• Community Wind across America Rocky Mountain Region conference report

    Community Wind across America

    Windustry presented the Community Wind across America Rocky Mountain Region conference on October 26 and 27 in Denver, Colorado.

    In the kick off to the regional conferences Windustry is presenting with support form the United States Department of Energy, people from the Colorado Eastern Plains, Wyoming, Kansas, Utah and New Mexico heard keynotes from national leaders, success stories from rural America, and a broad range of information on the distributed wind industry. The crowd numbered around 225.

  • USDA Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager to deliver keynote at Community Wind across America Rocky Mountain Conference

    Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager
    USDA Under Secretary
    Dallas Tonsager

    United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager will deliver the keynote address at the Community Wind across America conference in the Rocky Mountain Region on the opening morning of October 26, 2010. Tonsager has more than 35 years of dedicated work as a farmer, businessman, and community, state and national leader. He has been a vocal advocate for USDA Rural Development's continued investment in renewable-energy options, which he sees as "absolutely critical" to our future and the "greatest opportunity for economic growth in rural America today."

    Other conference highlights include Colorado's Governor Bill Ritter, Jr., as keynote speaker on Wednesday October 27; along with speakers John Stulp, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture; Bill Midcap, Director of Renewable Energy Development, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union; Larry Flowers, Principal Project Leader, National Wind Technology Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; and Dan Juhl, Chairman and CEO, Juhl Wind Inc.

    Windustry is pleased and excited to have these visionary leaders for renewable energy join us along with many more leaders in Community and Small Wind. Community Wind across America offers a robust program that will make it easy to get involved with community wind networks and get good solid wind energy information.

    Attendees include rural landowners, community leaders, elected officials, clean energy advocates, state and federal agencies, zoning and permitting officials, wind developers, educators and academics and economic development professionals. Focus will be on public policy and project development specifics for Community and Small Wind, with an overall goal to grow this market nationally.

    2010 Conferences

    Rocky Mountain Region, October 26-27, 2010, Renaissance Denver Hotel, Denver, CO.
    Midwest Region, November 15-16 2010, Crowne Plaza Hotel, St. Paul, MN
    Mid Atlantic Region November 30 – December 1, 2010, Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA

    REGISTER online or phone Catherine O' Neill at 612-870-3477.

    Community Wind across America conferences are presented by Windustry, a national leader in helping communities develop and own wind energy. With support from U.S. Department of Energy funding and national sponsor, Nordic WindPower.

  • Counties Investing in Green Strategies according to NACo Survey

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Driven by finding ways to reduce the cost of running local government, the nation's counties are implementing innovative green government strategies and say they have seen cost‐savings as a result, according to a new survey from the National Association of Counties (NACo).

    LCSWMA - PPL Wind Turbines
    Wind turbine erected at Frey Farm Landfill, Conestoga, PA for Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority by PPL Renewable Energy, September 2010.

    The NACo Green Government Initiative surveyed all of America's 3,068 counties on their current and future sustainability strategies, priorities, and the challenges, with 18 percent of counties responding to the survey. The survey analyzed the responding counties' demographic and geographic characteristics, including a population analysis and regional and climate assessment. Among the key findings:

    • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Generation along with Waste Management are the most common sustainability efforts counties are pursuing.
    • 68 percent affirmed that their county has sustainability strategies underway.
    • 45 percent said the most important benefit counties are realizing from sustainability efforts is cost savings.
    • Overwhelmingly, funding is the most significant challenge inhibiting counties from accomplishing all sustainability strategies.
    • The majority of respondents would like to further invest in:
    1. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Generation
    2. Waste Management
    3. Green Building Construction/Renovation, and Water Conservation/Reuse
    4. Green Purchasing, Local Food Systems, and Green Economic Development

    “Counties are clearly national leaders in pursuing green government efforts to help protect the environment and save taxpayers' money,” said Green Government Initiative Chair Shannon Staub, Commissioner, Sarasota County, Fla. “This survey is just one more example of the work NACo's Green Government Initiative is doing to help us all better understand county sustainability strategies, what efforts are working, and where do we go from here.”

    The survey's findings are available in the NACo publication 2010 County Sustainability Strategies.

  • 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.”

  • U.S. Wind Industry Can Create Tens of Thousands of Jobs

    According to a report released by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), BlueGreen Alliance, and the United Steelworkers, the U.S. wind industry can create tens of thousands of additional jobs manufacturing wind turbines and components if the U.S. passes long-term policies that create a stable market for the domestic wind energy supply chain.

    “Wind energy provides one of the most promising sources of new manufacturing jobs for American workers.”

    — Rob Gramlich, AWEA Sr. VP
    of Public Policy

    Winds of Change: A Manufacturing Blueprint for the Wind Industry highlights growth for the American wind industry despite the absence of a long-term and stable market for wind energy, or policies to support wind's manufacturing sector. While the growth in wind energy manufacturing has been steady — growing from 2,500 workers in 2004 to 18,500 in 2009 — tens of thousands of additional jobs manufacturing wind turbines and components, such as towers, gearboxes, and bearings, could be created with policies that establish a long-term, stable market and support the manufacturing sector's transition to the wind industry.

    “Wind energy provides one of the most promising sources of new manufacturing jobs for American workers,” said Rob Gramlich, Senior Vice President of Public Policy for AWEA. “This report shows how the right policies such as a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) will build the supply chain and create those jobs.” 

