• Minnesota Transmisson Study Suggests Grid Upgrades for Renewable Energy

    A new study released by the Minnesota Office of Energy Security shows that the state's power grid could accomodate 600 megawatts of new renewable energy capacity by making upgrades to electric transmission systems. A previous study had shown that another 600 MW could be added to the existing tranmission grid without impacting it's performance.

    "Dispersed Renewable Generation Transmission Study Phase II" completes a two-part study chartered by the Minnesota legislature as part of the Minnesota NextGen Energy Act passed in 2007. The act calls for 25 percent of the total energy used in the state to be derived from renewable energy resources by the year 2025. In order to meet that goal, dispersed generation of the grid would allow many distributed power generators, such as wind farms, to add significant energy capacity to the system. Together, the combined studies created complex computer models designed to add 1200 MW of dispersed capacity by the year 2013.

    Phase I, completed in June 2008, identified locations in the state transmission grid where a total of 600 MW of renewable energy projects could be developed with little or no changes required to the existing grid infrastructure. Although the study noted that dispersed generation can have impacts on the electric grid, it concluded that the majority of the 600 MW could be sited without disruptions at locations in southern Minnesota. In fact, in 2008 the state added 454 MW of commercial wind power with the vast majority sited in southwestern Minnesota.

    Proposed DRG Phase II Sites

    Phase II of the study sought an additional 600 MW and found that there were limited locations in the state that could accommodate 10-40 MW generation projects without incurring some amount of transmission investment. So, the study team focused on sites that could potentially accommodate generation with only minor transmission investments, not the construction of new high-voltage transmission routes. The total cost of the transmission upgrades were estimated to be $121 million. In comparsion, the CapX 2020 project for constructing three new high-voltage transmission lines across the state is estimated to cost $1.7 billion.

    As a result of the studies, the Minnesota Office of Energy Security concluded that achieving the renewable energy goal calls for a dual strategy of:

    • Using our existing transmission infrastructure more efficiently, through increased energy conservation and efficiency, demand response, emerging efficiency technologies and dispersed renewable generation where it can be interconnected reliably, and
    • Significantly increasing high-voltage transmission capacity in the state.

    The studies and explanatory recorded webinars are available from the Minnesota Office of Energy Security on the link below.

    Tom Wind (Wind Utility Consulting) acting as a consultant to Windustry served as a member of the Technical Review Committee for both studies.

  • #GivingTuesday 2014

    Paul Bunyon here, reporting in on WindustrySince everyone's so excited about Giving Tuesday on December 2, I thought I would let you know that I need your support for Windustry so that we can get more wind energy success stories out there. The reason I chose to give up my life of leisure with Babe the Blue Ox, and started hanging around this summer at Windustry’s Wind Energy Center, is that I was inspired by the wind stories I was overhearing from the many visitors. They were telling about the impact Windustry has by sharing solid information, clearing up myths (hey, if the shoe fits…) and providing technical assistance.

    That is why I decided to trade a few of my hours in the North Woods for sending e-mails like this.  I am kind of a big guy and it’s hard for my hands to use a keyboard but I am working to highlight what Windustry does… because I truly believe that it takes all kinds of wind projects to get us going in an environmentally sustainable direction.

    Clean local energy is an important issue for our elected officials and requires a clear strong champion.

    So on Giving Tuesday, please consider making it a true day of giving by dedicating some of your donation dollars to our friend, Windustry. Click here to visit our online donation webpage.  

    Donate Now

    Windustry's mission is to promote sustainable energy solutions and empower communities to develop and own clean energy assets.  As an independent voice acting in support of communities, we work, through education, outreach, and advocacy, to advance broad community ownership of renewable energy.
  • Where the Wind Farms Are

    In February (2014) the USGS published an interactive map of the wind farms in the U.S., through July 2013. If you have a fast connection you can drill down and get information about the turbines and specific locations of the wind farms and of the individual turbines. For more on this USGS effort, click here

    Click on the map to go directly to it.

  • Give to the Max Day

    Join thousands of Minnesotans as we ignite generosity and raise millions of dollars for nonprofits and schools across the state. Make a donation to your favorite cause on November 13 and be part of Minnesota's annual day of giving! For the early birds, we welcome you to schedule your gift in advance today. All scheduled gifts will transact on November 13 and be eligible for GiveMN Leaderboards and Golden Tickets.

    Visit Windustry's Give to the Max Day page here!

  • Wind Turbine Syndrome? A Survey of Midwestern Residents

     A new survey came out today which questioned residents in the Midwest about their thoughts on renewable energy and included questions about wind turbine syndrome.  The following quote is from an article in Midwest Energy News titled Midwesterners not buying ‘wind turbine syndrome’:

     "A bipartisan poll on energy issues released earlier this week found that in six Midwestern states – Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin – only 14 percent of respondents believe wind  turbines harm human health.

     The survey of 2,477 voters was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and FM3 on behalf of RE-AMP, which publishes Midwest Energy News.

    Among the states surveyed, the lowest percentage of people who believe wind turbines cause health problems (7 percent) was in Iowa, a state that leads the nation in proportion of energy from wind.

    Meanwhile, the highest percentage believing such claims (21 percent) was in Wisconsin, a state which has far fewer wind farms and where some political leaders have in recent years been hostile to renewable and distributed energy."

  • Windustry in Consumer Reports Article

    September 25, 2014. The journal Consumer Reports just published an article about methods for making money off of your home.  One section is devoted to wind and solar power and quotes Windustry's Lisa Daniels.  From the article: 

    You can also monetize your property by using it to generate solar or wind power. “Most people think of wind power as these farms of 50 to 100 turbines,” Lisa Daniels, executive director of the advocacy group Windustry, said. Indeed, if you’re lucky enough to have acres of high, clear, windy land that’s near high-voltage transmission lines, you could earn hundreds of thousands from a wind-power company. But today’s technology also allows for small-scale projects that could power your house and perhaps help supply the neighborhood.

    Here’s how: A wind company installs a single turbine on a metal pole, perhaps 100 feet up to clear trees and buildings. You stay connected to the grid and draw power from the utility when you need more than the turbine can supply. But when the wind is up, the mill can power all of your electrical needs—and even pump extra voltage onto the electrical grid, spinning your meter backward, so you get credit for the contribution.

    With a wind lease from a company such as United Wind, there’s no up-front cost, but you’ll wind up with two monthly electric payments—one greatly reduced bill from the utility, thanks to lower usage, and another from the wind-power company, for what you draw from the turbine, at a below-market-rate price. The bottom line, Daniels says, is about a 10 percent savings, which in a high-electrical-cost area could mean $300 per year.

  • UN Secretary-General's Climate Summit: "Dear Matafele Peinem"

    September 23, 2014.  26 year old poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, from the Marshall Islands, addressed the Opening Ceremony of the UN Secretary-General's Climate Summit. Kathy was selected from among over 500 civil society candidates in an open, global nomination process conducted by the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service.Kathy performed a new poem entitled "Dear Matafele Peinem", written to her daughter. The poem received a standing ovation. Kathy is also a teacher, journalist and founder of the environmental NGO, Jo-jikum.