Community Wind News
David Healow given AWEA's Outstanding Achievement in Distributed Wind Award
Distributed wind champion David Healow was recently awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Distributed Wind award at AWEA's 2013 Fall Symposium. Below are the remarks given at the ceremony by AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan.
"Our next winner has spent the past 30 years making a place for distributed wind generation in Montana -- much of the time almost single-handedly. Dr. David Healow is President and CEO of Montana Marginal Energy. His passion for wind energy began in the 1950s, when he operated and maintained water-pumping windmills on his family farm and ranch. He began monitoring wind at various potential sites in Montana in 1972. And in 1984 he installed Montana’s first wind farm in Livingston, which he continues to operate. He thought others would follow his example, but it took years – during which, at his own expense, he installed anemometers around the state for people who were thinking of installing wind turbines.
At the same time, he was battling his local utility – again often by himself, and at his own expense – on net metering, QF rates, and every other issue of concern to wind farms in his state. He spent countless hours in front of the Montana Public Service Commission, talking to county commissioners, meanwhile still climbing up and down turbines to service them when no one else was available. This wasn’t his only job. He’s also an anesthesiologist, trained at the Mayo Clinic, who has brought relief from pain to thousands of people and at the same time, fought to reform medical care in Montana. And he’s a pilot, who thinks nothing of flying 100s of miles to have dinner with friends -- where the conversation is usually focused on wind energy. About 10 years ago, he followed his first wind farm with a series of others, which he also planned and installed:
- A pair of 450-kilowatt wind farms in Two Dot, Montana
- Another one in Martinsdale
- And in 2007, a 2-megawatt wind farm at Martinsdale Colony.
David supervises and often personally maintains all of them. Dave is a modest man. No one in the room is more surprised that he won this award, with the possible exception of his wife Connie, who had to share him with a lot of other people in the process. As someone who knows him well says, “Dave would never ask someone to do something that he wasn’t ready to do himself.” Simply put, he’s a role model and a hero for the entire distributed wind community."
Browse the latest news in community wind by month.
£10m Wind Farm for Colne Valley Submitted to Kirklees Council
The Huddersfield Daily Examiner
November 25, 2013
Huddersfield, England - Valley Wind Cooperative, leaders of a community-based wind project, wants to erect three wind turbines above the Colne Valley. Locals will get first chance at buying shares (before they are offered nationwide) and people can invest from £250 to £20,000. Similar wind energy cooperative schemes offer a 6% to 9% annual return. Proceeds of around £150,000 a year will be reinvested in the community.
Australian Community Renewables Receives Funding
November 21, 2013
Australia - The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced it will provide $165,280 to the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures for a $266,280 project that aims to develop ways to grow the local community-owned renewables sector. "Community energy projects encourage regional economic development, create local jobs and encourage community support for renewables, helping the development of other projects across Australia," said ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht.
Nebraska: Wind for Schools Project Ends, But Learning Continues
The Journal Star
November 18, 2013
The Lincoln Journal Star published an article on the end of DOE's Wind for Schools project in Nebraska. The reporter interviewed Dan McGuire, state facilitator for the project, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Jerry Hudgins, Wind Application Center director.
Siemens Extends Norderhof Wind Farm, A Community Project
North American Windpower
November 11, 2013
Galmsbüll, Germany - Six more Siemens wind turbines will be added to the community-owned Norderhof wind farm on the German North Sea coast, raising the generating capacity of this onshore wind farm to 37.7 MW. The extension is scheduled to go online in September 2014.
Wind Farm Consultation
November 6, 2013
Brechin, Scotland - Representatives from renewable energy developer Eurowind are asking communities surrounding the proposed Nathro Hill Wind Farm if they want to become part owners of the 17-turbine project if planners approve the project next year. Communities can form joint ventures with the company and own a share in the project equivalent to one of the 3.6-MW turbines.
Innergex on Home Stretch
November 6, 2013
Quebec, Canada - Canadian developer Innergex is almost finished with its 24.6-MW Viger-Denonville community wind project in Quebec. Commissioning is under way on the project, which began in early 2013. The project received a 20-year power purchase agreement with Hydro-Quebec following a 500-MW call for community and aboriginal wind projects.
