General News

Spring 2008 Minnesota CERTs Request for Proposals are now available

The spring 2008 CERTs Request for Proposals are now available! Are you looking for a source of funding to start a clean energy project in your county, community, or school? CERTs may be able to help!

The deadline for proposals is 4:30 pm April 18th, 2008; each CERT will meet before June 13th, 2008, to decide which projects to fund. Projects approved for funding must be completed by June 1, 2009.

To view the press release, visit:

http://www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/pdf/2008_RFP_press_release.pdf

To view the Request for Proposal, visit:

http://www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/pdf/CERTs_RFP_4-18-08.pdf

To view projects that were funded in winter of 2007, visit:

http://www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/pdf/2008_RFP_release.pdf

 

Minnesota legislator wants state to encourage small, locally-owned energy projects

 

Article by: H.J. CUMMINS , Star Tribune

January 15, 2008

A legislator's plan to encourage small, local energy projects in Minnesota borrows from Germany's experience.

 

A Northfield legislator wants Minnesota to take a more European approach to renewable energy.

Rep. David Bly, DFL-Northfield, is expected to announce Thursday that he'll sponsor a bill to encourage local ownership of small energy projects. The measure would be a counterpoint to other tax incentives, including a federal production tax credit, that typically benefit large, corporate investors.

The proposed model, known as "feed-in tariffs," has worked in countries such as Germany, increasing both renewable-energy capacity and the role of small owners. Other states looking at feed-in tariffs include Michigan and California, although no state yet has such a program.

The proposal raises two issues likely to surface along with other renewable energy bills expected in the 2008 legislative session: What are the relative roles of government and the free market, and if clean energy costs more, who should pay that cost?....

 

Click here to read the article

"Local ownership urged for energy projects"

on the Star Tribune website.

December 2007 Farm Bill Update

With the Energy Bill being signed this week void of a national Renewable Energy Standard, many Americans are wondering how other policy can help support renewable energy development in rural America. One answer is the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP, previously called Section 9006 of the Farm Bill), which provides grants and loan guarantees to farmers, ranchers and rural, small businesses for renewable energy development and energy efficiency improvements.

Among the renewable energy provisions found in the Senate version of the farm bill is $260 million over five years for the Rural Energy for America Program. The 2002 Farm Bill, and REAP within it, is set to expire this year, but the House-Senate conference committee working on the bill hopes to extend the bill through March 15th, 2008 in order to provide continuous funding for the programs covered in the 2002 bill until agreements can be reached and passed.

Click here to read a more in depth update from the 25x'25 coalition.

CERTs (Minnesota) RFP for technical assistance now available. Proposals are due November 16, 2007.

The Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), via the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (U of MN Regional Partnerships) and Southwest Regional Development Commission (SRDC), seek to provide limited financial assistance for energy efficiency and/or renewable energy projects requiring technical assistance.

Project funding can support technical assistance services (i.e., labor costs), such as consultant, design professional, installer or student labor, for projects in one of the following six Minnesota CERT regions: Central, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest and West Central.

The primary objectives of this funding project are to:

  • Encourage the implementation of community-based energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in CERT regions
  • Provide a forum for community education about energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and their economic, ecological and community benefits.

Funding for these projects is provided through: (1) the Minnesota Department of Commerce, (2) the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and (3) the Blandin Foundation.

To be eligible for consideration for funding, each applicant must:

  • Be located within one of the six greater Minnesota CERT regions: Central, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest or West Central (www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/map.html); and
  • Seek funding for technical assistance support meaning labor costs, not hardware or material costs; and
  • Must not be for work completed prior to award of project funding; and
  • Demonstrate the committed resources, funding and ability to complete the project by December 31, 20084; and
  • Demonstrate the ability and commitment to serve as a community-wide educational resource for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Deadline
Proposals MUST BE SUBMITTED ELECTRONICALLY BY 4:30 PM,
NOVEMBER 16th, 2007, to the contacts listed in the Attachment.
Selections will be made by each regional CERT by December 21st, 2007.

Award notification will be made by January 4th, 2008.

Projects must be completed, and final reports submitted, by December 31st, 2008.

