Economic Development

A Comparative Analysis of Community Wind Power Development Options in Oregon

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.

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Small Packages, Big Benefits: Economic Advantages of Local Wind Projects

This report by Teresa Welsh of The Iowa Policy Project was published April 2005. This report highlights three analyses that compare the economic development benefits of small-scale, locally owned generation to other larger capacity ownership structures and discusses the barriers and changes necessary to aid the development of small scale, locally owned wind generation, specifically in Iowa.

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Renewable Energy: Wind Power's Contribution to Electric Power Generation and Impact on Farms and Rural Communities

Published by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) in September 2004, this report examines the amount of electricity generated by U.S. wind power and prospects for its growth, the contribution of wind power to farmers' income and rural communities, the advantages and disadvantages for farmers of owning a wind power project versus leasing land for a project, and USDA's efforts to promote wind power in rural communities.

“Wind Power's Contribution to Electric Power Generation and Impact on Farms and Rural Communities Wind power provides electricity without polluting the air or depleting nonrenewable resources. Wind power relies on steady winds to turn the blades of power-generating turbines. Because these turbines generally are located on rural lands, wind power could also provide economic benefits to farmers and rural communities.”

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Job Jolt

Job Jolt, an economic study by the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory for the Environmental Law and Policy Center, was published in November 2002. This report shows that the Midwest stands to gain significant jobs and income by switching to renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency. The report shows a real boost for the Midwest: up to 210,000 new jobs and $20 billion in additional economic output across the 10-state Midwest region by the year 2020.

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Job Jolt fact sheets for individual Midwestern states are availableon the Repowering the Midwest web site.

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