    “This report represents a major alignment between our goals for energy independence and creating the clean energy jobs of the future,” said Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH). “With the right policies, clean energy will help revitalize American manufacturing. We must ensure that American manufacturers have the resources they need to build clean wind energy components and by doing so, help establish America as a global leader of clean energy technologies.”

    “Moving to clean energy is just one piece of the puzzle — we need to ensure that America's clean energy economy is built by U.S. workers, and creates good manufacturing jobs,” said Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers. “By including common-sense policies like a 25 percent Renewable Electricity Standard, and an extended Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit, in comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation, we can build a wind energy supply chain in the U.S.”

    Along with the RES, specific policies aimed at building the wind manufacturing sector include extending and strengthening the Recovery Act's convertible tax credit program (1603), fully funding the Green Jobs Act, building a transmission grid infrastructure to meet the demand for clean energy and utilizing loan guarantee programs for commercial manufacturing of clean energy.

    The report recommends passing Senator Sherrod Brown's IMPACT Act, which creates a state-level revolving loan fund to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers retool for clean energy markets and adopt energy efficient manufacturing. The report also recommends extending and strengthening the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit with specific incentives and accountability provisions to maximize domestic job creation, including giving highest priority to projects that manufacture clean energy component parts.

  • Cascade, Wisconsin Wastewater Plant Powered by Wind Energy

    With the start-up of two 100-kilowatt (kW) wind turbines, the Village of Cascade became the first Wisconsin community to power its municipal wastewater treatment plant with 100 percent locally produced wind energy.

    The impetus behind Cascade's embrace of wind power was the avoided utility expenditures associated with operating a wastewater treatment plant. In the first year of operation, Cascade stands to save $30,000. With anticipated increases in electric rates, the Village of Cascade should save more than one million dollars over the thirty-year life of the turbines. Additional revenue will come from the sale of excess power to We Energies.

    “With these two turbines, the Village of Cascade has taken a giant step toward energy independence,” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin. “Its prudent investment in wind energy will enable the community to control its energy budget, saving money for current and future residents.”

    Kettle View Renewable Energy, LLC, a wind system installer located in nearby Random Lake, installed and commissioned Cascade's turbines. “We are proud that our local efforts on this project made this the first net-zero wastewater treatment plant in Wisconsin,” said Kettle View Renewable Energy project manager Randy Faller. “It speaks volumes to the commitment by the Village of Cascade to generate clean, domestic energy while saving their community money.”

    Northern Power Systems, the Vermont turbine manufacturer, “couldn't be more pleased that our technologically advanced, American-made Northwind 100 turbines are delivering real energy solutions for municipalities, schools, businesses and farms across Wisconsin,” said Brett Pingree, vice president of Americas at Northern Power Systems.

    Grants from Milwaukee-based We Energies and Focus on Energy were instrumental in supplementing Cascade's investment in the project.

  • Lummi Nation Wind Energy Development Feasibility Assessment Services RFP


    The Lummi Nation is requesting proposals from qualified consulting firms to provide wind energy development feasibility assessment services. The overall goal of the Lummi Indian Reservation Wind Energy Development Feasibility Assessment Project, which is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, is to determine if and at what cost wind energy development on the Reservation can help achieve the tribal goal of energy self-sufficiency.

    Wind power assessments developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL 2002) indicate that the large tideland and floodplain areas of the Lummi Indian Reservation (Reservation) are in Wind Power Class 3, having Fair wind power potential at 50 meters. Although the available mapping and general observations indicate that wind power generation is feasible on the Reservation, site-specific wind measurements are needed to ensure a reasonable economic return prior to making the substantial capital investments associated with installing wind turbines and associated transmission infrastructure. Numerous other factors, such as cultural, socio-economic, natural resources, noise, aesthetics, and adjacent land uses also affect the feasibility of a wind energy project on the Reservation.

    Please contact Monika Lange for further information. Women and/or minority owned businesses are encouraged to apply. All proposals must be received by 12:00 p.m. on July 23, 2010.

  • DOE to Invest $6 Million in Midsize Wind Turbine Technology Development

    U.S. Department of Energy

    Washington DC — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the availability of up to $6 million to advance midsize wind turbine technology in order to boost the speed and scale of midsize turbine deployment. DOE will provide the funding over two years to accelerate the development, testing, and commercialization of domestically manufactured, midsize wind turbines with rated generating capacities between 100 kilowatts and 1 megawatt. Through this funding opportunity, DOE will leverage private-sector technology investment by providing cost-shared partnerships to qualified projects in support of the Administration's drive to create clean-energy jobs, and promote economic development and energy independence. DOE anticipates making up to four initial grants under this competitive solicitation.

    Midsize turbines are used at schools, farms, factories, private and public facilities, remote locations, and community and tribal wind projects to generate renewable electricity. The size of these turbines allows them to be installed on the site of electricity use, thus minimizing the need for new electric transmission lines. However, the market for midsize turbines has lagged behind the growing markets for both utility-scale turbines larger than 1 megawatt and for small turbines under 100 kilowatts.

    This funding opportunity from DOE will help address two major reasons for the slow growth in the midsize turbine market-namely, the scarcity of midsize turbine models available for purchase and unfavorable project economics-by supporting the development of innovative technologies that lower the installed costs and improve the productivity of midsize turbines. In addition, this funding opportunity will promote the utilization of U.S. manufacturers and supply chain vendors.

    For more details, view the Funding Opportunity Announcement.

    For more information on how DOE works to develop wind technologies, visit the Wind and Water Power Program web site.