Funds up to the grant amount will be reimbursed for eligible expenses upon project completion.

See the attached PDF for more information.

Save the Date! Windustry's 2008 Community Wind Conference is Set for April 14-16, 2008

Join Windustry in Albany, NY for the premier national conference bringing agriculture and wind energy together to advance opportunities for locally-owned clean energy production and rural economic development. We will share experiences and information to harness the growing momentum for new models, new policies and new projects.

Click here to go to the official conference web page!

What is Community Wind? Community wind energy projects come in many shapes and sizes, all sharing significant elements of local ownership and participation (public or private). This new economic opportunity for rural communities can build support for renewable energy in general while maximizing the local economic benefits of wind energy development.

What to expect at Community Wind Energy 2008:

  • See a snapshot of what community wind and other clean energy can mean in your community.
  • Hear from wind experts, agricultural producers, tribes, and rural landowners who have developed community wind projects.
  • Meet potential project financers.
  • Engage in discussions about all sizes of wind turbines—from home and farm scale machines to mid-size and commercial-scale machines.
  • Shop the extensive wind industry exhibit floor.
  • Gather to advance the dialogue on what’s next for community wind!

Who will attend?
Rural landowners, elected officials, farmers, ranchers, business leaders, tribal representatives, economic development professionals, lenders, bankers, city planners, and community leaders will be in attendance.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is a partnering sponsor of this event.

For more information, contact Windustry:

Click the link below to download a printable version of this flyer.

Click here to sign up for our email list if you'd like to receive updates as they're available!

Minnesota Passes New C-BED Legislation

New Law Passed to Advance Community Energy Projects
Next Generation Energy Act Helps MN Farmers and Small Businesses Build Renewable Energy Projects

St. Paul, MN – (5/25/07) Today Governor Tim Pawlenty signed the Next Generation Energy Act (SF145), which includes critical provisions that will help rural communities build wind farms, biomass power plants and other renewable energy facilities.

The legislature passed the bill on Sunday with strong bipartisan support.

This community-based energy development (C-BED) legislation helps rural communities plan, build and own renewable energy facilities themselves, thereby keeping energy dollars in local economies. A number of studies have shown that local ownership of wind farms at least triples local financial benefits relative to ownership of wind facilities by large outside companies (see references, below). “This legislation keeps Minnesota at the cutting edge of community wind energy development nationwide,” said Lisa Daniels, Executive Director of Windustry. She added, “Currently, Minnesotans own more wind power projects than residents of other states.” Thirty percent (275 MW out of 895 MW) of Minnesota’s wind energy capacity is community-based.

Andrew Falk, a wind developer near Benson Minnesota said, “First, we must thank State Representative Aaron Peterson for his incredible work and leadership on this important issue. Communities want to take an active role in meeting the energy needs of the 21st century with locally owned renewable energy resources. This piece of legislation assists the utilities and the regulatory agencies in comprehending the value of community-based energy development (C-BED) projects. A key provision in the bill prevents wind energy development companies from buying wind rights from landowners and then not developing them within a reasonable time. “All over the country, wind energy is hot so large companies are buying up wind rights before the competition drives up prices,” noted Daniels. “The law protects landowners in this exploding market by requiring developers to finish building projects within seven years or renegotiate their deals with landowners.”

The legislation also makes it easier for local governments to own wind energy projects, and it allows counties, rather than just the state government, to permit projects as large as 25 MW. “These changes in law will help cities, counties, school districts and other local agencies develop, own and benefit from wind farms,” said David Benson, Nobles County Commissioner. He added, “Local ownership of wind projects helps ensure that a broader spectrum of Minnesotans benefit financially from renewable energy and it also helps make rural communities more energy independent.” “Farmers all over the state want to earn more hard dollars from wind farms,” added Daniels, “but, our current regulatory and tax system makes entry into this new business opportunity needlessly cumbersome. This new law removes some barriers and will help us deal with future ones.”

