This report reviews various business structures for community wind development, reviews previous studies on the economic impact of both wind development in general and the relative impacts of corporate and community wind development, and investigates the specific case of the economic impact of community vs. corporate wind development for a multi-turbine project in Big Stone County, Minnesota.
The report found that community owned wind can have a significantly larger economic impact than corporate wind development.
This report by Arne Kildegaard of the University of MN, Morris and Josephine Myers-Kuykindall of the University of MN, Morris, was published September 2006.
There are two broad classes of wind turbines: commercial-scale and residential-scale. Most opportunities for public investment will be with the commercial-scale turbines, as many of the industry participants are publicly-held corporations. These industry participants include wind developers who own the turbines and hold Power Purchase Agreements with utilities; the utilities or electric distribution companies that sell the electricity retail to customers; transmission companies; energy marketers; turbine installation contractors; and turbine, tower, and other related hardware manufacturers. Some of these companies are listed on our Resources page. We do not endorse any one of these companies, but would recommend you consult an investment advisor that specializes in the energy industry.
A new development in the investment profession is that a growing number of advisors, managers and mutual funds are specializing in environmentally-benign investment opportunities. A business library can also help you find references to these opportunities.
The Wind Powering America program out of the U.S. Department of Energy maintains this web page related to the economic benefits of wind energy. The page "provides software applications to help individuals, developers, local governments, and utilities make decisions about wind power. The page also lists publications and articles about economic development impacts that accrue from wind projects."
This presentation from the Wind Powering America program was given in 2006 at the AWEA annual conference. According to the Wind Powering America web site, the presentation "covers wind turbine sizes and applications, the evolution of U.S. commercial wind technology, capacity and cost trends, world growth market, installed wind capacities, drivers for wind power, wind cost of energy, historic natural gas prices, Renewables Portfolio Standards (RPS) — people want renewable energy, wind energy investors, wind energy doesn't consume water, windy rural areas need economic development, economic development impacts, case studies, local ownership models, Farm Bill activities, Job and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) Model, state economic impacts, comparative economic development impacts, key issues for wind power, and more."
This 2006 report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory assesses the direct economic impacts of constructing new electricity from wind, coal and natural gas in three different states. Initial results showed that new electricity generation from wind could be more economically effective than adding new electricity generation from gas or coal power and that new wind electricity generation keeps more dollars local.