Wind Farm Wins Approval on Second Try
Chronicle Herald Business
October 31, 2013
Nova Scotia, Canada - A wind farm that didn’t receive provincial environment approval this summer has been successful the second time around after changes were made to the project. The Chebucto-Pockwock community wind project was approved by Environment Minister Randy Delorey after the province accepted an alternative turbine layout suggested by the developer.
Wind Project Benefits from Specialist Planning and Environmental Input
October 29, 2013
West Yorkshire, England - Environmental firm SLR Consulting has teamed up with Valley Wind Cooperative to develop a community based wind energy scheme near Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire. The project will generate around 18 million kWh of renewable electricity a year, the same amount of energy used by the local community. The low-carbon scheme will also save over 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Wind Farm for the Community Is a Step Closer
October 27, 2013
Hampshire, England - The first steps have been taken to strike a deal for local community ownership of the proposed Bullington Cross wind farm. Hampshire Energy Group (HEG), the local renewable energy cooperative, signed a formal memorandum of understanding (MOU) with wind farm developer EDF Energy Renewables. Under the terms of the MOU, the proposed Bullington Cross community share ownership scheme will give Hampshire Energy Group the option to purchase a revenue share of up to 10% in the wind farm development on behalf of its cooperative members. Funds generated by the wind farm stake will be used to pay an annual interest to members, with any surplus being reinvested by the cooperative in other local community owned renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
Danish Potato Farmers Diversify Into Wind Energy
October 25, 2013
Samsø, Denmark - On a small island off the coast of Denmark, potato farmers own the wind turbines that have made their island a net energy producer. Local farmers own 9 of the 11 onshore turbines. The other two are owned by local wind cooperatives. One of the four district heating plants is also divided into shares and owned by local consumers.
Local Community Raises £10.5m for Wind Power Project
October 24, 2013
Crimond, Scotland - One of the UK’s largest farm-based wind power projects is about to be switched on, generating returns for more than 20 local shareholders who have invested in the scheme. The £10.5m Greenside Wind Energy project is a joint venture between two long-standing farming families in the North East of Scotland, but the upfront investment needed to secure bank finance for the multi-million pound project meant other local investors have also been brought on board. Another 22 local investors own 30% of the project. Electricity generated by the four Enercon E70 2.3-MW turbines near Crimond in Aberdeenshire is being bought under a 15-year agreement with SmartestEnergy, an independent power purchaser and supplier.
Quebec Government Approves EDF EN Canada's 24.6-MW Community Wind Project
North American Windpower
October 22, 2013
Quebec, Canada - The Government of Quebec has issued a decree authorizing the construction and operation of EDF EN Canada's 24.6-MW La Mitis Community Wind Project.
Community Wind Turbine for Barra
October 21, 2013
A 900-kW Enercon E-44 wind turbine is being installed on Isle of Barra in Scotland. It is expected that after a few years the revenue from the turbine will be used for developments on the island. Barra now joins the group of islands with wholly community-owned wind turbines from Gigha in the south, through Tiree, South Uist, Lewis to the Orkney Isles.
LIPA press release
October 18, 2013
New York-based Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) issued two RFPs recently, one for variable-sized renewable energy projects, and the other to begin replacement of "peaking" generation facilities with cleaner, distributed resources.
Scotian seeks provincial nod
October 18, 2013
A Dartmouth wind developer in Nova Scotia is seeking provincial environmental approval for a 4-megawatt project in the Nine Mile River area. Scotian WindFields Inc. of Dartmouth and sister company Scotian Wind Inc., a community economic development investment fund, will own the two-turbine venture in partnership with Toronto’s WEB Wind Energy North America Inc. The wind farm is proposed under the province’s community feed-in tariff program, which encourages community groups, First Nations and municipalities to own and operate small renewable energy projects by giving them a fixed, long-term price for their electricity.
