• 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 - Spring 2001

    Kas Brothers Plant 25-Year Cash Crop This Season: Wind Power
    From one perspective, Richard and Roger Kas of Woodstock, Minnesota are typical Midwestern farmers who have grown up farming the family land with their father, William Kas. But this family has something unmistakably unique taking place on their farm. They have seventeen modern wind turbines on their land, generating enough electricity to power 4300 households, and they’re about to put up two more. What is even more unique is that the Kas brothers will own these two new commercial-scale wind turbines. This is the first project of its kind in Minnesota, and possibly in the whole Midwest. Kas Brothers Wind Farm

    The wind development came about pretty quick in Southwest Minnesota when the legislature mandated that Northern States Power, now called Xcel Energy, contract 425 MW of wind generated electricity by 2002 in exchange for allowing nuclear waste to be stored outside the Prairie Island Nuclear Plant. Landowners signed leases giving the utility and wind development companies rights to put wind turbines on a portion of their land. The Kas family was part of this group of landowners. But they chose their developer carefully.

    Roger thought, “I didn’t want my land tied up without a project going on it. Once you sign something you can’t do what you want. “ He felt that, “if someone comes to me and is ready to put a wind project on my land then let’s sit down and talk.” Otherwise he just felt it was a waste of time to tie his land up for two or three or five years on the option agreements. “I don’t know why someone would want to do that. If you have a good wind resource it’s good to be sure that a project will actually go up.”

    The first 17 turbines on their land were developed by Dan Juhl of Danmar Associates, and have been up and running for two years. Roger said, “Dan Juhl was here the first. And we talked, but we had an agreement that if someone else came up with a project first and made us a good offer we would go with them. There were no exclusive agreements.”

    While Juhl was working to put his project together he kept the Kas family up to date on the different aspects. The process took a long time. It was 1993 when Juhl installed an anemometer tower to measure the wind on the Kas farm. And it was 1999 when the 17 machines were completely installed and producing power. The machines take six acres out of crop production, on the 320 acres or half section. The life of the machines is expected to be about 25 years and power purchase agreement is 25 years.

    If a Wind Developer knocks on your door, it's up to you to know the score...

    *Consult an attorney on all contracts
    *Consider all development options:
    * get together with individual landowners and collectively negotiate wind rights for the broad area
    * partner with a wind developer
    * own and operate a wind farm
    * form a value-added wind cooperative
    * partner with the electric cooperative or municipal in your region

    Roger stayed with it and paid attention to the how the project came together on his land. He may not have had an equity position in the Juhl project, but he certainly had an interest in its success since his wind easement annual payments are based on a percentage of the gross revenue from each machine. “Farming the wind is not right for everyone. We’re here everyday feeding the cattle and taking care of the farm, and we see the wind turbines as just a few more machines for us to take care of.” In that respect, you need to learn about the machines and take care of them just as you need to know how to take care of your crops and livestock. Roger has worked in construction on and off all his life. While Dan Juhl’s project was being installed on the Kas farm, the turbine manufacturer, Vestas hired Roger, for six months to work on construction and machine maintenance. Roger believes that, “If you want to farm the wind, you should have the knowledge of how it all works.”

    Over time their business relationship grew and now the Kas brothers and Juhl have completed the planning and financing for a project which the Kas family will own. Juhl led the way on the key pieces to the Kas project like permitting, power purchase agreement, turbine selection and financing. In part because he had done it before and knew the path. But also, to help forge the way for a different type of project - one that is farmer owned and farmer built. Juhl said “This is possible on a small individual scale, but this is a commercial venture, it’s not a hobby.” There is no project without the power purchase agreement (PPA). This is what the capital financing is based on.

    They had to give extra information and special attention to the local bankers to bring them along and get them interested in the wind project. It was all new to the lenders. They have put 20% down and 80% was financed with the PPA as the loan guarantee. The multiple years of wind data and Juhl’s project performance were evidence of for the strength of the wind resource. “Every place is going to be different and you have to work it out.” Says Kas. “Some land is better for raising corn and soybeans; some land is better for wheat and other places for rice. In the same way, some land is better for wind.” The wind resource has to justify the capital investment.

