General News

International Day of Climate Action

October 24, 2009 - Citizens, scientists and world leaders in 181 countries are taking to nearby streets, mountains, parks, and reefs today to demand strong action on climate change, in what will be the most widespread day of political action in the planet's history.

More than 5,000 rallies and creative demonstrations are taking place, all of them centered on the number 350, to draw attention to 350 parts per million (ppm), which an overwhelming number of scientists now insist is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Windustry is partnering with wind farm sites across the country to show support by displaying ‘350’ banners and flags on wind turbines, demonstrating that wind energy is part of the solution to reduce carbon emissions by providing clean sustainable energy, and wind power installations are competitive and cost-secure compared with other power technologies. We'll post photos as they come in.

Hull Wind I
Hull Wind I, Hull, Massachusetts

Hull Wind I is 164-foot-tall  660-kilowatt Vestas turbine on "Windmill Point" in the small town of Hull, Massachusetts, across the bay from the city of Boston, installed in 2001 by Hull Municipal Light Plant (HMLP), a municipally owned utility. In 1998 a group of citizens eager to see a locally owned wind energy project formed themselves into C.A.R.E. (Citizen Advocates for Renewable Energy), selected officers Malcolm Brown and Andrew Stern, and petitioned Hull Light to take the project on.

Based upon the success of Hull I, a second larger turbine was considered. By May of 2006, Hull Wind 2 was commissioned (a Vestas V80, rated at 1.8 megawatts).  In its first year it produced 4,088,000 KWh's, and townsfolk showed considerable pride in the results.  Six state and national awards had meantime accumulated.   One commissioner joked “we have run out of wall space in our the Light Plant's offices to hang our award plaques—some will have to be moved to Town Hall.”  Over 10% of the town's entire consumption of electric energy is being supplied by this pair of turbines.

North American Wind Research and Training Center
North American Wind Research and Training Center, Tucumcari, New Mexico

Picture taken at North American Wind Research and Training Center (NAWRTC) on Mesalands Community College campus in Tucumcari, New Mexico. From left to right are Jim Morgan, Director of North American Wind Research and Training Center, John Hail Jr., Director and Instructor of the Wind Energy Technology Program, and Troy Carpenter, Instructor of the Wind Energy Technology Program. In the background is the GE 1.5 megawatt turbine used for the training program. The program offers a one-year certificate and a two-year degree in wind energy technology.

Establishment of NAWRTC began in October 2008 with the installation of the 1.5 megawatt wind turbine at Mesalands to give students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the operation and maintenance of wind turbines. Construction of the training center is the next phase in developing the wind energy technology program at the college. Mesalands, through NAWRTC, also expects to conduct research related to operations maintenance and reliability with Sandia National Laboratories. The proposed training center is approximately 30,000 square feet and will contain a display area, lecture hall, classrooms, offices, and hydraulic and electric labs. Construction is expected to be complete in November 2010.

Iowa Lakes Community College
Iowa Lakes Community College, Estherville, Iowa

The Iowa Lakes Community College Wind Energy Club hung a 350 flag from the Vestas 1.65 megawatt wind turbine that provides both electricity for the campus and a hands-on training opportunity for students. Pictured from left to right are Mike Gengler, Mike Sauch, Kevin Klein, Tim O'Brien, Dion Higgins, Melissa Radmaker, Loma Roggenkamp, Tim Moon, Landon Baker, Chris Nemmers, and Holland Gilmore. The Wind Energy and Turbine Technology Program at Iowa Lakes Community College is the first in the state of Iowa, with both a diploma program and a Associate in Applied Science degree. Since the number of wind turbines in the state of Iowa is growing quickly, Iowa Lakes Community College is working to help meet the growing demand for skilled technicians who can install, maintain, and service modern wind turbines.

UpdateIowa Lakes wind students promote, Estherville Daily News

Banner funding provided by the Jan & David Blittersdorf Foundation.

Emerging Renewable Energy Industries in MN RFP

The Office of Energy Security (OES) at the Minnesota Department of Commerce requests proposals for emerging renewable energy industries' projects. Eligible organizations are those that are engaged or will engage in the manufacture of renewable energy systems or fuels, energy storage systems, geothermal energy systems for heating and cooling, or the manufacture of components for such systems in the State of Minnesota.

Proposals submitted in response to this RFP must be received no later than 4:00 p.m. CST, December 18, 2009. For more information, visit the OES web site.

IREC Releases 2009 Interconnection and Net Metering Guides

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) has just released the 2009 updates for its highly respected and influential rules and procedures for interconnecting and net metering distributed generation.

Many of the model procedures that regulators and utilities look to in developing local standards have not been updated in the past three years. Since that time, there has been significant market growth for renewable distributed generation. To facilitate that growth, many states have adopted net metering and interconnection policies and many others have revisited and expanded their existing policies to incorporate lessons learned from facilitating increased penetrations of distributed generation.

