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.
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.
A Comparative Analysis of Business Structures Suitable for Farmer-Owned Wind Power Projects in the United States (November 2004) was prepared for the Wind & Hydropower Technologies Program, U.S. Department of Energy, by Mark Bolinger and Ryan Wise.
For years, farmers in the United States have looked with envy on their European counterparts' ability to profitably farm the wind through ownership of distributed, utility-scale wind projects. Only within the past few years, however, has farmer- or community-owned wind power development become a reality in the United States. The primary hurdle to this type of development in the United States has been devising and implementing suitable business and legal structures that enable such projects to take advantage of tax-based federal incentives for wind power. This article discusses the limitations of such incentives in supporting farmer- or community-owned wind projects, describes four ownership structures that potentially overcome such limitations, and finally conducts comparative financial analysis on those four structures, using as an example a hypothetical 1.5 MW farmer-owned project located in the state of Oregon.