Distributed Wind Energy Projects Take Off in Massachusetts
Worcester Business Journal Online
October 14, 2013
Massachusetts - Although Massachusetts ranks 35th in wind power capacity, distributed wind is a high point: only Iowa added more distributed wind in 2012 than the Bay State. More than 60 MW of distributed wind have been installed in Massachusetts over the past 10 years, placing the commonwealth fifth among the 50 states, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Swedish co-op creates a stake for women in wind industry
October 12, 2013
A woman-owned regional cooperative in Sweden bought a share of a three-turbine project in 2007. Since then they’ve grown to 80 members and invested more than 10 million Krona ($1.5 million) in other projects, including a portion of a five-turbine installation built on the founder's farm.
Northland Project Provides Community-Engagement Lesson
North American Windpower
October 7, 2013
The 60-MW McLean’s Mountain wind farm, located on Ontario’s Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron, is currently under construction, with completion anticipated early next year. The wind farm is jointly owned by Northland Power and six First Nation tribes, and the project has a contract with the Ontario Power Authority under its feed-in tariff program. In many respects, the project is a case study of the proper way to engage and update the community, particularly in Ontario, where wind farm opposition is prevalent.
Lanarkshire community wind cooperative launches fundraising project
blue & green tomorrow
October 2, 2013
The Spirit of Lanarkshire Wind Energy Cooperative in the UK has launched its second round of fundraising for a wind farm that is expected to begin generating electricity this month.
Tri Global Energy Announces 1.1-GW Community Wind Farm in Texas
North American Windpower
September 24, 2013
Texas, USA - Texas-based Tri Global Energy announced the creation of Hale Community Energy LLC, a community-sponsored wind farm with the potential to produce 1.1 GW of electricity. The wind farm will be located on 122,000 acres that are owned by more than 340 landowners, and the project has more than 450 shareholders.
Construction starts on the Témiscouata community wind farms
Wall Street Journal
September 23, 2013
Quebec - Boralex Inc. and the Témiscouata RCM have started building the Témiscouata community wind farm, with an installed capacity of 23.5 MW. Construction will involve a total investment of $65 million, of which at least $39 million will be spent in Québec.
Ireland connects first community-owned wind farm to grid
September 18, 2013
Ireland - Ireland's first community-owned wind farm was connected to the grid this week in County Tipperary. The project has 32 community shareholders from all walks of life, including a parish priest. Robin Borgert, Enercon's regional manager for Northern Europe, said the company hopes the wind farm will serve as a launching pad for other projects of this kind. "This community-owned wind farm could be a trailblazer for Ireland," he said.
Community wind farms on Scottishs islands to benefit from higher strike price
September 16, 2013
Scotland - Community-owned wind farms on some of Scotland's remotest islands are likely to gain from a new deal to buy their electricity at a higher price, Ed Davey, the energy and climate secretary, said. Davey believes the higher price will be a significant incentive to wind power developers and will particularly help island communities build their own small-scale wind farms.
Home-grown energy: Nova Scotia communities tap into a unique program
September 13, 2013
Canada - Getting a community-owned wind project up and running is a big job. But the operator of a small Tatamagouche project has done that and more. Colchester-Cumberland Wind Field Inc. switched on two 50-kilowatt turbines in March as part of a new provincial program. An 800-kilowatt machine will be added by the end of the month. Another small turbine is planned next summer as part of the province’s community feed-in tariff program. That will bring the number of turbines at the site to five, including a bigger one that predates the COMFIT initiative.
Coigach wind farm plan submitted to council
West Highland Free Press
September 13, 2013
United Kingdom - A planning application for a 900-kW turbine near Achiltibuie has been submitted to Highland Council, with proceeds from the venture to be fed back into projects to secure the area’s future, including social housing. Money generated through the 20-year life of the turbine will go towards projects that residents have identified as vital for their community’s future, including pier restoration, social housing and workshop provision.
