Federal Policy Information

  • "Broadening Wind Energy Ownership by Changing Federal Incentives" from the New Rules Project

    This April 2008 report from the New Rules Project discusses how simple changes to the federal production tax credit (PTC) and SEC registration process for cooperatives could significantly reduce barriers to community ownership of wind.

    Download the report from the New Rules website here: http://www.newrules.org/de/ptc-wind-ownership.pdf

  • Americans Making Power Act Proposes National Net Metering

    July 2010, Washington, D.C. - Rep. Jay Inslee (WA) has introduced the Americans Making Power Act, or AMP Act, which would establish a national standard for net metering. The legislation would allow Americans to feed back into the grid excess renewable power they generate through their homes, small businesses and even places of worship. This legislation would also improve reliability of the nation's electric grid by encouraging a more diffuse means of energy production.

    “Our new clean energy economy can start right at home.”

    —  Rep. Jay Inslee

    The AMP Act (HR 5692) addresses two main issues associated with a robust net metering policy; namely the actual net metering standard and a policy component designed to allow for the connection of a renewable energy system to the electric grid, also known as "interconnection." The AMP Act would accomplish this by modifying section 113 of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) of 1978. While some 42 states have already adopted some form of net metering and/or interconnection standards, there are many variations in policy and some states have yet to adopt net metering language at all.

    The AMP Act would set a minimum in standards and procedures for net-metering including a limit on the size of machine at 2MW, but would allow states to enact their own regulations over and above this minimum. As written, the owner-generator keeps all renewable energy credits generated by the machine. Additionally, the requirement to offer this program does not apply once the utility has reached a total of 6% of its peak load in net-metered projects (or 4% of it's peak by any one qualifying net-metered technology). This is re-calculated every 12 months. Customer-generators will receive a kwh credit on their bill for any excess generation. At the end of 12 months, if there is a net excess of generation, the customer-generator recieves a payment equal to the average wholesale rate for the previous 12-month period per net excess kwh.

    “Our new clean energy economy can start right at home,” said Rep. Inslee. “By empowering Americans, this legislation can help build the clean energy economy of the 21st century while saving families money. Imagine getting a credit on your bill from your utility company every month because you generated more power than you use.”

  • Analysis of Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariffs in the U.S.

    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has published a report analyzing the impacts that state level feed-in tariff policies can have on the renewable energy industry across the country. The report uses data and reports from around the world to highlight the various benefits that a feed-in tariff type of policy can have on renewable energy development.

    A feed-in tariff is an energy policy that provides for a guarantee of payment to renewable energy developers for the energy that is produced. This type of policy can be thought of as an advanced form of a production-based incentive because payments are made for the actual electricity produced and not for how much capacity is installed. The most common feed-in tariff payment is based on the actual levelized cost of renewable energy generation. This method of payment provides a price adequate to ensure a reasonable rate of return on for investors. 

    The authors of the report delve into the various advantages of feed-in tariff policies and the number of challenges to implementing feed-in tariff policies in the U.S. The report also provides a review of the current state-level and utility-level feed-in tariff policies that are currently in place across the county and compares them with the successful models found in Europe. These states include Gainesville, Florida; various Wisconsin utilities; California; Vermont (report was written prior to passage of the state-wide feed-in tariff so this analysis focuses on the two utility-specific programs); Washington; and Oregon. The authors wrap up the report with a discussion of best practices for feed-in tariff policy design and implementation, followed by an analysis on how to use a feed-in tariff policy to achieve state renewable energy goals.

    The authors highlight one of the most important elements of a feed-in tariff policy - that it allows for more participants in renewable energy project development. In their analysis the authors state that there are significant impacts of a feed-in tariff on developing community ownership, but it will depend on how the program is structured and payments determined. 

    You can read the full report here (PDF).

  • Chapter 10: Tax Incentives


    In order to be financially competitive, most wind projects need to take advantage of federal and, where available, state tax incentives. It is critical to understand the role and mechanics of tax incentives while developing a commercial-scale community wind project because these incentives can represent one-half to two thirds of the total revenue stream over the first 10 years of operation due to the Federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS) or other type of depreciation that can be applied to wind energy assets. You will need to consult a tax professional in the early stages of project planning to ensure that your financial projections are valid and accurately take into account the project’s tax burden and benefits.

    Ownership: 
  • Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs)

    The Clean Renewable Energy Bond (CREB) program is a new financial incentive created in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. It is available to municipal utilities and electric cooperatives and is intended to promote renewable energy development.

    History

    The Federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) has been the dominant mode of financing for renewable energy projects since it was made available in the early 1990s. The PTC, however, was designed to benefit the large investor-owned utilities and to track their capital into the renewable energy marketplace. Electric cooperatives and government entities like public power systems and municipal utilities have never been eligible for the PTC. In order to get into the marketplace, they successfully lobbied Congress in 2005 for the creation of CREBs, which is a tax credit bond available only to them. The program was modeled after the Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) program enacted in 1998 to provide tax incentives for the rehabilitation of public school buildings.

    Program Details

    CREBs are tax credit bonds with an interest-free finance rate. The entire interest on the bond is paid by the U.S. Treasury in the form of a tax credit. $800 million have been allocated by the Secretary of the Treasury to the program for the time period between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2007. $300 million of that has been designated for rural electric cooperatives. The borrower has five years to spend 95% of the proceeds. The tax credit rate is posted daily by the U.S. Treasury. The discount rate is designed to provide for the maximum term equal to produce 50% of the face amount of the bond (approximately 11 years).

    Who Can Issue CREBs?

    • State and local governments
    • District of Columbia
    • CoBank, ACB
    • Mutual or cooperative electric companies
    • U.S. territories and possessions
    • Native American tribal governments
    • National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation
    • A not-for-profit electric utility that has received a loan or loan guarantee under the Rural Electrification Act

    Who Can Borrow CREB Proceeds?

    • A mutual or cooperative electric company
    • A governmental body

    Allocation of CREBs

    Applications for CREBs were due April 26, 2006. The Secretary of the Treasury will allocate CREBs starting with the smallest project and proceeding through the larger projects until the entire $800 million has been allocated.

    For More Information

  • Community Wind 101: A Primer for Policy-makers

    Released by the 25' X 25' Alliance, The Energy Foundation and Harvesting Clean Energy, this report makes clear that community wind must be an integral part of the nation's energy strategy and lays out a set of public policies designed to grow local wind investment and ownership.