The legislation includes provisions that:

  • Allow counties to take over permitting authority to site wind energy facilities up to 25 MN in size, up from 5 MW, and impose higher standards than state law.
  • Allow local governments to own wind energy projects with more than two turbines without partnering with other entities.
  • Require utilities to study the amount of renewable energy that can be connected to existing local transmission lines and substations with minimal upgrades, thereby using existing utility infrastructure more efficiently and delaying the need for new large transmission lines.
  • Require that developers finish projects within 7 years or renegotiate land development agreements with landowners to extend these agreements.
  • Require the Department of Commerce to consider the C-BED economic benefits that flow to all local interests, not just the project developer, when approving C-BED projects.
  • Allow C-BED developers to negotiate market-based rates unhindered by an out-of-date price cap.
  • Require utilities to consider contracting with C-BED projects to comply with the Renewable Energy Standard adopted by the State in February.
  • Allow utilities to partner with C-BED projects.
  • Require a variety of studies on emerging community energy issues.

For information about the economic benefits of community wind relative to other development, go to:
http://www.windustry.org/community/default.htm#Why%20Community%20Wind
For the text of and other information about the Next Generation Energy Act, SF 145, go to:
http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/revisor/pages/search_status/status_detail.php?b=Senate&f=sf145&s
sn=0&y=2007

Windustry is a non-profit organization working to increase wind energy opportunities for rural landowners and communities by providing technical support and creating tools for analysis.

** Media Contact: Lisa Daniels 612-870-3462 **

NEW ENERGY television program now available on DVD

NEW ENERGY: A fresh look at how the Midwest is creating a green energy economy

Windustry has partnered with Twin Cities Public Television and Erika Johnson to tell the story of how wind, biofuels, and other renewable energy technologies are contributing to the region’s energy security, economic sustainability, and integrity of our natural resources.

NEW ENERGY premiered on Sunday, January 7, 2007 on MN TPT Channel 17, and since then it has appeared on:

WDSE in Duluth/Superior
KWCM Pioneer Public Television in Appleton, MN
South Dakota Public Broadcasting
Lakeland Public Television
Prairie Public Television
WTVP in Central Illinois
Milwaukee Public Television in Milwaukee, WI

Contact Windustry if you are a television station interested in showing NEW ENERGY on your station.

DVD Copies Now Available
Contact Windustry

NOTE: NEW ENERGY is configured to be played on a DVD player, and should also start automatically on most computers. If you have trouble playing the program on your computer, make sure your computer has a DVD drive. Start your video player (such as Windows Media Player), and open the DVD through the video player. Please contact Windustry if you have any questions.

About the Program

The Message: Renewable energy technology is more than just good for the environment. Making the choice for renewable energy is an investment that is revitalizing rural areas around our region.

The Midwest is leading the nation’s transition to a cleaner, safer, more stable, and more secure energy system. We will explore the pros and cons of renewable energy and expose common myths surrounding wind, ethanol, energy efficiency, and hydrogen.

The Cast:
NEW ENERGY highlights the success of individuals and companies that are pioneering renewable energy in the Midwest today.

The Sponsors:
NEW ENERGY was made possible by a partnership with Windustry, Twin Cities Public Television, Erika Johnson, and a host of local sponsors who are working hard to continue the growth of renewable energy today.

AgStar Financial Services, ACA
American Sustainable Energy Council
Basin Electric Power Cooperative
Carleton College
Center for Energy and the Environment
Concordia Language Village
DAK Renewable Energy, Inc.
DMI Industries
enXco
ePower Synergies
Erika Johnson
GarMar Foundation
Great River Energy
Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation
Minnesota Corn Growers Association
Minnesota Department of Commerce
Minnesota Power
Moorhead Public Service
North Dakota Department of Commerce
North Dakota Farmer's Union
REHAU Inc.
Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency
Southwest Initiative Foundation
Twin Cities Public Television
WindLogics Inc.
Windustry
Xcel Energy

Major US Utility Facilitates Citizen Wind Power

"Major US Utility Facilitates Citizen Wind Power," Windpower Monthly, May 2006, Vol. 22, No. 5, pp. 29-30. "In an American twist to the European model of community scale wind power development, huge Midwest utility Xcel Energy is facilitating the birth of a broad popular movement in local ownership of small scale wind projects." Windustry executive director Lisa Daniels contributed to this article on the impact of C-BED (Community-Based Energy Development) on wind energy projects in Minnesota.

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