PE wind farm to benefit poor
September 13, 2013
South Africa - The plight of millions of poor South Africans is well illuminated by the MetroWind Van Stadens wind farm project, which will soon provide wind-generated electricity to up to 6,000 homes situated among bush and farmland. "If you compare a newly constructed coal-fired power station to a large-scale, newly constructed wind farm — over the life of the project wind is cheaper," Basil Read Energy MD Ian Curry said.
Small Independent Energy Producers Trying to Elbow in on Big Alaska Utilities
September 13, 2013
Mike Craft, managing partner of Alaska Environmental Power, LLC and co-owner of the Delta Wind Farm, filed an informal complaint with the regulatory body last month in an effort to force the commission to reconsider its rules governing how utilities negotiate with smaller power producers wanting to connect to the grid.
SSE triples community wind fund
September 11, 2013
England - Utility SSE has more than tripled the funds available for community projects around the 68-MW Keadby wind farm, which is under construction in North Lincolnshire. The overall fund will now be worth £8.6m over the next 25 years, up from £2.5m, and represents the largest community benefit fund of any wind scheme in the country. The sustainable development fund will launch in the first half of 2014 and will support “applications for large, potentially transformational, projects that support skills development, job creation, community energy and the natural and built environment.”
Enable local communities to own and invest in renewable energy projects: ResPublica study
Energy Business Review
September 10, 2013
United Kingdom - The ResPublica Trust published a new study, The Community Renewables Economy, which says local community groups should be given greater opportunities to own and invest in renewable energy projects such as wind farms. According to the study, the total installed capacity of community-owned renewable energy projects in the UK has increased from 4 MW in 2003 to approximately 60 MW in 2013 and is likely to reach to 550 MW by 2020.
Into the Wind Blog (reposted from Renewable Energy World)
September 9, 2013
A South Dakota Wind Partners project near Crow Lake attracts over 600 local investors.
Villagers in push for wind turbine project
September 4, 2013
United Kingdom - A group of villagers aims to create a source of sustainable, renewable energy that will also provide funding for the local community. Residents from Weaverthorpe, Helperthorpe and Butterwick have set up Three Weavers Green, a not-for-profit organization working in partnership with the Humberside Co-operative Development Agency.
Small wind farm project with big ambitions in Burt County
September 2, 2013
Nebraska, USA - A grassroots group of 22 farmers, Burt County Wind has been working since 2010 to build a small wind farm that could be as a model for counties and other governmental entities in Nebraska. Senator Lydia Brasch, who is vice chairwoman of the Legislature's Natural Resources Committee, characterized the grassroots effort to build a wind project as a survival story. She said the county has lost people and schools through consolidation and businesses on Main Street. "The people in the area have researched this. They have selected to invest … and help themselves through their tax base. It will help pay for so many things while they try to recruit people to come back," she said.
August 30, 2013
A school district in Middletown, Indiana, is in the midst of installing a wind turbine to power the local school. According to the Shenandoah School Corp., the energy generated should result in saving 85% of the school's utility bill by the second year of operation.
Harnessing the wind to power Saskatoon homes
August 29, 2013
Bullfrog Power, Canada's leading green energy provider, and Saskatoon Community Wind Energy, a community initiative with plans to develop wind generation near Saskatoon, are announcing a new partnership to construct a 10-turbine wind farm that would generate electricity for 16,000 residents.
In Nebraska, farmers hope to take control of wind production
Midwest Energy News
August 27, 2013
A group of Nebraska farmers are attempting to put a new face on renewable power in their state. If they succeed in persuading a utility to buy their power, they will be the first local owner-producers in Nebraska to generate electricity with wind turbines on their land, and to sell it to a utility for distribution.
Australia Greens' Community Renewable Energy Poilicy
August 26, 2013
The Australian Greens launched a Community Renewable Energy policy, which pledges $100 million over 5 years as seed funding for feasibility grants, project management and specialist expertise to be accesssed by emerging locally-owned and operated clean energy projects.
South Brent community wind turbine installed
August 22, 2013
A community in Cornwall rased money to purchase a wind turbine by selling shares to more than 200 members. Proceeds will be divided "more or less equally between private investors and public benefit schemes."