IREC has been a participant in more than thirty state utility commission rulemakings regarding interconnection and net metering of distributed generation. IREC's model rule updates capture these evolved best practices and compile them into a template regulators and utilities can use as a starting point when drafting local rules.

Important advances in interconnection procedures include:

  • clarifying that third party ownership of facilities is permissible;
  • raising the size eligibility for the simplest installations from 10 kilowatts to 25 kilowatts;
  • allowing online applications;
  • addressing state-jurisdictional facilities over ten megawatts; and
  • updating provisions related to network interconnections.

Important advances in net metering rules include:

  • increase in the size of systems eligible for net metering;
  • expansion of program capacity caps;
  • meter aggregation; and
  • accommodation of third-party ownership of net metered systems.

Both guides may be downloaded from IREC in the links below.
Model Interconnection Procedures 2009
Net Metering Model Rules 2009

Windustry Receives Energy Foundation Grant

Windustry has received a grant from the Energy Foundation to continue our work advancing public policies that support Community Wind and community owned renewable energy. The Energy Foundation, located in San Francisco, is a partnership of major donors interested in solving the world's energy problems. Their mission is to advance energy efficiency and renewable energy—new technologies that are essential components of a clean energy future.

Windustry has a strong history of advocacy for policies that will stimulate the growth of Community Wind on the state, regional and national levels. Over the next year Windustry will pursue this goal in a variety of ways that will involve education, information dissemination, networking and coalition-building, and strategic policy development. Windustry is deeply thankful for the ongoing support of the Energy Foundation.

Landowner Associations Can Help Market South Dakota Wind

"You'll find that a lot of wind-energy developers are reluctant to come to South Dakota because they don't know anyone and they don't know about our resources," says Steve Wegman of the South Dakota Wind Energy Association

in the article "Landowners advised: Consider wind-energy development" in the Madison Daily Leader.

"Landowner associations help undeveloped areas get noticed. It's an opportunity for them to get their flag up in the air," says Wegman, who explains that landowners can invite utilities and developers to consider their wind resources by organizing together.

Get more information about the South Dakota Wind Energy Association.

Get more information about landowner associations.

Connecting Renewable Energy to a Smarter Grid

Transmission Linemen
Transmission Lineman
photo: mnorri, some rights reserved

There are many hurdles for connecting renewable energy projects to the existing electric power grid. Transmission lines already operate near full capacity. Substations may not handle new interconnections. Regulatory processes span state and federal authorities, and interconnection standards vary from state to state. Plus, it's not clear how to best allocate costs for infrastructure improvements between utilities, energy developers, and rate-payers.

The good news is that both industry and government groups have invested in research on how to better connect renewable energy projects to the grid and how to construct a smart grid that can support a clean energy future. While there is clearly need for technology improvements, much of the research points to improved policies, consistency in standards, and adoption of best practices. Here are recently released reports on these topics.

The sixth edition of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council's (IREC) Connecting to the Grid Guide provides a comprehensive introduction to a span of topics that relate to grid-tied renewable energy sources. The sixth edition has been revised to include information on IREC's recently updated model procedures, alternative billing arrangements for net metering, energy storage and several other emerging issues in the field. This guide is designed for state regulators and other policymakers, utilities, industry representatives and consumers interested in the development of state-level interconnection and net metering policies.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratory system, hosts a Modern Grid Strategy web site that regularly issues whitepapers. The Transmission Smart Grid Imperative outlines the technologies that are ready to be deployed while considering the complexities of building consensus for new transmission construction. Accomodates All Generation and Storage Options defines how a smart grid can be powered by small distributed energy resources (DER) which include both distributed generation and storage, as one of seven "Smart Grid Principal Characteristics" identifed by NETL.

Perspectives for Utilities & Others Implementing Smart Grids by The Smart Grid Stakeholder Roundtable Group represents the outcome of meetings with a range of stakeholders including state agencies, consumer groups, environmental groups, commercial and industrial consumers, utilities and public utility commissions. The report was sponsored by the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability with the goal "to help utilities and other smart grid project developers better communicate how and why they think smart grid technologies will benefit consumers and the environment, as well as the overall electric system in general."

Under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), partnering with DOE and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), has "primary responsibility to coordinate development of a framework that includes protocols and model standards for information management to achieve interoperability of smart grid devices and systems..." The NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 1.0 is a draft of a framework that includes protocols and model standards for information management to achieve interoperability of Smart Grid devices and systems. NIST has currently identified 16 initial standards and is considering an additional 46 potential standards. 

Department of Energy Streamlines Loan Guarantee Process for Renewable Energy

U.S. Department of Energy

Washington DC — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced it will provide up to $750 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help accelerate the development of renewable energy generation projects. This funding will cover the cost of loan guarantees which could support as much as $4 to 8 billion in lending to eligible projects, and the Department will invite private sector participation to accelerate the financing of these renewable energy projects.