    Specifically, Community Wind 101 finds:

    • Wind power economic benefits from local ownership can be multiplied in the range of two to three times or more compared to standard development models.
    • Community wind can play a pioneering role for all wind power and accelerate wind development by vastly diversifying the range of players who can invest.
    • Smaller investors cannot fully access federal tax incentives vital to wind development. Broadening the usefulness of these incentives and/or targeting incentives to community wind would significantly expand local investment and ownership opportunities.

    You can access the excutive summary here and read the full report here.

  • Connecting Renewable Energy to a Smarter Grid

    Transmission Linemen
    Transmission Lineman
    photo: mnorri, some rights reserved

    There are many hurdles for connecting renewable energy projects to the existing electric power grid. Transmission lines already operate near full capacity. Substations may not handle new interconnections. Regulatory processes span state and federal authorities, and interconnection standards vary from state to state. Plus, it's not clear how to best allocate costs for infrastructure improvements between utilities, energy developers, and rate-payers.

    The good news is that both industry and government groups have invested in research on how to better connect renewable energy projects to the grid and how to construct a smart grid that can support a clean energy future. While there is clearly need for technology improvements, much of the research points to improved policies, consistency in standards, and adoption of best practices. Here are recently released reports on these topics.

    The sixth edition of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council's (IREC) Connecting to the Grid Guide provides a comprehensive introduction to a span of topics that relate to grid-tied renewable energy sources. The sixth edition has been revised to include information on IREC's recently updated model procedures, alternative billing arrangements for net metering, energy storage and several other emerging issues in the field. This guide is designed for state regulators and other policymakers, utilities, industry representatives and consumers interested in the development of state-level interconnection and net metering policies.

    The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratory system, hosts a Modern Grid Strategy web site that regularly issues whitepapers. The Transmission Smart Grid Imperative outlines the technologies that are ready to be deployed while considering the complexities of building consensus for new transmission construction. Accomodates All Generation and Storage Options defines how a smart grid can be powered by small distributed energy resources (DER) which include both distributed generation and storage, as one of seven "Smart Grid Principal Characteristics" identifed by NETL.

    Perspectives for Utilities & Others Implementing Smart Grids by The Smart Grid Stakeholder Roundtable Group represents the outcome of meetings with a range of stakeholders including state agencies, consumer groups, environmental groups, commercial and industrial consumers, utilities and public utility commissions. The report was sponsored by the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability with the goal "to help utilities and other smart grid project developers better communicate how and why they think smart grid technologies will benefit consumers and the environment, as well as the overall electric system in general."

    Under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), partnering with DOE and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), has "primary responsibility to coordinate development of a framework that includes protocols and model standards for information management to achieve interoperability of smart grid devices and systems..." The NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 1.0 is a draft of a framework that includes protocols and model standards for information management to achieve interoperability of Smart Grid devices and systems. NIST has currently identified 16 initial standards and is considering an additional 46 potential standards. 

  • Department of Energy Announces $93 million to Support Wind Energy

    Steven Chu discusses ARRA with President Barack Obama at DOE
    DOE Secretary Steven Chu with President Barack Obama

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - April 29, 2009 - Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced that $93 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) will be used to support the development of wind energy projects. “Wind energy will be one of the most important contributors to meeting President Obama's target of generating 10 percent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2012,” according to Secretary Chu. “The projects funded by this opportunity will advance wind technology so that it can reliably supply a substantial portion of our nation's electricity. They will also help in creating more new jobs and expanding a clean energy economy.”

    The funding will leverage the Department of Energy's national laboratories, universities, and the private sector to help improve reliability and overcome key technical challenges for the wind industry. These projects will create green jobs, promote economic recovery, and provide the investments needed to increase renewable energy generation.

    The funding includes these allocations:

    • $45 million for wind turbine drivetrain research and development and testing of the performance and reliability of current and next generation wind turbine drivetrain systems. This project will improve the country's competitiveness in wind energy technology, lower capital costs of wind systems, and maintain a high level of wind energy capacity growth.
    • $14 million for technology development in the private sector. The aim is to improve the quality and use of advanced materials for turbine blades, towers and other components. This will also fund development in process controls for lamination, blade finishing, trimming, grind, painting, materials handling and inspection.
    • $24 million for wind power research and development among a consortia between universities and industry to focus on critical wind energy issues including advancing material design, performance measurements, analytical models, and improving power systems operations, maintenance and repair, and component manufacturing.
    • $10 million for the DOE National Wind Technology Center in Colorado to support testing current and next generation wind turbine technology and upgrades to the electrical distribution system.

    Chu, who is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, made the announcement while touring the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. NREL will receive ARRA funding for a variety of other renewable energy research projects:

    • $68 million for a Research Support Facility to create the nation's most energy efficient office building at the same cost of low efficiency commercial construction today. It will achieve LEED Platinum and 50% energy use reduction over standard commercial office buildings.
    • $19.2 million for Renewable Energy and Site Infrastructure to use solar and potentially geothermal and fuel cells to replace power currently purchased from utilities and reduce our carbon use.
    • $13.5 million for upgrades to the Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility to create a continuous process research and development capability to develop commercial scale cellulose to ethanol technologies.

    Read the full press release from the Department of Energy.

  • Department of Energy Seeks Input on Wind Energy Workforce Development Roadmap

    U.S. Department of Energy

    Washington DC — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Request For Information (RFI) to gain public input on the development of a Wind Energy Workforce Roadmap, which will provide details on the current workforce landscape in the wind industry as well as future steps necessary to train and develop a green workforce for the sector.

    The purpose of the Roadmap is to establish the policy objectives and overall direction that workforce development efforts throughout the wind industry should assume as it moves forward. This RFI provides leaders from academia, industry, and government with the opportunity to provide insight and guidance to DOE as the nation ramps up its wind energy production. A draft Roadmap document has been developed, and the public may provide comments on the initial draft or may provide alternative or additional viewpoints.

    This RFI does not constitute a request for specific project proposals. The information being sought under this RFI is intended to assist DOE and the wind industry in maximizing ongoing efforts to spark interest and skills development in the growing wind industry.

    The information collected may be used for internal DOE planning and decision-making to align future activities under the Wind and Water Power Program with the Administration's goals for increased use of renewable energy and domestic job creation.

