Community Wind Power - COMMUNITY WIND POWER FOR RENEWABLE...

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COMMUNITY WIND POWER FOR RENEWABLE INCOME BALLE BEAT Mary Rick C ONSIDERING its incredible history and environmental ben- efits, wind power is one of the most underutilized sources of renew- able energy. Stretching back as early as 200 BC, communities have been har- vesting the wind for power. However, the scale and popularity of wind power is only now starting to reach critical mass as concerns of climate change rise and energy usage continues to soar. While global investment in clean en- ergy is soaring and wind power tech- nologies are expected to expand 411 percent in the next ten years—BALLE took a look at the opportunities for lo- cal investment and ownership. Minnesota is taking advantage of their wind potential at a greater rate than most states. They have the po- tential of producing an estimated 75,000 MWs, which would give them a national ranking of 9*- place. They could produce all that with fairly low levels of wind grade. A group of farm- ers in southwest Minnesota reported their area had Level 3 wind velocity and volume — and the projects were still profitable. Weighing this with the fact that 1) A small turbine can be in- stalled in about 1 month; and 2) There are an increasing number of financing options could mean very rapid growth in this sector for Minnesota. Minnesota is one of the best loca- tions for harnessing the renewable power of the wind. It is really the birthplace of community wind and the current hotbed for such. Min- nesota is currently the 4th largest wind power producing state in the U.S. The state is producing 600MW of wind power. The only states pro- ducing more than Minnesota are Texas, California and Iowa. The key difference is that at least lOOMW of Minnesota's supply is coming from community-owned wind farms. Most of this wind power comes from the southwest corner of the state, but the awareness throughout the state is very impressive. Paul Maas, a small farmer in southeast Minnesota is very disappointed he doesn't have the best landscape for a wind turbine. He said he would definitely put up a turbine if he didn't live in a valley! Even though Paul cannot install a turbine himself, his knowledge of wind power and the local resources to get started on instal- lation is a testament to the rate at which Minnesota is succeeding. WHAT IS COMMUNITY WIND? Community wind refers to wind power generated through small farms, LLC's schools and individuals, not cor- porations. Small wind projects in Min- nesota are usually 2MW or smaller. However, communities are coming to-
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This note was uploaded on 03/03/2010 for the course ECON E103 taught by Professor Johnson during the Spring '08 term at Indiana University South Bend.

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Community Wind Power - COMMUNITY WIND POWER FOR RENEWABLE...

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