The Recovery Act created a new Section 1705 under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Title XVII) for the rapid deployment of renewable energy projects and related manufacturing facilities, electric power transmission projects and leading edge biofuels projects that commence construction before September 30, 2011. The new Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP) offers a streamlined set of standards designed to accelerate DOE's loan guarantee underwriting process and leverage private sector expertise and capital for the efficient and prudent funding of eligible projects.

This first solicitation under the new program will seek loan guarantee applications for conventional renewable energy generation projects, such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydropower. Past solicitations for renewable energy generation projects have focused on loan guarantee applications using new or innovative technologies not in general use in the marketplace.

Under this first FIPP solicitation, proposed borrowers and project sponsors do not apply directly to DOE; instead they work with financial institutions satisfying the qualifications of an eligible lender which may apply directly to DOE to access a loan guarantee. The solicitation invites applications from eligible lenders for partial, risk-sharing loan guarantees from DOE.

Read more information on this solicitation and the Department's Loan Guarantee Program at

Wind Industry Will Create Many New Jobs across Value Chain

Durham, N.C. - As the country continues to support greater reliance on wind energy for electricity generation, the wind industry could restore some jobs lost in the automotive industry and create many new jobs across the value chain, according to a new report released by the Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness (CGGC) at Duke University.

“Increased adoption of wind power technologies could have significant positive economic implications for the United States.”
—Gary Gereffi, Duke professor of sociology

The “Wind Power: Generating Electricity and Employment” report is part of the ongoing series, Manufacturing Climate Solutions, by CGGC that presents new research linking U.S. jobs with selected low-carbon technologies that can help combat global warming. The Wind Power report reveals hidden economic opportunities that exist within the supply chains that provide parts and labor for the wind power industry.

“American companies have a presence in each sector of the value chain,” says Gary Gereffi, a Duke professor of sociology and one of the report's authors. “Increased adoption of wind power technologies could have significant positive economic implications for the United States.” 

The report explains that “The wind power value chain incorporates five main stages: materials; components; manufacture; logistics, development and operations (which includes project development, geotechnical services, transportation, construction, and operations and maintenance). U.S. companies have a presence in each sector of the value chain, from materials production and component manufacturing to project development and construction.”

Simplified Wind Power Value Chain
Simplified Wind Power Value Chain
Graphic courtesy of Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness

The report reviews and analyzes a wide range of information with 64 references cited, providing a summary of the current state of the wind industry along with projections for future growth:

  • Wind turbine parts manufactured in the U.S. grew from less than 30% in 2005 to 50% in 2008.
  • 55 wind turbine and wind turbine component manufacturing facilities were added or expanded in 2008, which led to the direct creation of 13,000 new jobs.
  • Small businesses currently make up over 90% of renewable and efficiency industries.
  • The growth of the wind power industry in 2008 represents an investment of about $17 billion.
  • $2.5 billion worth of wind turbine imports came into the U.S. from Europe and Asia in 2008.
  • 700 companies in Michigan and 532 companies in Ohio are emerging wind power manufacturing industry participants.
  • 100 MW of installed wind power capacity provides 310 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in manufacturing, 67 contracting and installation jobs, and 9.5 jobs in operation and maintenance every year.
  • The wind industry could support 500,000 jobs by 2030.
  • An additional 3 million jobs in construction and wind project development are also projected by 2030.

The report concludes that “Further development of the domestic wind power market will create extensive U.S.-based job opportunities in materials production, component manufacturing, wind farm construction, transportation and research and development. Continued government support in the form of Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and tax credits will ensure sustained growth of the U.S. wind power market, allowing the country to maintain its position as the world leader in installed wind power capacity.”

USDA Selects Windustry to Form Landowner Wind Energy Association Resource Center

USDA logo

Washington, Sept. 24, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that 58 recipients have been selected to receive $8 million in grants to spur economic development in rural communities in 41 states, the Territory of Puerto Rico and the Western Pacific. Minnesota-based Windustry has been selected to receive a $200,000 grant to form the Landowner Wind Energy Association Resource Center. The Center will provide technical assistance to rural small businesses to analyze, organize, develop and expand rural wind energy projects. Windustry will work with businesses seeking to construct wind projects in Montana, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture
Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture

“Rural businesses are the lifeblood of rural communities and their financial health is vital as we work to create jobs and expand entrepreneurship throughout the country,” Vilsack said. “The funding we are announcing today will help lay the foundation for economic growth in many communities, consistent with the Obama Administration's vision of rebuilding and revitalizing rural America.”

The funds are being provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program, which finances development of small and emerging rural business. The grants may be used for project planning, land acquisition and development, transportation and infrastructure improvements; renovation or construction, equipment purchases, establishment of working capital or revolving loan funds, adult job training and technical assistance.

USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant announcement

Windusty's Introduction to Landowner Wind Energy Associations (LWEA)

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







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