• IREC Releases 2009 Interconnection and Net Metering Guides

    The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) has just released the 2009 updates for its highly respected and influential rules and procedures for interconnecting and net metering distributed generation.

    Many of the model procedures that regulators and utilities look to in developing local standards have not been updated in the past three years. Since that time, there has been significant market growth for renewable distributed generation. To facilitate that growth, many states have adopted net metering and interconnection policies and many others have revisited and expanded their existing policies to incorporate lessons learned from facilitating increased penetrations of distributed generation.

    IREC has been a participant in more than thirty state utility commission rulemakings regarding interconnection and net metering of distributed generation. IREC's model rule updates capture these evolved best practices and compile them into a template regulators and utilities can use as a starting point when drafting local rules.

    Important advances in interconnection procedures include:

    • clarifying that third party ownership of facilities is permissible;
    • raising the size eligibility for the simplest installations from 10 kilowatts to 25 kilowatts;
    • allowing online applications;
    • addressing state-jurisdictional facilities over ten megawatts; and
    • updating provisions related to network interconnections.

    Important advances in net metering rules include:

    • increase in the size of systems eligible for net metering;
    • expansion of program capacity caps;
    • meter aggregation; and
    • accommodation of third-party ownership of net metered systems.

    Both guides may be downloaded from IREC in the links below.
    Model Interconnection Procedures 2009
    Net Metering Model Rules 2009

  • Windustry Receives Energy Foundation Grant

    Windustry has received a grant from the Energy Foundation to continue our work advancing public policies that support Community Wind and community owned renewable energy. The Energy Foundation, located in San Francisco, is a partnership of major donors interested in solving the world's energy problems. Their mission is to advance energy efficiency and renewable energy—new technologies that are essential components of a clean energy future.

    Windustry has a strong history of advocacy for policies that will stimulate the growth of Community Wind on the state, regional and national levels. Over the next year Windustry will pursue this goal in a variety of ways that will involve education, information dissemination, networking and coalition-building, and strategic policy development. Windustry is deeply thankful for the ongoing support of the Energy Foundation.

  • Emerging Renewable Energy Industries in MN RFP

    The Office of Energy Security (OES) at the Minnesota Department of Commerce requests proposals for emerging renewable energy industries' projects. Eligible organizations are those that are engaged or will engage in the manufacture of renewable energy systems or fuels, energy storage systems, geothermal energy systems for heating and cooling, or the manufacture of components for such systems in the State of Minnesota.

    Proposals submitted in response to this RFP must be received no later than 4:00 p.m. CST, December 18, 2009. For more information, visit the OES web site.

  • New Community Wind Financing Handbook

    The Environmental Law & Policy Center has published an updated version of the Community Wind Financing Handbook. This guide reflects new financing opportunities available from federal energy and economic stimulus legislation, the new Farm Bill, and state incentives.

    Community Wind Financing Handbook

    Since ELPC published the first edition of the Community Wind Financing Guide in 2004, wind power has become the United States' fastest-growing source of electricity. Community wind projects, which represent a small but growing share of the wind market, are largely owned by farmers and other local investors with a significant economic stake in the project. Such local ownership generates powerful economic and social benefits for rural areas.

    The updated Handbook provides the latest information on financing community wind projects, including ownership structures, roles of financial intermediaries, sources of federal and state financial support and consultant/developer directories. Although building these projects has become somewhat easier over time, understanding and accessing financing opportunities remains perhaps the most important requirement for a successful project.

    The Handbook can be downloaded at no cost on the ELPC web site from the link below.

  • Department of Energy Streamlines Loan Guarantee Process for Renewable Energy

    U.S. Department of Energy

    Washington DC — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced it will provide up to $750 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help accelerate the development of renewable energy generation projects. This funding will cover the cost of loan guarantees which could support as much as $4 to 8 billion in lending to eligible projects, and the Department will invite private sector participation to accelerate the financing of these renewable energy projects.