    DOE will not reimburse costs associated with preparing any documents for this RFI, and there is no guarantee that a funding opportunity announcement will be issued subsequent to this RFI.

    Comments must be provided by no later than July 30, 2010. View the full text of the RFI on the FedConnect website

     

  • Depreciation

    Double-declining balance, five-year depreciation schedule (I.R.C. Subtitle A, Ch. 1, Subch. B, Part VI, Sec. 168 (1994) (accelerated cost recovery system)) is another federal policy that encourages wind development by allowing the cost of wind equipment to be depreciated faster.

  • DOE Announces $22 Million for Community Renewable Energy Projects

    Washington DC, July 15, 2009 - U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced plans to provide up to $22 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support the planning and installation of utility-scale community renewable energy projects in up to four communities nationwide. This funding opportunity directly supports the Obama Administration's goals of developing clean, renewable energy supplies, and creating new jobs and economic opportunities.

    Secretary of Energy Chu
    Secretary of Energy Steven Chu

    "American families and businesses are struggling in a recession and an increasingly competitive global economy. The Recovery Act was designed to rescue the economy from the immediate dangers it faces while rebuilding its fundamentals, with an eye toward new industry and opportunity," Secretary Chu said. "To help meet these challenges, the Recovery Act invests significant dollars to put people to work to spur a revolution in clean energy technologies."

    The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will provide technical assistance to selected recipients, including concepts, best practices, planning, financial approaches, policy guidance, and recognition to help communities rapidly plan and deploy utility-scale renewable energy systems that provide clean, reliable and affordable energy supplies for their communities, while creating jobs and new economic development opportunities. The projects will demonstrate how multiple renewable energy technologies, including solar, wind, biomass and geothermal systems, can be deployed at scale to supply clean energy to communities.

    DOE anticipates each project will leverage significant investment, including public and private sector investment in renewable energy systems.  The projects funded under this FOA are expected to create jobs and avoid 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

    Up to $22 million in DOE funding is available for these awards in fiscal year 2010.  DOE anticipates making up to 4 awards totaling up to $21.45 million, and expects matching funds from public and private investment of $22 million or more.

    Successful applicants will be awarded financial assistance to support the implementation of an integrated renewable energy deployment plan for a community, and the construction of renewable energy systems.

    Completed applications are due September 3, 2009. DOE will select awardees by the end of November 2009.

    To access the application form and the official funding opportunity announcement:

    1. Go to the FedConnect web site.
    2. Click the Search Public Opportunities link.
    3. Enter "DE-FOA-0000122" as the Search Criteria Title.
    4. Click Search.
    5. Click on the Title link of DE-FOA-0000122
  • FITness Testing - Exploring myths about feed-in tariff policies

    The US currently generates close to nine percent of its electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower. During the past several years, renewable electricity markets have surged as a result of new federal and state policies. Thirty-five states and Washington, DC, have established renewable energy targets designed to increase the amount of renewable electricity in utility portfolios. Despite the impressive amount of new policies that have been implemented, many policy makers in the US are evaluating how to further accelerate renewable energy growth. As can be seen in the graph below, renewable electricity generation has declined since a peak at over 12 % in the 1990s because of decreases in hydropower output. The US will need to dramatically increase the amount of installed renewable energy capacity in order to surpass recent historical highs, improve energy security, create new jobs, and address the growing risks of climate change. Since the start of this decade, non-hydro resources, especially wind and solar energy, have grown rapidly in key state markets (Sherwood, 2009; Wiser & Bolinger, 2009). The question remains, however: is current growth fast enough to transition to a more sustainable energy supply and meet the threat of climate change?

    Excerpt from “FITness Testing: Exploring the myths and misconceptions about feed-in tariff policies,” published by the World Future Council.

    Download the report document and visit the web site in the links below.

  • How Will Stimulus Bill Help Community Wind?

    American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

    Obama signs stimulus bill
    President Obama signs American
    Recovery and Reinvestment Act

    Now that Congress has passed and President Obama has signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, how will this help to stimulate Community Wind projects? According to Denise Bode, American Wind Energy Association CEO, "the stimulus bill contains a number of provisions aimed at helping our industry continue the very strong growth in new installations and new jobs we have seen over the past few years." Some of the provisions include:

    • 3-year extension of the federal wind energy production tax credit (PTC)
    • Option for a 30% investment tax credit (ITC) instead of the PTC
    • Option to convert the ITC into a grant for projects placed in service before 2013
    • Additional loan guarantees, bonds, and tax incentives

    President Obama's goal with the stimulus package is to create a wide variety of initiatives to jumpstart the American economy. This opens up new sources of funding for renewable energy at a time when the Wind Energy industry is set for even more growth despite  being stalled by the economic downturn. These programs will allow Community Wind projects to take advantage of more funding opportunities.

    “Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs. More than 90 percent of these jobs will be in the private sector, jobs rebuilding our roads and bridges, constructing wind turbines...”

    President Barack Obama
    Presidential Address to Congress
    February 24, 2009

    Wind facilities that qualify for the PTC can now make an irrevocable decision to take a 30% ITC in lieu of the PTC. In order to do so the project must be placed into service by December 31, 2012, and the PTC will no longer be available for the project. This has the potential to attract more investors who may not have enough passive activity income to realize the PTC. Which credit a taxpayer uses will depend upon an analysis of the project revenue and cost projections as well as analysis of the investor tax appetite. 

    Further, if the project qualifies for the PTC or the ITC and is placed into service between 2009-2010 (or it begins construction at that time and is placed into service before 2013) the project can choose to apply to the Treasury Department for a cash grant that is equal to 30% of the qualified costs of the project. This cash grant is in lieu of both the PTC and ITC. This means the value of the ITC can be realized, even if the taxpayer cannot take advantage of the credit. The rules and application guidelines for this program have not been finalized yet.  

    There are other provisions that address renewable energy financing on other levels. The Act removes the $4,000 cap on the small wind credit so taxpayers can now take the full 30% credit for a qualified small wind system.

    The Act also provides for an additional $1.6 billion for Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) that are used to finance renewable energy. There have been no announcements yet that applications are being accepted for these new allocations, and no guidance has been given on how the program will operate. Previously, these bonds have been given at 0% interest rate, and the bondholder receives a tax credit in lieu of bond interest. 