Bay City Commissioners agree to 20-year purchase of wind energy for $18 million
August 19, 2013
The Bay City (Michigan) Commission voted 7-2 to buy $18 million in electricity generated by the Beebe Community Wind Farm during the next 20 years.
Spotlight on Small Wind: A staple of solar, leasing comes to distributed wind
Into the Wind Blog
August 21, 2013
United Wind announces its new WindLease program, which could allow agricultural, commercial, school and some residential distributed wind customers to be able to afford installing the sometimes capital intensive systems. This concept has been a staple of the solar market for years and could be a turning point for the distributed wind community.
Local wind projects will combine
August 15, 2013
Four wind energy projects in Hale County, Texas are being combined into a single project, making it the world's largest community-owned wind farm.
Financial Services Firms Join Forces to Provide Tax Equity Services
North American Windpower
August 13, 2013
Seminole Equity Partners and Round Rock Partners have formed a joint venture, Seminole Financial Services, focused on prividing tax equity to qualified renewable energy projects throughout the country.
July 16, 2013
Dakota Power Community Wind, a group of Lincoln County landowners and community leaders formed in 2012 to look at developing a wind farm, has been working with Aberdeen-based wind farm developer Dakota Plains Energy to lay the ground work for the potential 1-GW project.
Landowner wind energy association interest rising
July 12, 2013
Interest is growing among O'Brien County landowners to form a non-profit landowner's wind energy association.
U.S. company plans to build 11 turbines in Nova Scotia next year
The Chronicle Herald
July 3, 2013
Juwi Wind LLC of Colorado plans to erect 11 wind turbines at various Nova Scotia sites in 2014.
Patrick Administration Launches Community Wind Energy Initiative
Press Release - Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
July 1, 2013
As the Commonwealth of Massachusetts surpasses 100 MW of wind energy installed, this new initiative will help communities manage appropriate siting of wind energy projects.
One small town wind farm, 286 owners
The Globe and Mail
July 1, 2013
A small town community wind project in Nova Scotia is financed by local farmers, teachers, carpenters and bank employees, who will eventually reap the dividends.
Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm at the ACUA Wastewater Treatment Facility
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Project description: Five 1.5-megawatt turbines (producing enough energy to power 2,500 homes)
Application: The turbines power the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) Wastewater Treatment Facility via a 23-kV substation, thereby eliminating the need for additional transmission. Any excess energy is provided to the main power grid.
Owner: Jersey-Atlantic Wind, LLC (a partner with developer Community Energy, Inc.). The ACUA does not own the wind farm; it leases the land and purchases the electricity from the developer at a fixed rate of $.0795 per kilowatt-hour for 20 years.
Cost: $12.5 million
Financing: The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities provided a $1.7 million grant and Atlantic City Electric provided a $1.92 million customer supply grant. Remaining costs were funded by private party equity investment or debt financing. According to Eric Blank of Community Energy Inc., "The deal was structured as an A/B tax partnership flip, with a large U.S. bank providing the tax equity as the "A" investor, Babcock and Brown (now BluArc / Infigen) providing just over half the sponsor "B" equity, and Community Energy providing the remaining just under 50 percent with a subsidiary of Central Hudson."
Commissioning date: January 2006
Energy production: The ACUA facility requires approximately 2.5 megawatts of power each day, so when wind speeds are above 12 miles per hour all of the plant's electricity requirement can be generated by two of the five wind turbines. The wind turbines supply approximately 60 percent of the electricity required by the plant on an annual basis and saved the ACUA approximately $2.9 million in its first six years of operation.
Interview with Paul Gallagher, Vice President and general counsel of the ACUA
Q: Tell us about the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA).
The ACUA is a public agency that provides environmental and waste management services to the people of Atlantic County and southern New Jersey. Our wastewater facility in Atlantic City handles 31 million gallons of wastewater per day.
Q: Why did you decide to install wind turbines at your site?
