Community Wind Power Approaches Tipping Point

“Community wind” projects – locally-owned wind plants with one or more utility-scale turbines – may be reaching a “tipping point” beyond which they will spread more widely in the U.S., according to a new report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).

Berkeley, California – May 6, 2004 [] The report is the latest installment in LBNL’s case study series “Case Studies of State Support for Renewable Energy,” a joint effort of LBNL and the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA). Entitled “A Survey of State Support for Community Wind Power Development,” it describes the various policies and incentives that states are using to support community wind power development and how state and federal support influences the types of projects that are developed. Once primarily a European phenomenon, community wind power development is attracting the attention of an increasing number of states throughout the U.S. for a variety of reasons. In the upper Midwest, for example, “community wind” is seen as a way to supplement and stabilize farmer incomes, and to promote rural economic development in general. In other areas such as the Northeast, which has to date seen relatively little wind power development, states are turning to community wind as a way to enhance the public’s knowledge, perception, and acceptance of wind power. The majority of this case study focuses on the upper Midwest, and in particular Minnesota, which is both the birthplace and current “hotbed” of community wind power development in the U.S. Other states covered include Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York. The report’s author, Mark Bolinger of LBNL, noted, “Experience in these states demonstrates that, with targeted incentives and creative financing and ownership structures, there are opportunities to make community wind work in the United States.” The case study can be downloaded directly from the links below. Article courtesy of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
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