    The Department of Energy received an extension of their authority to provide loan guarantees for qualified technologies under Title XVII of the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 and an additional $6 billion for this program. Eligible technologies include electricity-generating renewable energy projects.   

    Read more on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Wind Energy Provisions at the Fredrikson & Byron P.A. web site and read how The Geniuses at DSIRE Translate the Energy Parts of the Stimulus Package via the Interstate Renewable Energy Council web site.

    Along with this important step forward to make wind power and other renewables a catalyst for America’s economic recovery, the American Wind Energy Association has launched an effort to enact a national renewable electricity standard (RES) and to make progress toward construction of the Green Power Superhighway, a new transmission system needed to fully develop America’s immense wind resources. Read more about the AWEA New Wind Agenda.

  • New Market Tax Credits

    Overview
    The New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTC) provides a credit against Federal income taxes in exchange for making qualified equity investments in designated Community Development Entities (CDEs). All of these investments must in turn be used by the CDE to provide loans or equity investments for designated projects in lower-income communities. The credits are provided to the CDE and passed through to investors based on their proportionate investment in the CDE. The credits are equal to 39 percent of the funds invested and are claimed over a seven-year credit allowance period. In each of the first three years, the investor receives a credit equal to five percent of the total amount paid for the stock or capital interest at the time of purchase. For the final four years, the value of the credit is six percent annually. Investors may not redeem their investments in CDEs prior to the conclusion of the seven-year period.

    CDE’s apply for an allocation during the annual allocation period (July-September). The CDE does not have to identify specific projects or have a committed source of capital to fund those projects. To date, the Fund has made 170 awards totaling $8 billion in allocation authority.

    A designated community must meet certain low-income characteristics. Eligible communities include low-income rural counties with high out-migration. An organization wishing to receive awards under the NMTC Program must be certified as a CDE by the Fund.

    Once a CDE is awarded a NMTC allocation, it solicits projects consistent with its targeted investments. At the same time, it attracts private capital to invest in the CDE. The CDE then makes equity investments in or lends to the designated projects. Lending terms are usually better than what may be offered by commercial lenders. The outside investors receive tax credits and, depending on the structure of the transaction, either interest payments from or an equity stake in the projects.

    Eligibility
    To qualify as a CDE, an organization must:

    • be a domestic corporation or partnership at the time of the certification application;
    • demonstrate a primary a mission of serving or providing investment capital for low-income communities or low-income persons; and
    • maintain accountability to residents of low-income communities through representation on a governing board of or advisory board to the entity.

    Wind Applicability
    In 2006, three Midwestern and one Gulf Coast CDEs were awarded NMTC allocations to provide debt and equity for rural businesses involved in value-added agricultural activities including renewable energy. These were:

    Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation, Detroit Lakes, MN
    www.mmcdc.com
    $80 million allocation
    Projects in Minnesota

    Dakotas America, LLC, Sioux Falls, SD
    www.dakotasamerica.com
    $50 million allocation
    Projects in North and South Dakota

    American Community Renewable Energy Fund, LLC, New Orleans, LA
    www.amcref.com
    $42 million allocation
    Projects in the Gulf Coast

    Potential developers of community wind or other renewable energy projects in the targeted geographic investment areas of the four CDE entities listed above can contact them to discuss financing considerations.

    Combining NMTCs with the PTC
    According to tax counsel at the law firm Nixon Peabody LLP, a renewable energy project that is eligible for Section 45 tax credits can utilize both NMTCs and the production tax credits from the project. Unlike other grant or subsidized loan programs, there would be no reduction in the available production tax credits from the project. If the CDE is providing debt to the project, then the investors in the CDE can claim the NMTCs while equity investors in the project can claim the PTCs. If the CDE is providing equity support to the project (less typical these days because the Treasury strongly favors CDEs that aren’t “related” to the businesses they invest in), then the investors in the CDE can claim both the NMTCs and their proportionate share of the PTCs. Note that for a typical wind project ($1,500/kW, 35% capacity factor), the New Markets Tax Credit has roughly the same value as the PTC.

    For More Information

  • PTC, ITC or Cash Grant? Which Should a Developer Use?

    Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory (LBNL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have released a combined report that may help wind project developers understand which federal incentives will be most economical: PTC, ITC, or Cash Grant? An Analysis of the Choice Facing Renewable Power Projects in the United States.

    The report takes a close look at key provisions in the recent American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. These key provisions could have a significant impact on how renewable energy projects are financed in the near future.

    Included in these provisions is an extension of the federal production tax credit (PTC). Another provision allows for projects that are eligible for the PTC to elect to receive a 30% investment tax credit (ITC) instead of the PTC. An even more intriguing provisions allows for a project that qualifies for the ITC (or the PTC but elects to receive the ITC) to receive the value of that credit as a cash grant from the Treasury.

    The authors analyzed a number of technologies in the report including wind, open- and closed-loop biomass, geothermal and landfill gas projects. The purpose of the analysis is to both quantitatively and qualitatively analyze the choice between the PTC and ITC (or cash grant) from the project developer perspective. Only two technologies showed a clear preference for one incentive over the other: open-loop biomass gets more value from the ITC across the board, while geothermal gets more value from the PTC.

    For wind energy, the authors looked at a range of installed costs from $1.500/kW to $2,500/kW and a range of capacity factors from 25% to 45%. They did not include the potential influence on project costs due to nameplate capacity in the presence of economies of scale. These quantitative results showed the PTC provided more value in approximately 2/3 of the cases analyzed.

    The authors also looked at qualitative factors that can also influence the decision of which incentive a developer wants to use. These factors include: the option to elect the cash grant; performance risk; tax credit appetite; liquidity; subsidized energy financing; power sale requirement; and the owner/operator requirement. Combining the quantitative and qualitative considerations, the authors found that most wind projects may benefit more from the ITC than they will from the PTC.

    As the report concludes, whether a particular project chooses the PTC or ITC or cash grant will depend on any number of factors that will be weighed by each project according to their priorities, and the fact that these choices for federal incentives now exist (temporarily) is a step in the right direction to broaden the participation base in renewable energy.

    Click here to download and read the full report (19 pages)
    .

  • Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act of 1978 (PURPA)

    The Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act of 1978 (PURPA) was enacted as part of the National Energy Act of 1978, during a time of unprecedented energy supply instability in the United States. The law requires utilities to purchase energy from non-utility generators or small renewable energy producers that can produce electricity for less than what it would have cost for the utility to generate the power, or the "avoided cost." Although once considered a key incentive for renewable energy, PURPA is less helpful for renewables today due to lower fossil energy prices.