    Kas knows he is forging the way with his project and knows that some things will be much easier for the next guy to put up a wind project. He insists that “I am not giving anyone any advice now. I can’t give any advice until mine is up and running.”

    Wind Farmers Network
    The purpose for the Wind Farmer Network is to bring together a broad range of landowners, farmers and ranchers to exchange their experiences in wind development and to 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. Your information may be shared with other wind farmers within the network only.

    Wind Farmers Network Online
    The Windustry website now hosts a section called “Wind Farmer Feedback” in which wind farmers and potential wind farmers from around the country can share their ideas, questions, concerns, and advice. Please post your thoughts at www.windustry.org/farmer.

    South Dakota has Wind Power
    The Rosebud Sioux Tribe Wind Energy Project broke ground early this spring for a single 750 kW turbine expected to be on line by the end of the summer. The Rosebud Casino and Convention Center will be the main customer of the wind generated electricity. The excess power will be available through a "green tag" program which still has green power available for subscription. Contact: Bob Gough, ICOUP, 303-492-3125, Rpwgough@aol.com

    East River Electric Coop offers the Prairie Winds program.
    Members can choose to subscribe to wind generated electricity by paying a green premium. Basin Electric Power Cooperative will own the project and market any power that is not subscribed by East River. The project is expected to start producing power this October. The two 1.3MW Nordex turbines will be located two miles north of Chamberlain. Contact: Dan Ziebarth at East River Coop, 605-256-4536 or ziebarth@erepc.com

    Amazing News from North Dakota
    Congratulations go to North Dakotans for their grassroots support of wind power as three new bills supporting wind energy development were recently signed into law. This is a great comeback after the 1999 session, where there was not enough support for even a wind study. The bills are: 1) Personal Property Tax Reduction - puts wind farm owners on par with ND lignite-fired plants and with neighboring states. 2) Income Tax Incentive - a reduction on ND income tax of 3% per year for 5 years, of the installed cost of a wind farm. 3) Sales and Use Tax Exemption - applies to wind generating equipment installed in ND. Contact: Look at 2001 legislation, www.discoverND.com

    Colorado PUC Points to Wind
    In March, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission formally directed Xcel Energy to add a wind power project to its resource plan. After public hearings and testimony, the PUC decided that the wind plant was more cost-effective when compared to natural gas-fired generation. Wind energy beat natural gas on economics alone. The PUC ordered Xcel to enter negotiations for a 162 MW wind power plant to be located near Lamar, Colorado. Contact: Colorado PUC website, www.dora.state.co.us/puc/new.htm#dated .

    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.

  • Windustry Newsletter - Winter 2000/2001

    Winter 2000/2001 Newsletter

    Cultivating a U.S. Wind Energy Vision

    This year, more than ever, the issue of wind energy has surfaced in an extensive array of new venues. Broad wind energy forums have been held in many states including Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska. Regional meetings with wind as the central theme were held this year in Wisconsin and West Virginia, and one is planned for Washington State in January 2001.

    Windustry has participated in and learned about numerous local town meetings in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. A major new initiative called Wind Powering America has been sponsoring many of these meetings by working collaboratively with local partners and reaching out to new audiences — farmers and ranchers, rural community leaders, elected officials, Native American tribal leaders, clean energy advocates, large and small utilities, state, regional and national administrators and anyone else interested.

    Wind has also made its way into the mainstream media. Substantial articles have featured wind power in publications ranging from the New York Times and the Smithsonian magazine to local rural dailies. The articles relate a variety of perspectives including wind as a new resource competing with traditional fossil fuels and other new generation; wind as the fastest growing energy industry in the world; wind as a compatible land use with ranching; and wind turned from curse to blessing as farmers reap benefits.

    All of the gatherings and press coverage have helped those who live with the wind to envision new wind power projects and have empowered new participants in wind energy development. As a result, a wide range of new wind energy has been installed and planned in various regions throughout the U.S. While some projects are baby steps, others are major wind power plants. Some wind projects are rate-based with their cost spread evenly to all utility customers. Others depend on volunteers to subscribe to higher premiums to pay for investments in wind energy. Much of the new capacity has been spurred by state legislative requirements such as Renewable Portfolio Standards in Texas, Systems Benefits Charge in California and mandates in Minnesota and Iowa.

