Commercial Scale

Community Wind Energy 2006: Financing Community Wind - Equity Panel

This panel focused on challenges faced by almost every community wind project: financing, raising equity, and using the federal production tax credit (PTC). Panelists will address key questions such as: how community wind projects are taking advantage of the PTC, what kinds of deals are being made, what equity investors are looking for in a project, and whether institutional investors are interested in community wind projects. There will be two short presentations, followed by an advanced discussion and questions and answers with the speakers and panelists.

Moderator: Keith Martin, Partner, Chadbourne & Parke LLP



  • David Brija-Towery, Business Development Manager, John Deere Wind Energy
  • Ward C. Marshall, Babcock & Brown
  • John P. Harper, Principal, Birch Tree Capital, LLC
  • Tim MacDonald, Senior Vice President, Meridian Clean Fuels, LLC

Listen to audio of these presentations:

Part A

Part B

Part C 

Click here to download a summary of these presentations.

Community Wind Energy 2006: Financing Community Wind - Debt Panel

This session explores the debt side of community wind energy. Featured topics include: the debt market today – participants and terms; what makes a good wind project from a lender’s perspective; new opportunities in bonding; and how lenders view risk for wind energy projects.

Moderator: Ed Woolsey, Green Prairie Energy


Listen to audio from this session:

Part A

Part B

Read written summaries of the presentations by clicking here.

Property Taxation of Wind Generation Assets

"Property Taxation of Wind Generation Assets," North American Windpower, May 2006, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp. 31-34. This article, written by Warren Ault, summarizes research he did for Windustry in 2005 into the actual and potential local economic benefits of wind power, focusing particularly on a survey of the varieties of approaches throughout the United States to the use of local property taxes. Click on the link below to download a PDF copy of the article.

Minnesota Energy Legislation in 2007

2007 was a landmark year for energy policy in Minnesota. The legislature passed the strongest renewable energy standard in the nation with overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle. This law makes Minnesota a leader in clean energy policy and creates a great opportunity for our state to reap the rewards of the booming renewable energy industry. With the passage of The Next Generation Energy Act of 2007, the legislature made sure much of the economic benefits of the increased renewable energy would stay in our rural communities.

The bill also contains real solutions to global warming that will create tangible cost savings for Minnesotan families and businesses.

The Renewable Energy Standard

The strongest renewable energy standard (RES) in the nation became law this session when Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a requirement that the state’s electric utilities obtain 25% of their energy from renewable resources by 2020. Minnesota’s utilities currently get about 6% of their energy from renewable sources. Under this new law, Minnesota will add between 5,000 and 6,000 MW of new renewable energy, a large part of which is expected to come from new wind turbines in our rural communities.

The renewable energy standard is a market-based mechanism that requires utilities to gradually increase the portion of their energy that is produced from renewable sources like wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy. The RES uses tradable renewable energy credits to achieve reductions in a flexible, low-cost manner that creates competition among renewable energy generators and provides them with an incentive to continually drive costs down. Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Standard will help keep electricity costs low, spur economic development, increase energy independence and security, and lead to cleaner air.

The Next Generation Energy Act of 2007

The Next Generation Energy Act, signed into law this May, provides for concrete actions that will set Minnesota on a path to achieve 80% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Key components of the law include:

Three times the current amount of investment in energy efficiency measures that will produce a 25% energy savings by 2025.

  • A goal to aggressively reduce our global warming pollution to reach an 80% reduction below 2005 levels by 2050.
  • The creation of an economy-wide climate change action plan by February 1, 2008. Arizona’s climate action plan will result in an estimated overall net economic cost savings of more than $5.5 billion from 2007 to 2020.
  • Required reductions in CO2 from the power sector. After August 1, 2009 there will be a moratorium on new power plants unless they can offset their CO2 emissions

The Next Generation Energy Act also includes critical provisions that will help rural communities plan, build, and own renewable energy facilities themselves, thereby keeping energy dollars in local communities. The Act:

  • Allows counties to take over permitting authority to site wind energy facilities up to 25MW in size, an increase over the previous 5MW, and impose higher standards than state laws.
  • Allows local governments to own wind energy projects with more than two turbines without partnering with other entities.
  • Requires 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.
  • Requires that developers finish projects within 7 years or renegotiate land development agreements with landowners to extend these agreements.
  • Requires the Department of Commerce to consider the Community-Based Energy Development (C-BED) economic benefits that flow to all local interests, not just the project developer, when approving C-BED projects.
  • Allows C-BED developers to negotiate market-based rates unhindered by out-of-date price caps.
  • Requires utilities to consider contracting with C-BED projects to comply with the Renewable Energy Standard.
  • Allows utilities to partner with C-BED projects.
  • Requires a variety of studies on emerging community energy issues.

“These changes in law will help cities, counties, school districts, and other local agencies develop, own, and benefit from wind farms. 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.”

-David Benson, Nobles County Commissioner

More Information
For more information about the benefits of community wind, click here.

For the full text of the Renewable Energy Standard bill click here.

For the full text of The Next Generation Energy Act, click here.

Farmer's Guide to Wind Energy

This publication was released by Farmer's Legal Action Group in August 2007. According to the FLAG website, "This book serves as a guide to the many legal issues faced by farmers and rural landowners who seek to develop wind energy projects.

The Farmers' Guide to Wind Energy: Legal Issues in Farming the Wind provides legal information for individuals developing wind projects, regardless of size. This includes farmer-owned large utility-scale wind farms as well as smaller on-farm or residential wind turbine projects. Legal issues covered in this guide include negotiating wind property agreements, siting a wind farm, liability risks associated with developing and operating wind turbines, project financing, choice of business structure, government incentives for wind development, and the tax consequences of these efforts."

Click here to go to the FLAG website.

Webinar: Wind Energy Easements

Watch Windustry's web-based presentation on Wind Energy Easements from May 9th, 2007.
(Presented in conjunction with Colorado State University Extension Service and Iowa State University Extension Service.)

Click here to view now.

Lisa Daniels, Windustry
John Covert, Colorado Working Landscapes


Windustry's Executive Director, Lisa Daniels talks about common issues related to wind energy leases and easments and discusses other options for landowners as well as sharing some community wind success stories from Minnesota and Iowa.

John Covert, of Colorado Working Landscapes talks briefly about recent wind legislation in Colorado that increasethe options for farmer- and community-owned wind projects in that state.

Community Wind Energy 2006: Business Models

Business Models: Farmer and Small Developer Panel
Community wind project developers discuss how they put together their projects and business models. Panelists in this session have been involved in community wind projects in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Germany and will offer a range of practical perspectives. Discussion topics include advantages and disadvantages of different business models, the role of public policy and regulation in shaping community wind projects, and the biggest challenges facing community wind projects today.

Moderator: Ed Ritger, Ritger Law Offices, Attorney & Counselors at Law


  • Dan Juhl, DanMar & Associates
  • Mark Willers, Minwind Energy, LLC
  • Ryan Wolf, Farmer/Small Wind Developer
  • Paul Woodin, Western Wind Power

Listen to audio of these presentations:

Part A

Part B 


Subscribe to Commercial Scale