    Read background information on PURPA on the Union of Concerned Scientists web site.

  • Rural Summit on Capitol Hill Seeks Sustainable Solutions

    “Local ownership through Community Wind development not only provides initial construction jobs, but more importantly it provides long-term economic activity.”
    —Dan Juhl, Chairman and CEO, Juhl Wind, Inc.

    Washington, D.C., April 28, 2010 - U.S. Senators Harry Reid, Blanche Lincoln, and Debbie Stabenow were joined by former president Bill Clinton and wind energy developer Dan Juhl as they hosted a Rural Summit at the capitol. The event brought together stakeholders from communities around the country to focus on revitalizing rural America through economic development and job creation, and preserving the rural way of life for future generations.

    “Today was all about finding ways we can work together to create a sustainable rural economy,” said Senator Lincoln, Chair of Rural Outreach for the Senate Democratic Caucus. “I have worked diligently with my Senate colleagues over the last year and a half to pass historic legislation that will benefit rural America. From the Recovery Act...to working toward passage of the toughest financial reform legislation in our nation's history to put the needs of Main Street over the interests of Wall Street—I am working to make sure that rural America is strong and successful.”

    Panel discussions focused on creating jobs in rural America through investments in infrastructure and critical services, along with building a sustainable rural economy through increasing small business access to capital, small business development and workforce development.

    In his keynote speech Clinton offered a positive assessment of the job creation opportunities that exist for rural communities as the economy recovers and moves forward, particularly in creating new and sustainable sources of energy. “Manufacturing will make a comeback in this country, mark my words,” said Clinton. “It's going to be an enormous opportunity for small towns to get manufacturing jobs.”

    Dan Juhl
    Dan Juhl, Chairman and
    CEO of Juhl Wind, Inc.

    Dan Juhl, Chairman and CEO of Juhl Wind, Inc. represented the wind power industry and extolled the benefits of Community Wind. “Local ownership through Community Wind development not only provides initial construction jobs, but more importantly it provides the long-term economic activity for 20 plus years as our wind farms are owned and operated by our farmer partners,” said Juhl. “While it may cost $4 plus million to install one 2 megawatt turbine, there is only about $500,000 of local construction activity. However, that same turbine derives $500,000 a year in revenue—or $10 million over each 20 year period. That is why we are so committed to ensuring that our wind farms our owned by the people of rural America vs. larger utility conglomerates based hundreds of miles away—and sometimes from other countries.”

  • USDA Farm Bill

    2008 USDA Farm Bill

    On May 22, 2008, Congress overrode the President's veto of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the "Farm Bill"). The Farm Bill is an investment in our nation's food and farm economy. It will ensure food security and promote healthier foods and local food networks, strengthen international food aid and reform commodity and farm programs, protect our natural resources and promote homegrown renewable energy.

    The Farm Bill has historically addressed not only farm regulations, but also food security and protection of environmental resources. As our country seeks to reduce its dependence on foreign oil, our ranchers and farmers will continue to be vital players in the development and growth of renewable energy resources. Biofuels, wind energy, solar power and ethanol production are all addressed in the new Farm Bill 2008.

    There are a total of 14 titles in the Farm Bill ranging from commodity programs to research to energy to insurance to nutrition. Renewable energy, specifically wind generated energy, is mainly addressed by 4 titles: Conservation, Rural Development, Research, and Energy.

    Similar to the previous Value-Added Produce Grants and 9006 Programs, the 2008 Farm Bill will offer both grants and guaranteed loans for eligible projects under the Renewable Energy for America Program, or REAP. The USDA Rural Development website has information on applying and guidance documents for applications.

    As a result of the delay in passing the 2008 Farm Bill, Congress has extended many of the programs from the 2002 Farm Bill including the Section 9006 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Improvement Program. On March 6, 2008 the USDA annouced the availability of funding for these programs under Section 9006. The deadline for applications is June 16, 2008. The 9006 Forms for applications can be found here.


    For the most up-to-date application information, contact your state Rural Energy Coordinator. Check back here for updates as they are announced and stay tuned to the USDA site for more information. Also, please see the attached "Farm Bill FAQ" pdf file.

    Useful Resources for 2002 Farm Bill

    Value-Added Producer Grant Program

    Section 9006 Energy Title Grant Program:

    "An American Success Story" (ELPC)

    USDA Websites:

    Farm Bill Section 9006

    Value-Added Producer Grants

    Previous Section 9006 Award Winners

    2008 Award Winners and USDA 2008 Press Release

    2007 Award Winners and USDA 2007 Press Release

    2006 Award Winners and USDA 2006 Press Release

    2005 Award Winners and USDA 2005 Press Release

    2004 Award Winners and USDA 2004 Press Release

    2003 Award Winners and USDA 2003 Press Release

     

    More Information and Links

    For more information about energy provisions in the Farm Bill:

    --Environmental and Energy Study Institute- Energy and Agriculture Program
    --Database of Renewable Energy Incentives- Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program summary
    --North Dakota SEED- Farm Bill Energy Title resources
    --Iowa Rural Development - Farm Bill

  • Value Added Producer Grant Program

    The Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program was first established in the Agriculture Risk Protection Act of 2000 and was later amended in the 2002 Farm Bill. Grant funds are available for planning activities and working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products and for farm-based energy. Independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, agricultural producer groups, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures are eligible.

    The USDA website includes information about past winners, the application process, a full program guide, and links to the required federal forms:
    www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/vadg.htm

    The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) announced the availability of approximately $19.3 million in competitive grant funds for fiscal year (FY) 2007 to help independent agricultural producers enter into value-added activities. Awards may be made for planning activities or for working capital expenses, but not for both. The maximum grant amount for a planning grant is $100,000 and the maximum grant amount for a working capital grant is $300,000.Paper copies must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight no later than May 16, 2007, to be eligible for FY 2007 grant funding. Electronic copies must be received by May 16, 2007 to be eligible for FY 2007 grant funding.

    Value Added Produce Grants website
    Contact your State Rural Development Office for details.

    Previous VAPG Recipients for Wind Energy Projects

    2004

    Wray Farmer-Owned Wind Farm Group, Colorado: $128,000
    Grant funds will be used to conduct a feasibility study and to develop a business plan for a farmer-owned commercial wind energy project in Wray, CO.