We were examining our budget, and we saw three outliers: payroll, benefits, and energy. We already controlled for the first two items, so we focused on energy. Our local utility, which had been deregulated, was thinking about wind power at the waste facility. We were looking for someone who wanted to develop the land and give something in return, and so we issued an RFP to lease the land for a project. Brent Alderfer of Community Energy, Inc., responded, we negotiated a lease and a power purchase agreement, and the project was launched. I wanted to build a 7-MW project. Some said it wouldn't work, but Brent knew it could be done. I served as the project manager, and I kept pushing the rock up the hill.
Q: So you overcame one hurdle: It's not a common size for a project. What other barriers did you face?
Engineering and transportation issues. The community had three concerns: birds, jobs, and noise. As far as noise, the wastewater plant is located off Route 30, a fairly significant highway, so there's noise from that and then there's ambient noise from the plant. Brent arranged a tour of the Somerset Wind Farm in Pennsylvania. It was a six-hour van ride. Honestly, the turbines were no louder than my air conditioner. After the tour, people started calling the project "my turbines."
The town leaders — the mayor, the council — didn't really embrace them, but they don't mind them either. They don't care one way or the other. Atlantic City has never hesitated to accept new things, to be the first to do something.
Q: Did you commission a wildlife survey?
Yes, we performed avian impact studies, including the first leading-edge avian radar studies under agreement with the New Jersey Audubon Society. The studies projected two birds per turbine per year would be killed. Our permit took 15 months, to settle litigation. For three years people have walked the property to monitor avian deaths. About 26,000 people have toured the plant since 2006, and no one has been hit by a falling bird. Problems happen when turbines are built in the wrong place. If you commission your study, you can build them in the right place.
Q: Have you experienced any maintenance issues?
Two things. In 2011, they refinished the blade edges and had to come back and refinish them. We also experienced software issues when the turbines first came online. But they've performed incredibly well, far beyond all projections. GE makes a pretty nice machine.
Q: What is your wind resource like, and how do the loads match?
Year-round, night is better than day. But our wind resource is really constant. It's averaged 14.7 over the past six years. Certainly the wind in March and April is unbelievably strong, but it doesn't change seasonally...just during a storm event.
Q: Tell us about Hurricane Sandy.
Let's go back to Hurricane Irene last August. When wind speeds exceed 45 miles per hour, the turbines shut down to protect the machinery inside. On Friday afternoon the turbines shut down, and on Sunday they came back on. But they would have been fine if they ran though Irene. Sandy, however, was a very different storm. It arrived on October 29. Three of the four turbines returned to service on November 1, and the last one came back on November 8. We had software issues when they started back up, but no physical damage.
Q: And how did the wastewater plant fare during Hurricane Sandy?
We were inches away from losing the plant, but it didn't fail. We were in the eye of the storm, and it made landfall two hours early, ahead of high tide, so we were kind of lucky. The real problem was the long duration, when the grid went down and we moved to emergency systems. They're fine for about three hours. We had a great inventory of replacement parts, and we used all of them. We lost a couple of major pumps, but you can't fix them in 12 feet of sewage.
Q: Any future plans to expand the Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm?
We have no plans to expand the project because we're surrounded by wetlands and marsh. We hope to be a part of the future of offshore wind in New Jersey, but as for our site, we're maxed out. This is the best it will be. Although our blade length could be longer; someday our blades will be replaced.
Speaking of offshore, I don't think that New Jersey would be nearly as receptive to offshore wind without this project. There's lots of support for wind energy projects at the top. Our state has experienced environmental issues and terrible grid issues. We're worried about acid rain. Twenty years ago we had dead dolphins washing up on the beach. The idea of doing something clean and green is attractive. These turbines are a symbol of what works and what works right. You just have to decide to build it. The damn things work.
Q: Any last words?
We experienced many stops and starts. Make sure you structure a public-private partnership. In the case of our project, I don't think a public agency working without a private partner could have finished the project. If the project involves people in the public sector who will be running for election, realize that they can't stay with you through two election cycles.
Also, in response to the common question about whether wind farms harm tourism, I'll tell you that at Harrah's Resort here in Atlantic City, guests request rooms with a view of the wind farm. The rooms on that side of the hotel are always reserved before rooms on the other side of the hotel.
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