives introduced this year as part of the U.S. economic stimulus program.

    Historically, the production tax credit (PTC) has been the primary incentive for wind farm development, but the PTC requires passive income that only certain equity investors can leverage. The ITC and cash grant equivalent now available to qualified projects have reshaped the financial landscape for renewable energy development by lowering the hurdles for investors to obtain tax credits as well as providing cash grant equivalents for upfront capital. In addition, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included provisions that eliminated the ITC's anti-double-dipping (or "haircut") provision for subsidized energy financing.

    “Many of these ancillary benefits circumvent barriers that have plagued community wind projects in the United States for years.”

    -Mark Bolinger,
    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

    Mark Bolinger, the report's author, argues that while the stimulus changes were intended for the wind energy markets in general, they have been a blessing in disguise for community wind project development in the United States.

    “It stands to reason that community wind, which has had more difficulty using the PTC than has commercial wind, may benefit disproportionately from this newfound ability to choose among these federal incentives. This report confirms this hypothesis,” says Bolinger. “Just as important are a handful of ancillary benefits that accompany the 30% ITC and/or cash grant, but not the PTC. Many of these ancillary benefits—including relief from the alternative minimum tax, passive credit limitations, and certain PTC ‘haircuts’—circumvent barriers that have plagued community wind projects in the United States for years.”

    The report compares two financing structures, the Strategic Investor Partnership Flip and the Cooperative LLC, finding that the “Strategic Investor Flip structure benefits significantly more from choosing the ITC over the PTC than it does from switching to the 30% cash grant. Meanwhile, the opposite is true for the Cooperative LLC structure, which does not benefit much from selecting the ITC over the PTC, but realizes a tremendous amount of value by choosing the 30% cash grant over the ITC.”

    This report, “Revealing the Hidden Value that the Federal Investment Tax Credit and Treasury Cash Grant Provide To Community Wind Projects,” and others are available at the Electricity Markets and Policy Renewable Energy Publications section of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory web site.

    Lisa Daniels, Executive Director of Windustry, served as a draft reviewer for this report.

  • Opportunity and Challenges for Renewable Energy and Communities

    The energy sector is transforming from a “big” business structure driven by non-renewable environmental extraction to a sector built on accessible abundant and renewable energy to households and business of all sizes, according to a series of briefing papers by the Center for Social Inclusion. This change will bring exciting new entrepreneurship opportunities and the potential to transform socially and economically isolated communities into meaningful partners in their local and regional economies.

    “Distributed generation provides new roles for communities to preserve and increase social equity, environmental quality, energy independence and wealth.”
    —Center for Social Inclusion

    According to the briefing paper Wind and Energy Generation at the Community Level, “Distributed generation provides new roles for communities to preserve and increase social equity, environmental quality, energy independence and wealth.” Distributed generation is cited as an emerging model that allows consumers, businesses, and landowners to become producers for the electric power grid. We hear a lot about a smart grid, but distributed generation would bring an array of benefits including both transmission efficiency and energy independence.

    The briefing paper suggests that wind commercialization at the community scale has a moderate suitability rating for communities of color and a moderate level of entry risk to businesses interested in entering the segment. Communities need supportive public policy and technological assistance to get a toehold in the market for wind energy.

    The paper points out that Windustry and other groups advocate using property tax financing programs to cover costs of installing and upgrading energy generation systems as a policy improvement that would gain major benefits:

    • First, access to credit can help cover much of the upfront costs, and during tough economic times this program offers an alternative to people who cannot tap into home equity lines or gain low-interest personal loans.
    • Second, the obligation to repay the loan stays with the property. Therefore, payments become the responsibility of whoever owns that property and is benefiting from the onsite electricity generation.

    Windustry, in partnership with the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE), has released a study of "Property Tax Financing Authorization" policies in 11 states that encourage development of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Property Tax Financing programs provide a direct way for individuals to cover some, if not all, of the costs of energy efficiency upgrades and distributed generation systems.

    The Minnesota Flip is one of the useful models in the paper for structuring equity partnerships between community-held assets or individual landowners and investors, as it supports economically successful, community-driven partnerships that benefit individuals and corporate interests. Minnesota is used as a model policy state with the following policy structures enabling renewable asset development:

    • Renewable Energy Production Incentive
    • Agricultural Improvement Loan Program
    • Value-Added Stock Loan Participation Program
    • Interconnection Standards Law
    • Standard Power Purchase

    Overall, the paper concludes that “it will be important for communities to advocate for rules and policies that allow community based wind power producers to get equitable access to the grid.”

    Black, Brown and Green, a program of the Center for Social Inclusion, explores the economic opportunities and hurdles for green business models in communities of color. Black Brown and Green offers resources to communities and companies to help them identify their needs and develop a strategy for entering the Green Energy Sector.

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