Community Owned

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

Rewards of Ownership

“Community-based renewable energy projects can produce big benefits,” according to Julie Curti and Justin Goetz in their article “Rewards of Ownership” in a recent issue of Rural Cooperatives Magazine, published by U.S. Department of Agriculture.

They review various business models and sample cases for community-based renewable energy from around the world, finding that “Community ownership empowers local decision-making and maximizes the local economic benefits of renewable energy projects, as more money stays in the community than when outside owners are involved.”

They cite four phases that comprise a successful community development strategic planning process:

  • Community assessment
  • Strategic planning
  • Implementation and benchmarking
  • Evaluation

The article is available in an online version of the November/December 2008 issue of November/December 2008 at the USDA web site:

Rural Cooperatives Magazine: Rewards of Ownership

Xcel Energy Solicits C-BED Project Proposals

As a part of Xcel Energy’s Community-Based Energy Development (C-BED) program, Xcel Energy is soliciting proposals for Community Based Wind Projects.

Xcel Energy will be accepting proposals for new Minnesota wind generation resources to be in commercial operation by Dec. 31, 2010. Xcel Energy will seek approvals for any resulting Renewable Energy Purchase Agreements from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The submission deadline is February 20, 2009.

For more information see the Xcel Energy RFP.

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.

"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

Minnesota legislator wants state to encourage small, locally-owned energy projects

 

Article by: H.J. CUMMINS , Star Tribune

January 15, 2008

A legislator's plan to encourage small, local energy projects in Minnesota borrows from Germany's experience.

 

A Northfield legislator wants Minnesota to take a more European approach to renewable energy.

Rep. David Bly, DFL-Northfield, is expected to announce Thursday that he'll sponsor a bill to encourage local ownership of small energy projects. The measure would be a counterpoint to other tax incentives, including a federal production tax credit, that typically benefit large, corporate investors.

The proposed model, known as "feed-in tariffs," has worked in countries such as Germany, increasing both renewable-energy capacity and the role of small owners. Other states looking at feed-in tariffs include Michigan and California, although no state yet has such a program.

The proposal raises two issues likely to surface along with other renewable energy bills expected in the 2008 legislative session: What are the relative roles of government and the free market, and if clean energy costs more, who should pay that cost?....

 

Click here to read the article

"Local ownership urged for energy projects"

on the Star Tribune website.

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