Community Wind projects get a boost from Washington State

Washington State August 30, 2010 The State of Washington has awarded Cascade Community Wind Company (CCWC) one million dollars (30% grant 70% low interest loan) to help install up to eight community wind turbines before December 2011. According to CWCC, the funds will leverage approximately $10 million of private and federal funds.

The CCWC Blog says they were selected as one of the State’s best bets for spending the states allocation of ARRA stimulus money to further renewable energy in the state of Washington.

Of particular significance to the State Energy Program are CCWC’s ongoing efforts to remove barriers to distributed community renewable energy projects in general. Press Release

In related news, Cascade celebrated a groundbreaking, August 30, on the first Farmer Owned Community Wind turbines in Washington state.

Stimulus Incentives Benefit Community Wind

A new report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory reveals how the 30% investment tax credit (ITC) and cash grant equivalent have increased benefits for the development of Community Wind projects. “Revealing the Hidden Value that the Federal Investment Tax Credit and Treasury Cash Grant Provide To Community Wind Projects” analyzes the impact of new federal policies for wind farm investment incentives introduced this year as part of the U.S. economic stimulus program.

Historically, the production tax credit (PTC) has been the primary incentive for wind farm development, but the PTC requires passive income that only certain equity investors can leverage. The ITC and cash grant equivalent now available to qualified projects have reshaped the financial landscape for renewable energy development by lowering the hurdles for investors to obtain tax credits as well as providing cash grant equivalents for upfront capital. In addition, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included provisions that eliminated the ITC's anti-double-dipping (or "haircut") provision for subsidized energy financing.

“Many of these ancillary benefits circumvent barriers that have plagued community wind projects in the United States for years.”

-Mark Bolinger,
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Mark Bolinger, the report's author, argues that while the stimulus changes were intended for the wind energy markets in general, they have been a blessing in disguise for community wind project development in the United States.

“It stands to reason that community wind, which has had more difficulty using the PTC than has commercial wind, may benefit disproportionately from this newfound ability to choose among these federal incentives. This report confirms this hypothesis,” says Bolinger. “Just as important are a handful of ancillary benefits that accompany the 30% ITC and/or cash grant, but not the PTC. Many of these ancillary benefits—including relief from the alternative minimum tax, passive credit limitations, and certain PTC ‘haircuts’—circumvent barriers that have plagued community wind projects in the United States for years.”

The report compares two financing structures, the Strategic Investor Partnership Flip and the Cooperative LLC, finding that the “Strategic Investor Flip structure benefits significantly more from choosing the ITC over the PTC than it does from switching to the 30% cash grant. Meanwhile, the opposite is true for the Cooperative LLC structure, which does not benefit much from selecting the ITC over the PTC, but realizes a tremendous amount of value by choosing the 30% cash grant over the ITC.”

This report, “Revealing the Hidden Value that the Federal Investment Tax Credit and Treasury Cash Grant Provide To Community Wind Projects,” and others are available at the Electricity Markets and Policy Renewable Energy Publications section of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory web site.

Lisa Daniels, Executive Director of Windustry, served as a draft reviewer for this report.

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.






Bob's Big Boy LLC

Burbank, CA



Ameresco Half Moon Bay LLC

Half Moon Bay, CA



Ameresco Keller Canyon LLC

Pittsburgh, CA



BioFuel Oasis Cooperative, Inc

Berkely, CA



5135 Company

Denver, CO



Conditioned Air Corporation of Naples

Naples, FL



Two Daughters

Kihei, HI



Barton Wind Farm

Kinsett, IA




Minneapolis, MN



Spruce Tree Centre

St. Paul, MN



Farmers City Wind Farm

Tarkio, MO



Ameresco Jefferson City LLC

Jefferson City, MO



Solar Billboard Property

Bolivia, NC



Meadowlands Exposition Center

Secaucus, NJ



EHT Leasing LLC

Egg Harbor Township



OC Kearny

Kearny, NJ



Enel Salt Wells, LLC

Fallon, NV



Enel Stillwater, LLC

Fallon, NV



OP 110 E. 59th St. CHP

New York, NY



Impervious Energy Systems, LLC

Whitewood, SD



Barton Chapel Wind Farm

Jacksboro, TX



Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers, Inc.

Santa Rosa, TX



Bull Creek Wind LLC

O'Donnell, TX



Pyron Wind Farm, LLC

Roscoe, TX



Wheeler Brook Apartments

Warren, VT






Treasury, Energy Announce $500 Million in Awards for Clean Energy Projects

Washington, D.C. - Marking a major milestone in the effort to spur private sector investments in clean energy and create new jobs for America's workers, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced $502 million in the first round of awards from an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) program that provides cash assistance to energy production companies in place of earned tax credits.

The new funding creates additional upfront capital, enabling companies to create jobs and begin construction that may have been stalled until now.

Created under Section 1603 of the Recovery Act, the program is expected to provide more than $3 billion in financial support for clean energy projects by providing direct payments in lieu of tax credits. These payments will support an estimated 5,000 bio-mass, solar, wind, and other types of renewable energy production facilities in all regions of the country over the life of the program. As a result of this first round of funding, more than 2,000 Americans will have access to jobs in the renewable energy industry - both in construction and in manufacturing - while moving the nation closer to meeting the Administration's goal of doubling renewable energy generation in the next few years. 