    The wind blowing across the U.S. has the potential to generate six times as much electricity as the entire country currently uses. However, there are a few barriers to overcome. The electricity produced from the large modern machines is too great to store with today’s technology so it must go direct onto the electrical grid. Transmission lines with unused capacity are scarce and building new ones is difficult and expensive. Also, wind energy is an intermittent resource. Even though experts predict that up to 20% of our electricity mix can be supplied by wind without compromising reliability, utilities are not embracing it. Modern wind turbines regulate power well, and thousands of installations worldwide have demonstrated that utility systems are capable of accommodating the changing wind power just as they modify their output to follow changing demand. “Wind is now a serious player in the energy market-place,” says national wind advisor Ed DeMeo of Renewable Energy Consulting Services.

    Utility survey after survey has shown that wind energy is a preferred source of electricity. As traditional fuel sources fluctuate in price or become limited in supply, and as the global warming debate heats up, the U.S. will harvest its wind resource at an ever increasing pace. While less than 1% of the electricity used by American house-holds is currently produced by wind, the existing U.S. wind capacity may well double to 5,000 MW by the end of 2001. As shown on the map above, states in the West/Southwest and Midwest regions are the nation’s wind industry leaders, and distributed installations are gaining significant footholds even in regions without large-scale projects.

    People across the country are exploring the potential for wind energy development as they work through the challenges. They are carefully and thoughtfully negotiating land leases with wind developers, they are pooling their capital and putting up their own utility scale machines, they are putting up residential or farm/small business sized wind turbines, and they are pledging contributions to wind programs. New partnerships and alliances to foster wind energy are emerging. Rural community members in particular have begun asking their utilities to install wind turbines and are contacting their elected officials in support of wind incentives and statutes to help build wind power markets. Everyone is wrestling the transmission issues which are the vital farm-to-market roads for this new crop.

    Map of US Wind Capacity (to view the map use the pdf link at the bottom of the page)

    Northwest/Northern Rockies
    Distributed: 32 MW
    Large-Scale: 85 MW
    31,000 Households

    West/Southwest
    Distributed: 30 MW
    Large-Scale: 1,786 MW
    690,000 Households

    Midwest
    Distributed: 74 MW
    Large-Scale: 471 MW
    150,000 Households

    Southeast/Atlantic
    Distributed: 11 MW
    3,000 Households

    Northeast
    Distributed: 25 MW
    10,000 Households

    More than 170 MW of "distributed" wind generation capacity (single wind turbines and small clusters, both residential and utility-scale) are installed in the 35 states denoted above. Five states with the largest arrays of turbines — California, Minnesota, Iowa, Texas, and Wyoming — are hosting another 2,340 MW in large-scale wind farms. Together approximately 14,000 wind turbines across the U.S. are currently generating enough power to serve the annual electric needs of nearly 900,000 households. This figure was calculated based on each state's 1999 residential customer usage rate and assuming an average 30% turbine capacity factor, which represents an average hub height wind speed of 16 mph.

    Washington's first large-scale project approved!

    After successful negotiations between FPL Energy and Blue Mountain Audubon Society, Walla Walla County in Washington State issued a conditional use permit last month for approximately half of the planned 300 MW "Stateline Wind Project". In a state with a history of wind facility siting challenges, FPL gained support from local environmentalists by agreeing to withdraw a few groups of turbines and to continue monitoring the sites for avian activity before applying for a second permit for the additional turbines next spring. Construction will begin in January; the full project is expected to be online by the end of 2001. For more information: www.rnp.org.

    Moorhead Wants More Wind Power

    In the no-nonsense, brisk pace of four weeks, Moorhead Public Service (MPS), a municipal utility in North-west Minnesota, signed up enough customers to buy a second community-owned 750 kW wind turbine. Due to the popularity and enormous success of its initial one turbine offering in their Capture the Wind program, MPS announced plans for Phase II in October. For just a half-penny more per kilowatt hour (kWh), MPS residential or business customers can choose to purchase either all or part of their electricity from the project. With 13,000 customers, MPS' total of nearly 900 Capture the Wind members represent a 7% participation rate, one of the highest among all green power programs across the nation. Each Capture the Wind customer who uses 1,000 kWh of electricity per month will prevent 8,800 pounds of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the air, which has the same effect on the environment as planting 1.2 acres of trees or removing one car from the road each year. For more information: Capture the Wind hotline at (218) 299-5199 or www.mpsutility.com.