    2003

    Iowa Floyd County Wind: $7,312
    Purpose: This is a 6 member producer group using Value-added Producer Grants funds to investigate the potential of electrical wind generation in Floyd County, IA.

    Iowa Farm Energy, LLC: $7,500
    Purpose: Farm Energy, LLC requested grant funds to assist in determining the feasibility and business planning of a small scale producer owned wind farm in Northwest Iowa.

    Idaho West Slope Farms, Inc: $20,250
    Purpose: To determine the feasibility of installing on-farm wind turbines.

    Oregon Summit Ridge Group: $85,900
    Provided a positive outcome of the feasibility study, the project will create a new business to coordinate and finance the development, construction and operation of on-farm wind turbines, resulting in the sale of electricity.

    2002

    Harvest Land Cooperative, Morgan, Minnesota: $148,000
    Purpose: To assist in the development of on-farm renewable energy generation using wind.

    Last Mile Electric Cooperative, Olympia, Washington: $150,000
    Purpose: To assess the feasibility of installing small scale wind turbines on farms in the Pacific Northwest.

    More Information on VAPG

    Program Website

    Program Regulation

    Past award winners 2003

    Past award winners 2002

    Past award winners 2001

  • Vast Majority of Americans Want More Wind Power

    “An overwhelming majority of American voters, on a bipartisan basis, want more wind power.”

    —Bennett, Petts & Normington

    "Increasing the amount of energy America gets from wind is a good idea," agree 89% of American voters, according to a new poll released by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The poll shows that only clean energy sources incuding wind, solar, and natural gas receive a favorable opinion, while coal and oil are given unfavorable ratings, and nuclear energy has split ratings with no majority opinion.

    “The poll's bottom line is clear: An overwhelming majority of American voters, on a bipartisan basis, want more wind power and support a national Renewable Energy Standard (RES) to increase its use,” said Anna Bennett and Neil Newhouse, partners respectively with Bennett, Petts & Normington and Public Opinion Strategies, the firms that conducted the poll.

    Poll highlights include:

    • An overwhelming, bipartisan majority—89%—of American voters (including 84% of Republicans, 88% of Independents and 93% of Democrats)—believe increasing the amount of energy the nation gets from wind is a good idea.
    • A majority of Americans—56%—disapprove of the job Congress is doing on renewable energy and 67% believe Congress is not doing enoughto increase renewable energy sources such as wind.
    • A majority of Americans—82%—believe the nation's economy would be stronger (52%) or the same (30%) if we used more renewable energy sources like wind.
    • A majority of Americans—77%—support a national Renewable Electricity Standard. This support extends across party lines and includes 65% of Republicans, 69% of Independents, 92% of Democrats.

    “Wind works for America and that is why voters want Congress to pass a strong national RES,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “Americans understand that an RES will mean new manufacturing jobs, less dependence on imported energy, and more pure, clean, affordable energy for our country.”

    The poll was conducted March 27-28 by Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies and Anna Bennett of Bennett, Petts & Normington. The poll sampled a national survey of 600 likely voters. The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.

  • Webinar: The New Federal Tax Exempt Bonding Bill for Community Energy

    The New Federal Tax Exempt Bonding Bill for Community Energy webinar was recorded on June 1, 2007.

    The proposed Rural Community Renewable Energy Bonds Act (S. 672), introduced by Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) and Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR), would provide tax exempt private purpose bonds to fund locally owned community energy projects, e.g. those under 40 MW with at least 49% local ownership. If enacted, this bill would give local community energy project developers a better alternative to federal renewable energy production tax credit funding.

    To view just the slides from the presentations, click on the links in the list of speakers, below.


    Speakers include:

    John Covert
    Executive Director, Colorado Working Landscapes (Introduction)
    Presentation: Introduction

    Lisa Daniels
    Executive Director, Windustry (Moderator)
    Presentation: Financing Locally Owned Wind Projects

    Steve Black
    Energy Advisor to Senator Salazar

    Gregory Johnson
    Partner, Patton Boggs, LLP
    Presentation: New Financing Opportunities for Renewable Energy

    Lee White
    Executive Vice-President, George K. Baum & Company
    Presentation: Financing Renewable Energy Projects

    Andy Olsen
    Environmental Law and Policy Center
    Presentation: Next Steps

    For more information about the Rural Community Renewable Energy Bond Act contact:

    Lee White
    Renewable Energy Finance Coalition (http://www.refcoalition.com)
    303-292-1600
    whiteml@gkbaum.com

    Webinar Sponsored by:
    Renewable Energy Finance Coalition
    Environmental Law and Policy Center
    Windustry

  • Wind Energy Promotion Act Introduced in Congress

    Washington, D.C. - U.S. Representative Tim Walz and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson have introduced the Wind Energy Promotion Act, which will make it easier for individuals and small groups to take advantage of tax incentives that encourage wind energy production. Walz, a freshman member of the Agriculture Committee, said he heard about the need for the legislation while he was holding a series of Farm Bill forums throughout southern Minnesota in February and April.

    Rep. Walz visits the Bingham Lake Wind Farm to discuss energy policy.
    Rep. Walz (4th from left) visits the Bingham Lake
    Wind Farm to discuss energy policy.

    "Raising capital for wind energy projects is difficult, because many residents of rural America do not qualify for the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), which is one of the major incentives to promote wind energy production," said Walz. "This legislation will expand renewable energy production by leveling the playing field for individuals in rural America who are looking to enter the industry. Everyone wins if we pass this legislation."

    "We think it is unfortunate that our tax code makes it easy for corporations to receive the Production Tax Credit, but not for individuals in rural America who wish to do the same," said Chairman Peterson. "I'm pleased to join Congressman Walz in introducing this legislation to make our tax code fairer and to bring the benefits of renewable energy investments to more of our rural citizens."

    Currently, the PTC provides a 1.9 cent-per-kilowatt-hour tax credit for individuals who invest in wind energy generation. However, only passive income—such as income from investments—may be offset by the PTC; someone who merely invests in a wind farm cannot receive the PTC unless they have other sources of passive income to offset.

    The practical effect of this passive loss restriction is that currently, PTCs are only useful to corporations and to individuals with large amounts of taxable investment income. As a result, most wind energy investments today are made by foreign multi-national companies and not by groups of Americans who want to join together to produce renewable energy.