The Treasury Department opened the application process for the 1603 program on July 31, 2009 and is today making the first awards in half the statutorily mandated turnaround time of 60 days. The following is a chart of projects funded as part of today's announcement. Additional awards under the program will be announced in the coming weeks. 

CO Movement Gym PV System (Solar) Boulder, CO $157,809
CT Solaire Development, LLC Danbury, CT $2,578,717.00
ME Evergreen Wind Power V, LLC Danforth, ME $40,441,471
MN Moraine II Wind Farm Woodstock, MN $28,019,520
NY Canadaigua Power Partners, LLC (Wind) Cohocton, NY $52,352,334
NY Canadaigua Power Partners II, LLC (Wind) Cohocton, NY $22,296,494
OR Wheat Field Wind Farm Arlington, OR $47,717,155.00
OR Hay Canyon Wind Farm Moro, OR $47,092,555
OR Pebble Springs Wind Farm Arlington, OR $46,543,219
PA Highland Wind Farm Salix, PA $42,204,562
PA Locust Ridge II, LLC (Wind) Shenandoah, PA $59,162,064
TX Penascal Wind Farm Sarita, TX $114,071,646


Department of Treasury Releases Cash Grant Guidelines

Washington, D.C., July 9, 2009 - The United States Treasury Department posted guidance documents for the cash grant program created in section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) including:

  • Program guidance document
  • Terms and conditions
  • Sample application

It is expected that the Section 1603 program will temporarily fill the gap created by the diminished investor demand for tax credits. In this way, the near term goal of creating and retaining jobs is achieved, as well as the long-term benefit of expanding the use of clean and renewable energy and decreasing our dependency on non-renewable energy sources. Details are available on the Treasury web site: 

Interested applicants please note:

The election to receive the cash grant is an irrevocable election that prohibits an applicant from also receiving the Production Tax Credit (PTC) or the Investment Tax Credit (ITC). For more guidance on electing the ITC or cash grant in lieu of the PTC, see the IRS Notice 2009-52:

Identifying whether the PTC, ITC or cash grant will be most financially beneficial to a particular project depends on a number of factors and will require a thorough financial analysis of a project. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) issued a report analyzing the various benefits of the PTC versus the ITC. That report assumes the value to the developer of the ITC and the cash grant are the same. You can download a copy of the report from the Windustry web site:

How Will Stimulus Bill Help Community Wind?

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Obama signs stimulus bill
President Obama signs American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Now that Congress has passed and President Obama has signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, how will this help to stimulate Community Wind projects? According to Denise Bode, American Wind Energy Association CEO, "the stimulus bill contains a number of provisions aimed at helping our industry continue the very strong growth in new installations and new jobs we have seen over the past few years." Some of the provisions include:

  • 3-year extension of the federal wind energy production tax credit (PTC)
  • Option for a 30% investment tax credit (ITC) instead of the PTC
  • Option to convert the ITC into a grant for projects placed in service before 2013
  • Additional loan guarantees, bonds, and tax incentives

President Obama's goal with the stimulus package is to create a wide variety of initiatives to jumpstart the American economy. This opens up new sources of funding for renewable energy at a time when the Wind Energy industry is set for even more growth despite  being stalled by the economic downturn. These programs will allow Community Wind projects to take advantage of more funding opportunities.

“Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs. More than 90 percent of these jobs will be in the private sector, jobs rebuilding our roads and bridges, constructing wind turbines...”

President Barack Obama
Presidential Address to Congress
February 24, 2009

Wind facilities that qualify for the PTC can now make an irrevocable decision to take a 30% ITC in lieu of the PTC. In order to do so the project must be placed into service by December 31, 2012, and the PTC will no longer be available for the project. This has the potential to attract more investors who may not have enough passive activity income to realize the PTC. Which credit a taxpayer uses will depend upon an analysis of the project revenue and cost projections as well as analysis of the investor tax appetite. 

Further, if the project qualifies for the PTC or the ITC and is placed into service between 2009-2010 (or it begins construction at that time and is placed into service before 2013) the project can choose to apply to the Treasury Department for a cash grant that is equal to 30% of the qualified costs of the project. This cash grant is in lieu of both the PTC and ITC. This means the value of the ITC can be realized, even if the taxpayer cannot take advantage of the credit. The rules and application guidelines for this program have not been finalized yet.  

There are other provisions that address renewable energy financing on other levels. The Act removes the $4,000 cap on the small wind credit so taxpayers can now take the full 30% credit for a qualified small wind system.

The Act also provides for an additional $1.6 billion for Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) that are used to finance renewable energy. There have been no announcements yet that applications are being accepted for these new allocations, and no guidance has been given on how the program will operate. Previously, these bonds have been given at 0% interest rate, and the bondholder receives a tax credit in lieu of bond interest. 

The Department of Energy received an extension of their authority to provide loan guarantees for qualified technologies under Title XVII of the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 and an additional $6 billion for this program. Eligible technologies include electricity-generating renewable energy projects.   

Read more on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Wind Energy Provisions at the Fredrikson & Byron P.A. web site and read how The Geniuses at DSIRE Translate the Energy Parts of the Stimulus Package via the Interstate Renewable Energy Council web site.

Along with this important step forward to make wind power and other renewables a catalyst for America’s economic recovery, the American Wind Energy Association has launched an effort to enact a national renewable electricity standard (RES) and to make progress toward construction of the Green Power Superhighway, a new transmission system needed to fully develop America’s immense wind resources. Read more about the AWEA New Wind Agenda.

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