    Click on the link below to read the pdf version.

  • NEW ENERGY television program now available on DVD

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

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

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

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

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

    DVD Copies Now Available
    Contact Windustry

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

    About the Program

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

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

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

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

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

  • Minnesota Passes New C-BED Legislation

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The legislation includes provisions that:

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

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

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

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

  • Wind Energy Forum-Hayfield, MN

    Learn about commercial scale wind energy, wind rights & development options, land leases & agreements, Rural Energy Development Initiative and more at this seminar for landowners and community leaders who want to know more about navigating the commercial scale wind energy arena!

    Meeting will be held Saturday, December 6th, 2008 from 1-5 pm at the American Legion Club, Main Street, Hayfield, MN

    Please RSVP to Beth Lecy at 507-545-0112

     

  • Community Wind Report for New Brunswick Released

    The Government of New Brunswick released a preliminary report addressing the potential for community wind energy development in New Brunswick.  The report recommended that Government of New Brunswick implement a community wind energy program with the initial allocation of 100 MW of projects within the province.
    The full report can be found at:

    A COMMUNITY WIND ENERGY PROGRAM FOR NEW BRUNSWICK

  • Requests for Proposals (RFP) from Northern Indiana Public Service Company

    NIPSCO issued its 2008 RFP for Renewable Energy and Demand Side Management (DSM) for the purposes of identifying and negotiating contracts for renewable energy and/or DSM resources for a delivery period commencing as soon as January 1, 2011.

    The goal of this RFP is to provide NIPSCO with renewable and/or DSM resources that meet NIPSCO's long-term projected needs with a reliable, low-cost, stable-priced, and diversified resource portfolio. NIPSCO projects a need of up to 300 gigawatt hours per year of incremental, long-term, renewable resources. A portion of that need may also be met by energy conservation DSM resources.

    The minimum project size for most renewables including landfill gas, bio-derived fuel, biomass, and wind is 5 megawatts. NIPSCO's preference is for in-state proposals and for renewable energy delivery with the associated and certified Renewable Energy Credits.
    NIPSCO's preference for the location of the facilities is defined by the following hierarchy: 1) directly connected within the NIPSCO service territory, 2) State of Indiana, and 3) Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc. (ISO) territory.

    A non-mandatory bid conference was held on November 12, 2008. Relevant information from the bid conference will be posted on the RFP Web site at http://www.nipsco2008rfp.com/. The RFP and all associated documents are also available at this location.
    Bidders should submit a non-binding Notice of Intent to Bid (NOIB) no later than 4:00 PM (CST) on November 30, 2008 via e-mail to nipsco2008rfp@ventyx.com. Submitting a NOIB does not commit a prospective bidder to submit a proposal. Bidders who do not submit a NOIB will not be sent any further correspondence regarding this RFP.

    Proposals must be received on or before 4:00 PM (CST) on January 15, 2009

  • Grant Oppurtunities

    Below are a couple of possible grant oppurtunities for wind projects:

    1) Economic Development:
    The U.S. Department of Commerce requests proposals for Economic Development Assistance Grants in the following program areas:  Public Works, Planning, Local Technical Assistance, and Economic Adjustment Assistance.  Proposals accepted through 9/30/09.  For more info, including Regional contacts, go to:
    http://www07.grants.gov/search/search.do?&mode=VIEW&flag2006=false&oppId=42952

    Refer to Sol# EDA10012008EDAP. (Grants.gov 10/1/08)

    2) Environmental Education Grants
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requests proposals for Environmental Education Grants.  This program supports environmental education projects that promote environmental stewardship and help develop knowledgeable and responsible students, teachers, and citizens.  $3 million expected to be available, up to 95 awards anticipated.  Responses due 12/18/08.  For more info, including Regional contacts, go to:  http://www.epa.gov/enviroed/grants.html. Refer to Sol# EPA-EE-09-02.  (Grants.gov 11/6/08)

Pages