Benefits of Community Wind

Community vs. Corporate Wind: Does it Matter Who Develops the Wind in Big Stone County, MN?

This report reviews various business structures for community wind development, reviews previous studies on the economic impact of both wind development in general and the relative impacts of corporate and community wind development, and investigates the specific case of the economic impact of community vs. corporate wind development for a multi-turbine project in Big Stone County, Minnesota.

The report found that community owned wind can have a significantly larger economic impact than corporate wind development.

This report by Arne Kildegaard of the University of MN, Morris and Josephine Myers-Kuykindall of the University of MN, Morris, was published September 2006.

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Multiplier Effect

The term “multiplier effect” as it pertains to the local economy and wind project development describes how increased spending in one part of a economy starts a chain reaction that results in an overall increase in economic activity. When a consumer spends money to buy goods or services at a local business, the local business will, in turn, spend some of this money locally on additional goods and services, and the local providers of these goods and services will likewise spend some of this money locally. In this way, money recirculates within local economies, creating wealth broadly through ongoing cycles of buying and selling. In contrast, when a consumer spends money outside of his or her local economy, it does not benefit local businesses or the employees of these businesses but instead benefits individuals outside of the community. For example, when the income from a wind energy project is spent for goods and services provided primarily by non-local entities, the local community benefits less than if these goods and services are provided locally. This concept explains why outside ownership of a natural resource often results in local poverty despite the great wealth that results from extraction of the resource – most of the wealth from the resource flows permanently outside the local community leaving little available to recirculate within and thereby enrich the local community.


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