Policy - State Level

Video conference-Missouri DNR-Wind Energy Action Options

2008

The launch of wind farms in northern Missouri in the past two years has left many Missourians wanting to know about the possibilities for wind power in their communities.

Beginning Wednesday ( June 25) with a live, statewide videoconference, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Energy Center is conducting public forums to discuss the state’s wind energy potential.

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Wind Energy Symposium

2008

As the possibilities for harnessing wind energy as a viable renewable energy source and job provider sweep across West Michigan, local governments face the challenges of establishing zoning ordinances that regulate the use of residential and commercial wind turbines.

A Wind Energy Symposium, developed by the Ottawa County Planning Commission and the Michigan State University Extension office, aims to offer solutions for local leaders and residents.

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South Dakota PUC Interconnection Workshop

2008

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission will host an interconnection workshop March 18-19, 2008, in Pierre. The workshop will be held at the Kings Inn Hotel and Conference Center, 110 E. Sioux Ave. This will be the first of several workshops designed to develop a statewide best practices model for connecting small generating facilities to the electric grid.

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New Report from ILSR: "Minnesota Feed-In Tariff Could Lower Cost, Boost Renewables and Expand Local Ownership"

This January 2008 policy brief from the New Rules Project of ILSR highlights how several European countries, and more recently the Canadian province of Ontario, have adopted a simple yet powerful strategy to expand renewable energy and benefit local economies. It is called a feed-in tariff: a mandated, long-term premium price for renewable energy paid by the local electric utility to energy producers. Evidence shows that a feed-in tariff achieves greater results at a lower cost than do other strategies like tax incentives or renewable electricity standards.

Click here to go to the New Rules Project website and download a copy of the report.

Nebraska Farmer's Union Convention

2007

The theme of this year's convention will focus on renewable energy economic opportunities for farmers, ranchers and rural communities.

Ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, carbon sequestration, and farmer- and community-owned wind (technology) each represent a new renewable energy based market with new sources of revenue.

In order to maximize the long-term economic benefits of these new value-added renewable energy opportunities for rural communities, the converence will focus on farmer and community ownership of this new renewable energy development.

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Harvesting Clean Energy 8

2008

The Harvesting Clean Energy Conference is the Northwest’s premiere gathering for agriculture and energy interests working to advance new opportunities for agriculture producers and rural communities in clean energy production. Clean energy offers real solutions – financial and practical – for our farmers, ranchers, rural utilities and towns, tribes, and regional economy.

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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.

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