    The Recovery Act created a new Section 1705 under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Title XVII) for the rapid deployment of renewable energy projects and related manufacturing facilities, electric power transmission projects and leading edge biofuels projects that commence construction before September 30, 2011. The new Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP) offers a streamlined set of standards designed to accelerate DOE's loan guarantee underwriting process and leverage private sector expertise and capital for the efficient and prudent funding of eligible projects.

    This first solicitation under the new program will seek loan guarantee applications for conventional renewable energy generation projects, such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydropower. Past solicitations for renewable energy generation projects have focused on loan guarantee applications using new or innovative technologies not in general use in the marketplace.

    Under this first FIPP solicitation, proposed borrowers and project sponsors do not apply directly to DOE; instead they work with financial institutions satisfying the qualifications of an eligible lender which may apply directly to DOE to access a loan guarantee. The solicitation invites applications from eligible lenders for partial, risk-sharing loan guarantees from DOE.

    Read more information on this solicitation and the Department's Loan Guarantee Program at www.lgprogram.energy.gov

  • Second Round of Clean Energy Awards Announced by Treasury

    Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Treasury Department has announced the second round of awards for cash assistance to energy producers in place of tax credits. This provides provides an additional $550 million, bringing the total to more than $1 billion awarded to dateto companies committed to investing in domestic renewable energyproduction.

    “This Recovery Act program is an example of a true federal partnership with the private sector,” said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. “Not only are our Recovery dollars meeting an immediate funding need among innovative companies, they are also jumpstarting private sector investment in communities across the country, with benefits for the renewable energy industry and our economy alike.” 

    Created under Section 1603 of the Recovery Act, the program provides cash assistance to energy producers in place of tax credits. The payments improve project viability, enabling companies to create and retain jobs, and establish sufficient financing bases for projects that may otherwise not be possible, dramatically expanding and accelerating the development of renewable energy projects throughout the country. Under this program, the federal government provides a cash payment in lieu of a tax credit totaling 30 percent of the qualifying cost of the project; for each federal dollar spent in payments, more than two dollars are spent in private sector investments. 

    The following 25 projects were funded in this announcement.

    STATE

    PROJECT

    LOCATION

    AMOUNT

    CA

    Bob's Big Boy LLC

    Burbank, CA

    $53,648

    CA

    Ameresco Half Moon Bay LLC

    Half Moon Bay, CA

    $6,641,747

    CA

    Ameresco Keller Canyon LLC

    Pittsburgh, CA

    $2,796,377

    CA

    BioFuel Oasis Cooperative, Inc

    Berkely, CA

    $16,858

    CO

    5135 Company

    Denver, CO

    $23,130

    FL

    Conditioned Air Corporation of Naples

    Naples, FL

    $50,250

    HI

    Two Daughters

    Kihei, HI

    $15,150

    IA

    Barton Wind Farm

    Kinsett, IA

    $93,419,883

    MN

    BI

    Minneapolis, MN

    $25,649

    MN

    Spruce Tree Centre

    St. Paul, MN

    $107,764

    MO

    Farmers City Wind Farm

    Tarkio, MO

    $84,959,857

    MO

    Ameresco Jefferson City LLC

    Jefferson City, MO

    $2,300,244

    NC

    Solar Billboard Property

    Bolivia, NC

    $5,850

    NJ

    Meadowlands Exposition Center

    Secaucus, NJ

    $767,937

    NJ

    EHT Leasing LLC

    Egg Harbor Township

    $118,560

    NJ

    OC Kearny

    Kearny, NJ

    $992,006

    NV

    Enel Salt Wells, LLC

    Fallon, NV

    $21,196,478

    NV

    Enel Stillwater, LLC

    Fallon, NV

    $40,324,394

    NY

    OP 110 E. 59th St. CHP

    New York, NY

    $415,774

    SD

    Impervious Energy Systems, LLC

    Whitewood, SD

    $31,511

    TX

    Barton Chapel Wind Farm

    Jacksboro, TX

    $72,573,627

    TX

    Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers, Inc.