    The Walz-Peterson Wind Energy Promotion Act would make it easier for Americans to invest in wind energy projects by expanding the eligibility of who can receive benefits from the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit. This legislation would not limit the ability of the current beneficiaries of the PTCs to continue receiving them.

    The Wind Energy Promotion Act would amend the tax code to allow up to $40,000 of the PTC to be used against ordinary income. This "passive loss exemption" is similar to a $25,000 passive loss exemption that currently exists to encourage investments in oil and gas development and real estate.

    The Wind Energy Promotion Act also addresses the relationship of the PTC to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Because allowing the PTC to apply to ordinary income will force some middle-class taxpayers to file for the AMT, this legislation would change the tax law to eliminate the effect of the AMT on income derived from using the PTC.

    Details of the Wind Energy Promotion Act are available in the document links below.

  • Windustry Newsletter - Spring 2002

    2002 Farm Bill Makes History with New Energy Title
    The 2002 Farm Bill’s Energy Title is being hailed as a victory for farmers, the rural economy and the environment. Title IX of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, approved by congress and signed by President Bush in May, provides $115 million to assist farmers and ranchers in developing renewable energy projects and making energy-efficiency improvements. Another $290 million will fund new biomass energy research, biodiesel fuel education and the existing Commodity Credit Corporation subsidy program for the production of biodiesel and ethanol, bringing the Energy Title’s totalFarmer harvesting the wind appropriations to $405 million through 2007.

    The Energy Title is new territory for Federal farm legislation, reflecting the growing importance of farms in our nation’s energy system. A coalition of Midwestern farmer, environmental, and rural economic development groups, including Windustry, worked hard to frame the energy provisions and gather broad-based support. At his signing ceremony, President Bush acknowledged the growing importance of farms in the nation’s energy system, saying “Farming is the first industry of America - the industry that feeds us, the industry that clothes us, and the industry that increasingly provides more of our energy.”

    The money allocated for clean energy in the farm bill could be a tremendous boost for farmers and rural communities interested in developing wind energy. Under the new bill, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will have $115 million over five years to make low-interest loans, loan-guarantees and grants to farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy-efficiency improvements. The money will be available to those who demonstrate need under criteria to be established by the USDA. The grants cannot exceed 25 percent of the cost of a project, and a combined grant and loan or guarantee cannot exceed 50 percent of the cost of a project. The USDA will consider a variety of factors, including the type of renewable energy system, the quantity of energy likely to be generated, the environmental benefits, and the reproducibility of the system when determining the amount of a grant or loan.

    The new legislation should help encourage wind projects in states like North and South Dakota where huge wind resources have barely begun to be developed. Herb Manig, Executive Vice President of the North Dakota Farm Bureau, said, “The Energy Title comes at a timely juncture as our nation's consumers are increasing their demand for "clean" forms of energy, and as our nation's farmers struggle with abundant crops and low market prices. Not only will it assist farmers with their own needs for energy efficiency, it can help farmers develop and market alternate forms of energy. It will help protect our environment, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and bring greatly needed income to agricultural producers.”

    Other sections of the farm bill, including the Rural Development Title and the Conservation Title, also have provisions that should prove to be beneficial to wind. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a voluntary program for agricultural landowners that encourages land conservation, was amended to allow wind turbines and biomass harvesting on CRP lands. Wind projects will be subject to USDA approval based on site location and consistency with the soil, water and habitat goals of the CRP program.

    Under the Rural Development Title, renewable energy systems were made eligible for grants under the Value-Added Grant Program and the Consolidation Farm and Development Act was amended to allow loans and loan guarantees for wind systems and methane digesters.

    The Energy Title is a relatively small portion of the overall bill (it allocates $405 million over six years, while the full bill is estimated at $190 billion over ten years) and has not gain nearly as much attention as the increased crop subsidies and the conservation measures. However, it might be the bill’s most important provision for the future of American agriculture.

    “The Energy Title is one of the strongest components of this bill. It builds on the stuff we’ve been working on, making the nation’s energy supply domestic, diverse, decentralized and renewable,” said Larry Mitchell, Chief Executive Office of the American Corn Growers Association. While the rest of the farm bill increases subsidies for traditional crops, the Energy Title creates an opportunity for farmers to diversify and supplement their incomes.

    According to Tom Sloan, Vice Chair of House Utility Committee, Kansas House of Representatives, creating new sources of income for farmers also might help preserve family farms and the rural way of life. “Wind Power is an exciting new industry and if there is an annual income from wind turbines then it’s more incentive for the youngest generation to remain on or return to the farm - which really changes the demographics of rural counties.”

    “The Energy Title establishes energy policy as an integral part of agricultural policy which will create a bigger market for farm-based energy that will benefit rural communities,” said David Benson, farmer and Nobles County Commissioner in Southwest Minnesota.

    Windustry is looking forward to the speedy implementation of the Farm Bill and will work to ensure that the Energy Title provisions foster clean and economically advantageous renewable energy for rural communities and for the nation. You can follow the process on a new USDA website: www.usda.gov/farmbill.

    Where is the Wind?
    The first step toward developing wind energy is finding where the best wind is. New wind resource maps are now available from Wind Powering America: www.windpowermaps.org/windmaps/states.asp

    * Idaho (released April 2002)
    * Montana (released April 2002)
    * Oregon (final version TBA)
    * Washington (released January 2002)
    * Wyoming (released April 2002)
    * Selected Portions of California, Nevada and Utah (released March 2002)

    Wind resource maps are available for many other states from: www.eren.doe.gov/windpoweringamerica/where_is_wind.html.

    Links to new maps are also available from the Renewable Energy Atlas of the West project at: www.energyatlas.org. This project is working to compile information on wind, biomass, solar and geothermal resources from eleven western states into a single Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database.
    Progress on Capital Hill

    Senate passes Renewable Portfolio Standard
    In April, the U.S. Senate passed an Energy Bill that includes a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), a provision requiring ten percent of electricity generation in the United States to come from renewable sources by 2020. A national RPS is the single most powerful way to vastly expand the market for wind energy. The House energy bill passed last year does not contain an RPS and the two bills have yet to be reconciled.

