The Hale Community Wind Project is under development in Texas, and at 1.1 Gigawatts, may become the largest farm in the nation with this type of ownership structure. The July issue of North American Wind Power cited the Windustry when describing the benefits community wind.
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.
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center's (MassCEC) Community-Scale Wind Initiative awards grants for qualifying wind projects with a nameplate capacity greater than or equal to 100 kilowatts (kW.) A project is eligible for funding if it is located at a commercial, industrial, institutional, or public site, and if the electric system will be served by a Massachusetts investor-owned electric utility company or a Municipal Light Plant Department that pays into the Renewable Energy Trust Fund. MassCEC will provide financial and technical support to wind projects through the different development stages.
MassCEC offers support for three stages of the Community Scale development process: 1) services for high level site assessment, available for public projects only (please submit a Public Wind Site Assessment Application); 2) feasibility study grant support for in-depth technical and economic feasibility analyses; and 3) grants for design and construction support.
Applications for Block 3 of Community-Scale Wind are due on May 4, 2010. Block 3 is projected to have $2 million available for grant funding. The Block 3 awards will be granted based on a competitive selection process.
Washington, DC, January 21, 2010 - U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today the selection of five projects to receive more than $20.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support deployment of community-based renewable energy projects, such as biomass, wind and solar installations. These projects will promote investment in clean energy infrastructure that will create jobs, help communities provide long-term renewable energy and save consumers money. They will also serve as models for other local governments, campuses or small utilities to replicate, allowing other communities to design projects that fit their individual size and energy demands.
"Smaller, more localized renewable energy systems need to play a role in our comprehensive energy portfolio."
—Steven Chu, U.S. Dept.
of Energy Secretary
“Smaller, more localized renewable energy systems need to play a role in our comprehensive energy portfolio,” said Secretary Chu. “These projects will help create jobs, expand our clean energy economy, and help us cut carbon pollution at the local level.”
The selected projects will be leveraged with approximately $167 million in local government and private industry funding. DOE estimates that these projects will provide enough clean, renewable energy to displace the emissions of approximately 10,700 homes.
Projects selected for awards include:
City of Montpelier (Montpelier, VT)
This project will further Montpelier's energy goals by supporting installation of a 41 MMBtu combined heat and power district energy system fueled with locally-sourced renewable and sustainably-harvested wood chips. The CHP system will be sized to provide heating to the Vermont Capitol Complex, city owned schools, the City Hall Complex, and up to 156 buildings in the community's designated downtown district for a total of 176 buildings and 1.8 million square feet served. By providing 1.8 million KWh of power to the grid, the system will maximize its operating efficiency and reduce thermal costs for users in the community. Montpelier will conduct outreach to encourage replication regionally and nationally through its project partners, the Biomass Energy Resource Center, the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, and Veolia Energy North America. DOE share: $8,000,000
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe (Forest County, WI)
The Forest County Potowatomi Tribe proposes to implement an integrated renewable energy deployment plan that will provide heating, cooling and electricity for the Tribe's governmental buildings, displacing natural gas and propane. The renewable energy installations will include: a 1.25 MW biomass combined heat and power facility that will provide heating, cooling and electricity; a biogas digester and 150 kW generation facility; three 100 kW wind turbines (788,400 kWh/year); and three dual-axis 2.88 kW solar PV panels (14,000 kWh/yr) located at the Tribe's Governmental Center. DOE share: $2,500,000
Phillips County (Holyoke, CO)
This project proposes a community-owned 30 MW wind energy project with an ultimate goal to build a 650MW wind farm within Sedgwick, Phillips, and Logan counties in Northeastern Colorado. This project will impact the local economy by sharing the project's revenues with local landowners and other project participants, by generating local jobs, substantial property taxes, and providing clean renewable energy for the area's primary communities. Plans for sharing this ownership model are part of the business plan and will be coordinated with DOE to increase national delivery of the message. DOE share: $2,500,000
Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) (Sacramento, CA)
