• National Farmers Union Supports Community Wind

    National Farmers Union (NFU) expressed support for Sen. Chuck Grassley’s, R-Iowa amendments, that would make permanent the wind production tax credit (PTC), and urged the committee to support Grassley’s efforts.

    NFU President Tom Buis said Grassley’s efforts would provide the means to reach our nation’s greatest potential for generating significant amounts of clean, renewable energy from wind and biomass. Buis went on to urge Grassley to expand the amendment by making the PTC applicable against active income, not just passive income, and fully refundable for community-based projects.

    “Many potential community-based projects are at an economic disadvantage, lacking sufficient levels of passive income necessary to fully utilize the PTC,” Buis said. “Additionally, it has become increasingly difficult to procure wind generators and associated equipment for community wind projects due to their relative small size and the shift toward large-scale development processes.”

    “Renewable electricity generation from rural communities is a largely untapped resource,” Buis said. “With the potential to supply significant amounts of U.S. energy needs within the near future, federal policies such as Grassley’s amendments, are necessary to foster the development of locally-owned and community based renewable electricity projects.”

    Both the US House and Senate have included PTC extensions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Support for Grassley's extension of the PTC also comes from the American Corn Growers Association. For more information read "Grassley works to bolster wind energy production."

  • Wind Energy Jobs Grew 70% in 2008

    The United States wind industry created 35,000 new jobs in 2008, according to a news report by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). 85,000 workers are now employed in the wind industry including jobs in manufacturing, development, construction, installation, operation, and maintenance.

    Wind turbine and turbine component manufacturers added or expanded 55 facilities creating 13,000 new direct jobs last year.

    “The massive growth in 2008 swelled the nation’s total wind power generating capacity by 50% and channeled an investment of some $17 billion into the economy, positioning wind power as one of the leading sources of new power generation in the country today,” according to AWEA. Iowa reached an installed wind energy capacity of 2,790 MW surpassing California to take the number two spot in the U.S.:

    • Texas - 7,116 MW
    • Iowa - 2,790 MW
    • California - 2,517 MW
    • Minnesota - 1,752 MW
    • Washington - 1,375 MW

    “Wind jobs outstrip coal mining” read a recent Fortune Magazine headline for an article contrasting the growing wind industry to the U.S. coal mining industry, which employs about 81,000 workers. Writer Todd Woody suggested that the AWEA report provides “a talking point in the green jobs debate.”

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released a 20% Wind Scenario report last year showing that wind power could provide 20% of the nation’s electricity by 2030. Accoding to the DOE report, in the decade preceding 2030 the U.S. wind industry could support:

    • 500,000 jobs with an annual average of more than 150,000 workers directly employed by the wind industry.
    • more than 100,000 jobs in associated industries.
    • more than 200,000 jobs through economic expansion based on local spending.

    “Our numbers are both exciting and sobering,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “The U.S. wind energy industry’s performance in 2008 confirms that wind is an economic and job creation dynamo, ready to deliver on the President’s call to double renewable energy production in three years.” But, Bode also notes that the economic downturn has forced some layoffs in wind turbine manufacturing, so economic stimulus and smart policy incentives are needed for the growth to continue.

  • Xcel Energy Solicits C-BED Project Proposals

    As a part of Xcel Energy’s Community-Based Energy Development (C-BED) program, Xcel Energy is soliciting proposals for Community Based Wind Projects.

    Xcel Energy will be accepting proposals for new Minnesota wind generation resources to be in commercial operation by Dec. 31, 2010. Xcel Energy will seek approvals for any resulting Renewable Energy Purchase Agreements from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The submission deadline is February 20, 2009.

    For more information see the Xcel Energy RFP.

  • CERTS 2009: Harnessing Resources & Teamwork for Minnesota's Energy Future

    The CERTS 2009 conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota on February 10-11 will bring together over 500 Minnesotans who are blazing the paths to a clean energy future by working on energy efficiency and clean energy projects in their communities.

    Whether you're a farmer, utility representative, school staff, local official, student, business owner, or member of any community; there is a role for you to play. Learn what people are doing across the state, connect, and share resources.

    This conference could not come at a more important time. Our economy is hurting, energy prices are on the rise, and the impacts of global warming are becoming increasingly clear. Minnesotans of all stripes want to know what they can do. It just so happens that many of the solutions to our global climate crisis are also the ones that are going to help our economy and our communities thrive.

    CERTS 2009 will start with optional In-Depth Workshops on February 10 including Community-Based Energy Development, Accelerating Residential Efficiency, Saving Energy is Smart Business, Creating a Clean Energy School, Best Practices for Local Governments, and Networking for Clean Energy. As a conference sponsor, Windustry is organizing the Community-Based Energy Development workshop covering the business models and economic feasibility of wind for community-based energy development.

    The Daylong Conference on February 11 includes tracks on Clean Energy Trailblazers, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Development and Financing, and Expanding our Vision. Sessions will cover wind, solar, biogas, geothermal, manufacturing, green jobs, and much more. Keynote speakers include Randy Udall, former director of the Community Office for Resource Efficiency and a leading activist in promoting energy sustainability; Mary Hamann-Roland, President of the League of Minnesota Cities and Mayor of Apple Valley, where she helped create the School of Environmental Studies; and Minnesota Public Radio host Kerri Miller, who will host a Legislative Forum.

    By attending CERTS 2009 you can be a part of Minnesota's clean energy future, and you can get energy efficiency and clean energy projects on the ground in your community!

    For more information and registration, visit www.CleanEnergyResourceTeams.org

  • Wind Industry Will Create Many New Jobs across Value Chain

    Durham, N.C. - As the country continues to support greater reliance on wind energy for electricity generation, the wind industry could restore some jobs lost in the automotive industry and create many new jobs across the value chain, according to a new report released by the Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness (CGGC) at Duke University.

    “Increased adoption of wind power technologies could have significant positive economic implications for the United States.”
    —Gary Gereffi, Duke professor of sociology

    The “Wind Power: Generating Electricity and Employment” report is part of the ongoing series, Manufacturing Climate Solutions, by CGGC that presents new research linking U.S. jobs with selected low-carbon technologies that can help combat global warming. The Wind Power report reveals hidden economic opportunities that exist within the supply chains that provide parts and labor for the wind power industry.

    “American companies have a presence in each sector of the value chain,” says Gary Gereffi, a Duke professor of sociology and one of the report's authors. “Increased adoption of wind power technologies could have significant positive economic implications for the United States.” 

    The report explains that “The wind power value chain incorporates five main stages: materials; components; manufacture; logistics, development and operations (which includes project development, geotechnical services, transportation, construction, and operations and maintenance). U.S. companies have a presence in each sector of the value chain, from materials production and component manufacturing to project development and construction.”

    Simplified Wind Power Value Chain
    Simplified Wind Power Value Chain
    Graphic courtesy of Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness

    The report reviews and analyzes a wide range of information with 64 references cited, providing a summary of the current state of the wind industry along with projections for future growth:

    • Wind turbine parts manufactured in the U.S. grew from less than 30% in 2005 to 50% in 2008.
    • 55 wind turbine and wind turbine component manufacturing facilities were added or expanded in 2008, which led to the direct creation of 13,000 new jobs.
    • Small businesses currently make up over 90% of renewable and efficiency industries.
    • The growth of the wind power industry in 2008 represents an investment of about $17 billion.
    • $2.5 billion worth of wind turbine imports came into the U.S. from Europe and Asia in 2008.
    • 700 companies in Michigan and 532 companies in Ohio are emerging wind power manufacturing industry participants.
    • 100 MW of installed wind power capacity provides 310 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in manufacturing, 67 contracting and installation jobs, and 9.5 jobs in operation and maintenance every year.
    • The wind industry could support 500,000 jobs by 2030.
    • An additional 3 million jobs in construction and wind project development are also projected by 2030.

    The report concludes that “Further development of the domestic wind power market will create extensive U.S.-based job opportunities in materials production, component manufacturing, wind farm construction, transportation and research and development. Continued government support in the form of Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and tax credits will ensure sustained growth of the U.S. wind power market, allowing the country to maintain its position as the world leader in installed wind power capacity.”

  • 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."  

  • 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. 

  • Registration is now open for Community Wind Across America - Northeast Region

    Community Wind Across America - Northeast Region

    Windustry is bringing its regional conference series on community and small wind to Albany, NY, where regional and national speakers will discuss the most current issues and best practices in distributed wind energy development.

    Northeastern rural landowners, local investors, and community leaders can choose sessions from a two-track program, to get the full range of what's needed to unlock the economic growth potential of locally-owned wind energy.

    Northeast Region Conference

    Register Now

    October 26-28, 2011
    The Desmond Hotel, Albany, New York



    "In this conference we show how local communities can benefit from distributed wind development while, as a nation, we diversify our home grown energy sources."
    —Lisa Daniels, Windustry Executive Director

    Community Wind Across America regional conferences are made possible in part by grant from the Department of Energy, as part of the 20% Wind by 2030 Initiative to bring hundreds of stakeholders together to learn from each other and experts in the renewable energy field. Since 2010, Windustry has held conferences in the Colorado for the Rocky Mountain region; Minnesota for the Midwest, and Pennsylvania for the Mid Atlantic, and Michigan for the Great Lakes Area

    Who attends 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 covers the full range of what's needed to advance opportunities for locally-owned wind energy production

  • 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.

  • Small Wind Turbine Program Aimed at Furthering Small Wind Development in MN

    In 2011, with a grant from the USDA, Windustry and the Region Nine Renewable Energy Task Force launched a Small Wind Bulk Buy Program to help rural enterprises take advantage of the state's wind resources and net-metering laws.

    The program was supported by a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant, and other funders to support small wind energy, and the consequent economic development in the region. It provided Small Wind 101 training sessions, as well as technical and logistical support, including wind resource evaluation, site selection, economic evaluation, turbine selection, and support with permitting. The program focused on machines ranging in size from 2.4 kW to just under 40kW.

    As of May, 2012, the funds from the USDA ran out and the application for renewal was declined. However, the Region Nine Renewable Energy Task Force still supports the program in a limited fashion; and the resources that were developed, in particular the Small Wind Guide and the Small Wind Financial Calculator, continue to be available below.



    This is a wonderful opportunity for those who have considered wind power to find out if it really makes sense for them. People will get an honest evaluation, and for those who want to move forward, the path will be made as smooth as possible.

    —Rich Huelskamp, Renewable Energy consultant, The Sun's Warmth

    Windustry Program Analyst Dan Turner: "Region Nine has learned a great deal about making this program work efficiently. Those in the region who can take advantage of it will be well served.

    It makes small wind turbines more attractive as investments both to offset electric bills and, in some cases, to generate revenue. Industry growth in the area engages a local workforce trained to install and maintain small wind turbines, stimulates supply chain business development, and keeps energy dollars local to maintain and build the rural economy."


    Download Small Wind Guide

    Download the Small Wind Guide for a basic overview about small wind electric systems to help you decide if wind energy is right for you.

    Download the Small Wind Financial Calculator for Minnesota Net Metering Situations, requires Microsoft Excel or compatible software.