    Santa Rosa, TX

    $10,232,261

    TX

    Bull Creek Wind LLC

    O'Donnell, TX

    $91,390,497

    TX

    Pyron Wind Farm, LLC

    Roscoe, TX

    $121,903,306

    VT

    Wheeler Brook Apartments

    Warren, VT

    $19,155

     

     

     

    $550,381,913

  • USDA Selects Windustry to Form Landowner Wind Energy Association Resource Center

    USDA logo

    Washington, Sept. 24, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that 58 recipients have been selected to receive $8 million in grants to spur economic development in rural communities in 41 states, the Territory of Puerto Rico and the Western Pacific. Minnesota-based Windustry has been selected to receive a $200,000 grant to form the Landowner Wind Energy Association Resource Center. The Center will provide technical assistance to rural small businesses to analyze, organize, develop and expand rural wind energy projects. Windustry will work with businesses seeking to construct wind projects in Montana, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

    Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture
    Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture

    “Rural businesses are the lifeblood of rural communities and their financial health is vital as we work to create jobs and expand entrepreneurship throughout the country,” Vilsack said. “The funding we are announcing today will help lay the foundation for economic growth in many communities, consistent with the Obama Administration's vision of rebuilding and revitalizing rural America.”

    The funds are being provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program, which finances development of small and emerging rural business. The grants may be used for project planning, land acquisition and development, transportation and infrastructure improvements; renovation or construction, equipment purchases, establishment of working capital or revolving loan funds, adult job training and technical assistance.

    USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant announcement

    Windusty's Introduction to Landowner Wind Energy Associations (LWEA)

  • USDA Announces $13 Million in REAP Grants and Loans

    USDA logo

    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing more than $13 million in loans and grants for 233 renewable energy projects in 38 states under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The loan guarantees and grants will help agricultural producers and rural small businesses to conduct energy audits and feasibility studies for renewable energy systems, for renewable energy development assistance, and to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements.

    “Rural businesses are the lifeblood of rural communities and their financial health is vital as we work to create jobs and expand entrepreneurship throughout the country,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The funding will help lay the foundation for economic growth in many communities, consistent with the Obama Administration's vision of rebuilding and revitalizing rural America.” 

    An example of a project, Milford Wind Energy, LLC, Story City, Iowa, has been selected to receive a $1.8 million guaranteed loan and a $500,000 grant to build a 900 kilowatt wind turbine for energy generation. When complete, the turbine is expected to produce nearly 3.3 million kilowatts of electricity annually and generate more than $200,000 in electricity that will be sold to the local utility company. Construction of the turbine is expected to be completed next year.

    The following links provide full information:

    USDA REAP Funding Announcement & Project List
    Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

  • Transmission Cost Allocation Proposal Threatens Wind Development

    Washington, DC, August 13, 2009 - The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and its regional partner Wind on the Wires (WOW) have filed a protest with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) urging rejection of a proposal from the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO).

    MISO claims that current cost allocation rules produce inequitable results for a few transmission owners in some circumstances. In particular, the transmission system operator maintains that the existing cost-allocation method can introduce high costs to a small group of transmission owners with facilities in the vicinity of, but whose load is not proportionally benefited by, upgrades to the system necessary to accommodate interconnection requests from generators.

    AWEA and WOW argue that the problem is impacting only a small fraction of transmission owners in the Midwest ISO’s footprint, but the proposal would overhaul the cost allocation for the entire region without any justification for removing costs from the vast majority of transmission owners and imposing them on generators.

    “The proposed policy change is like requiring the next car entering a congested highway to pay the full cost of adding a new lane,” said WOW Director Beth Soholt. “Obviously such a policy is unworkable, which in our case means that wind projects will not be able to connect to the grid.”

    “At a time when the wind industry is one of the few bright spots of the U.S. economy, having created 35,000 new jobs last year, this policy is saying the Midwest is becoming less friendly for the wind business, and that will clearly have an impact on not only wind development but manufacturing and supply-chain jobs throughout the region,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode.

    Read the filing of Protest of The
    American Wind Energy Association
    and Wind On The Wires
    .

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