David Skarjune's blog

Ring ring. Who's there? A wind expert

A wind expert WHO?

Hotline

Who can answer any question! At least that's what people are hoping when they call the Windustry Information Hotline. “Through member supported outreach, education and advocacy we work to remove the barriers to broad community ownership of wind energy,” goes our mission. One way we pursue that mission is to advise people new to wind energy, landowners hoping for a new harvest of renewable energy, and citizens who want to make a difference in their communities by advocating for Community Wind projects.

Building Clean Energy and Making Good Neighbors

“Today's energy world needs bold new thinking,” writes Mary Powell, president and chief executive officer of Green Mountain Power in her article “Making good neighbors” the Rutland Herald. “While nations struggle to deal with the effects of global climate change and America faces a major tragedy in the Gulf, we must focus our efforts on the steps we can take in Vermont to make a difference. It is time to find new ways to power our country, and we have to do it in ways that local communities embrace.”

Communities Will Grow Community Wind

Carleton College, Minnesota wind turbine

Sometimes we see Community Wind as policies that provide incentives for local ownership of wind farms. In the wind industry Community Wind is often seen as wind turbine technology with a capacity between 100 kW and 1 MW. Driving through states like Texas and Iowa, one sees vast expanses of wind turbines and wonders if the ranchers and farmers have a stake in those wind farms that can benefit their agricultural communities.

Stimulating Wind Energy and Jobs in the U.S.

Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate that would restrict stimulus funding for wind energy grants to only go to projects that do not benefit foreign companies in any way. Further, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and other senators have asked the administration and Treasury to immediately suspend all payments to such projects.

National Renewable Electricity Standard Could Create Jobs

A National Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) of 25 percent by 2025 could create 274,000 new renewable energy industry jobs, according to the report “Job Impacts of a National Renewable Electricity Standard” from RES Alliance for Jobs prepared by Navigant Consulting. The RES Alliance for Jobs is a coalition of businesses and organizations that support Congressional enactment of a strong federal RES. Thirty-six countries, including China, already have a RES, while in the U.S. legislation is pending.

Turbines, Recovery and Community

The headline “Chinese turbines” has dominated the news media and blogs regarding wind power during November after U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer sent a letter to U.S. Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu and commented, “I'm all for investing in clean energy, but we should be investing in the United States, not China. The goal of the stimulus was to spur job creation here, not overseas.”

South Dakota and Minnesota Wind Could Replace Big Stone II Capacity

 

“South Dakota and Minnesota have robust wind resources to harness, particularly in the area where the power plant was proposed.
—Lisa Daniels, Windustry

Big Stone II was originally slated to be a cost-effective, clean-coal project to be up and running as early as 2011 near Milbank, South Dakota, supplying new energy for the Midwest and even to Eastern states. Now that the project has been cancelled, many are wondering what went wrong and what will replace the power capacity that it would have supplied to the CapX2020 transmission lines planned for Minnesota.

Minnesota at Forefront of Community Power Movement

As the state of Minnesota seeks to generate 25 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2025, communities are finding both that they can be part of that solution and that solution can be part of the future of their community.

"This is the biggest investment Willmar Municipal Utilities has ever made," says chief engineer Wes Hompe about a pair of 2-megawatt wind turbines costing nearly $10 million. "What makes it worthwhile? This is the future."

Get Small and Get In

"Get small and get in!" is the new message from the federal government, according to Denis Thoet, who manages Long Meadow Farm in West Gardiner, Maine. In his Kennebec Journal article "Wisdom of helping small farmers begins to take root throughout U.S.," he contrasts USDA programs that for decades have benefited expansive agricultural operations with new programs that can benefit smaller farm operations.

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