    Production Tax Credit
    In other good news for wind, congress renewed the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy in March as part of a long-delayed economic stimulus package. The inflation-adjusted 1.5 cent-per-kilowatt-hour tax credit for electricity generated with wind turbines was extended through 2003, allowing hundreds of wind projects to get back on track. The PTC is critical to making wind projects economically viable. A provision to extend the credit through 2006 is part of the energy bill passed by the Senate in April. A national RPS and a longer-term extension for the PTC are essential elements for growth and financial stability in the wind industry. Where do your state’s representatives stand on renewable energy development?

    Wind Workshops/Events
    June 21-23, 2002 -- Midwest Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Fair, Custer, Wisconsin. Contact: Midwest Renewable Energy Association at (715) 592-6595 or visit www.the-mrea.org.

    July 13, 2002 -- Sustainability Fair 2002, Livingston, Montana. Rotary Park next to historic Depot Center downtown. Contact: Jody Allen at (406) 222-0730 or info@northrock.org.

    August 12-23, 2002 -- Wind Energy Workshop, Carbondale, Colorado. A hands-on workshop to learn everything from how to measure the wind to designing a system to doing an actual installation. For more information, contact Solar Energy International at www.solarenergy.org.

    November 21-22, 2002 – Minnesota Wind Conference, Minneapolis Minnesota. Save the date for a conference on reaching Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Objective.

    About Windustry
    Windustry builds collaborations and provides technical support to create an understanding of wind energy opportunities for economic development. Windustry is affiliated with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

    Windustry Evolves and Expands
    Windustry has doubled in size this spring with the hiring of a new Program Associate, Sarah Johnson. She is a former intern at Minnesotans for an Energy-Efficient Economy and holds a degree in geology from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Also, Windustry’s office has officially moved to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in Minneapolis. With this expansion, look for more frequent newsletters and updates to our website.

    Wind Farmers Network
    The purpose of the Wind Farmers Network is to bring together a broad range of landowners, farmers and ranchers to exchange their experiences in wind development and educate others who would like to begin farming the wind. If you would like to join the network, please send your contact information and a brief sentence describing your wind energy interests to Windustry or join online at www.windustry.org/about/join.htm. Your information may be shared with other wind farmers within the network only. The network is currently under development.

    Click on the link below for a pdf version.

  • Windustry Newsletter - Winter 1999

    Winter 1999 Newsletter

    Wind Energy Sails into the Next Millennium

    The White House and Congress reached an accord just before Thanksgiving to renew several expiring tax incentives, including an extension of the Federal Wind Energy Production Tax Credit. The original Production Tax Credit (PTC) provided a 1.5 cent per kilowatt-hour credit for energy produced from a new facility brought online after December 31, 1993 and before July 1, 1999. The annual payment goes for the first ten years of the facility's existence. The PTC was created as part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct) to support investment in an emerging sector of the energy industry. The tax payment is a significant component in setting the price of wind energy contracts with utilities.

    As you can see from the tables below in 1999 there was a great deal of wind activity in Minnesota to get wind facilities completed and officially online before the PTC expired. Most of these projects had been in planning and permitting stages for close to two or three years. The PTC was just extended for new facilities coming online from July 1, 1999 through December 31, 2001. The PTC 1.5 cent per kilowatt-hour is indexed annually for inflation and is currently at 1.7cents. The deal also would extend a tax credit for electricity produced not only from wind but also biomass and for the first time would allow the credit for electricity produced from chicken waste. Now is the time to let the lawmakers know they did the right thing this session, and start to encourage them in the next session to make the PTC permanent and not wait until this extension expires. You can call the Congressional Information Operator at 202/225-3121 to ask for your member of Congress or Senators.

    Minnesota Projects Prior to 1999 (Please see attached pdf for table)

    Minnesota Projects that Started Producing Electricity in 1999 (Please see attached pdf for table)

    Wind Powering America

    Announced in June, Wind Powering America is a new initiative designed to increase US wind power capacity to 5% of the nation's electricity supply by 2020. Through policy measures and new partnerships to address the current challenges of wind development, US Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson said the Administration "is taking steps to make wind a permanent presence in the nation's energy portfolio."

    The three main goals for wind power development are:

    1) Provide at least 5% of the nation's electricity with wind energy by 2020
    – install 5,000 MW by 2005
    – install 10,000 MW by 2010

    2) Double the number of states with 20 MW or more wind capacity to 16 by 2005, and triple that number to 24 states by 2010;

    3) Increase the wind energy component of the federal government's use to 5% by 2010.

    This commitment to dramatically increase the use of wind energy in the United States is also intended to help establish new sources of income for farmers, rural landowners and Native Americans; and to help meet the growing demand for clean sources of electricity.

    For more information: http://www.eren.doe.gov/windpoweringamerica

    New Home, New Work, New Sponsors - A Note from the Director

    This wind energy information project has grown and developed in many different ways in the past few months. A team of wind energy experts and enthusiasts have volunteered time and ideas over the last few months and I would like to extend a great big THANK YOU for their efforts.

    *Rory Artig, Energy Division, MN Dept. of Commerce
    * David Benson, Farmer, Nobles County Commissioner
    *Jim Boerboom, MN Dept. of Agriculture
    *Margaret Donahoe, Office of the late Senator Janet Johnson
    *Michael Noble, Minnesotans for an Energy-Efficient Economy
    *Brian Parsons, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
    *Lola Schoenrich, Minnesota Project
    *Christopher Reed, Moorhead Public Service
    *Janet Streff, Energy Division, MN Dept. of Commerce

    I am very pleased to report that the Windustry Project has new partnerships in sponsoring its work. This newsletter and the up coming town meetings listed to the right are now being sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, formerly part of the Dept. of Public Service (DPS). The purpose of this work is to provide rural landowners and community leaders with technical assistance and the latest information on wind energy development. Also, I am excited to announce the Windustry Project is newly in association with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. This is a non-profit organization that does research, education, and advocacy work to address agriculture and rural community issues on local, national and international bases. Recognizing the potential economic, environmental and social benefits of wind power for such communities, the Institute has welcomed the chance to sponsor the Windustry Project. We have already begun to integrate our wind power agenda into the Institute's vision for sustainable rural communities.

    I will still be a partner of the SEED coalition, that I have been working with for the past 4 years. The SEED coalition is working to identify and promote opportunities for renewable energy and economic development.

    I look forward to continued work with citizens and rural communities helping create new ways that wind energy can be a strong economic component in the rural economy.

    With warmest regards for the Holiday Season,
    Lisa Daniels, Director

    Click on the link below for a pdf version.