SMUD will install the state's first-ever ‘Solar Highway', which will feature three PV system installations on 2 miles of highway right-of-ways (300kW of concentrating PV, and 400 and 800 kW of flat plate PV distributed at 2 sites), with total capacity of 1.5 MW. SMUD will also install a full scale co-digestion process of fats, oil and grease (FOG) and liquid food processing waste with sewage to produce biogas with estimated power recovery of 1 - 3 MW, and install two low-NOx anaerobic digesters fed by two dairy facilities that will produce 500 kW of combined heat and power, and generate 600 kW of electricity through a molten carbonate fuel cell. The projects will demonstrate that solar PV and anaerobic digesters can be readily implemented through collaborative partnerships, and avoid siting issues and transmission constraints that pose barriers to renewable energy capacity additions. SMUD will partner with the State of California (CEC, CalTrans, and CARB) and DOE to promote replication of their approaches, technologies and implementation strategies statewide and nationally. DOE share: $5,000,000
University of California at Davis (Davis, CA)
UC Davis' proposed Waste-to-Renewable Energy (WTRE) system is one component of a campus oriented mixed housing and commercial development venture. The system would generate power from a renewable biogas fed fuel cell. The organic waste will enter a receiving station in which it can be collected and prepared for digestion. Once the appropriate mix has been created in buffer tanks, the waste will flow to the reactor where methanogenic bacteria will generate methane and carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, etc. These gases will flow to the Bio-methane Upgrade System for hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide removal, so that cleanup is to a level appropriate for use in a fuel cell system, and the cleaned gas is stored. Housed alongside the WTRE system within the Community Energy Park will be an advanced storage battery and a 300kW fuel cell that will be fueled by the on-site biogas and provides electric power to West Village end-users. DOE share: $2,500,000
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.
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.
The Environmental Law & Policy Center has published an updated version of the Community Wind Financing Handbook. This guide reflects new financing opportunities available from federal energy and economic stimulus legislation, the new Farm Bill, and state incentives.
Since ELPC published the first edition of the Community Wind Financing Guide in 2004, wind power has become the United States' fastest-growing source of electricity. Community wind projects, which represent a small but growing share of the wind market, are largely owned by farmers and other local investors with a significant economic stake in the project. Such local ownership generates powerful economic and social benefits for rural areas.
The updated Handbook provides the latest information on financing community wind projects, including ownership structures, roles of financial intermediaries, sources of federal and state financial support and consultant/developer directories. Although building these projects has become somewhat easier over time, understanding and accessing financing opportunities remains perhaps the most important requirement for a successful project.
The Handbook can be downloaded at no cost on the ELPC web site from the link below.
The Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) is providing financial assistance for energy efficiency and/or renewable energy projects requiring technical assistance. Project funding can support technical assistance services (labor costs only, such as for a consultant, design professional, installer or student labor), for projects in all seven Minnesota CERT regions (Central, Metro, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest and West Central).
All applications are due no later than 4:30pm, November 2nd, 2009.
The primary objectives of this funding project are to:
- Encourage the implementation of community‐based energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in CERT regions; and
- Provide a forum for community education about energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and their economic, ecological and community benefits.
Funding for these projects is provided through the MN Department of Commerce, Office of Energy Security (OES).
Visit the CERTs website to learn more about this opportunity and to download the application materials. You can also read more about previous projects that were successful in receiving these funds.
2009: Duluth, MN - The Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC) and the Northland Foundation have partnered to provide a revolving loan fund that will provide early-stage project development and feasibility analysis for community-based wind energy projects. The revolving loan fund will be available in Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake and St. Louis counties.
The revolving loan fund is part of the Rural Energy Development Initiative (REDI), a state-wide program addressing community-based wind energy development. REDI loan financing is limited to early stage project development and feasibility analysis for wind energy electric generation projects that intend to sell the electricity to an electric utility. Maximum loan size is $25,000 for any one project and/or borrower. ARDC functions as the regional REDI organizer for northeast Minnesota. The Northland Foundation is the acting loan partner for the revolving loan fund.
For more information regarding the revolving loan fund and/or the application for the loan fund, please see the website or contact Bonnie Hundrieser (ARDC) at 218-529-7527 or [email protected].
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 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:
- Go to the FedConnect web site.
- Click the Search Public Opportunities link.
- Enter "DE-FOA-0000122" as the Search Criteria Title.
- Click Search.
- Click on the Title link of DE-FOA-0000122
“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
The article is available in an online version of the November/December 2008 issue of November/December 2008 at the USDA web site: