Wind Powering America
Wind Power Development's Economic Impact on Rural Communities
Source: Seanica Otterby, National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service recently completed a study of the effects of wind power development on county-level income and employment in 12 states of the wind-rich Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions. Compared to prior studies of economic impacts of wind power, this study—conducted in collaboration with researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory—used econometric analysis of county-level income and employment data to assess the impacts of wind power development on economic outcomes.
Economist Jason Brown, with the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank, says other studies have used an input-output model that looks at the linkages of investing in one sector of the economy and how that transmits into spill-over into other sectors.
"So we had this idea of using county-level data and basically we knew the number of megawatts of installed capacity at the county level. We then looked at a wind-rich resource area in the central part of the United States, particularly the Great Plains and part of the Midwest. And we said, well, we know this is where the development is and we know what the wind resource potential is, so we decided to try and estimate regional growth models that would look at differences or changes in personal income and employment where this wind power development has occurred. And then we were able to hold constant other growth factors that might somehow affect the local economy."
Brown says researchers looked at wind power development's effect between 2000 and 2008 in more than 1,000 counties. The results showed each additional megawatt of installation translated into approximately $11,000 of personal income in the county during this time period, according to Brown, along with half-a-job per megawatt. He says those findings were consistent with prior literature of possible effects.
"Another way that we tried to interpret our results was to actually put it as a percentage of base period economic activity. So the year 2000 was like our base period. Essentially what we found is that in the places where there was installation, the amount of income that was represented as being generated from wind power development was about 0.2%. Likewise, for employment, the amount of employment developed by wind power development was 0.4%."
Overall, Brown says researchers concluded the effects aren't large but in places with lower levels of base income or employment the impact of wind power development was relatively stronger.
Renewable Electricity Standards: State Success Stories
The Governors' Wind Energy Coalition recently published Renewable Electricity Standards: State Success Stories, a report that describes the history of and state experiences with renewable electricity standards, as well as case studies and success stories.
NREL Launches Renewable Energy Optimization Tool Website
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL's) Renewable Energy Optimization (REopt) early screening tool identifies and prioritizes renewable energy projects at a single site or across a portfolio of sites in multiple cities, states, or countries. Once the REopt analysis is complete, the tool provides a ranked list of renewable energy projects for different potential scenarios and identifies the technology sizes that meet the defined goals at minimum cost, along with the optimal deployment strategies. For more information about REopt, visit the new website.
2011 Cost of Wind Energy Review
A new NREL publication is now available as a free download. The report 2011 Cost of Wind Energy Review describes the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for a typical land-based wind project installed in the United States in 2011, as well as the modeled LCOE for a fixed-bottom offshore wind project proposed for installation in the United States.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Wind Power Guidelines
In Washington State, the developer of a new wind power generation facility has the option of pursuing a permit through either the local jurisdiction (cities and counties) or the state (Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council).
Compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) is required for wind energy proposals. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is considered an agency with environmental expertise through the State Environmental Policy Act and provides review and comments on environmental documents. The permitting authority is responsible for State Environmental Policy Act review before issuing a project permit. However, wind project developers and permitting agencies are encouraged to consult with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as early as possible in the siting process to discuss the potential environmental impact of the development prior to formal State Environmental Policy Act review. Early consultation with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife can ultimately result in a more efficient review of the proposal with upfront discussion of potential impacts.
The purpose of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Wind Power Guidelines is to provide consistent statewide guidance for the development of land-based wind energy projects that avoid, minimize and mitigate impacts to fish and wildlife habitats in Washington State.
County Strategies for Successfully Managing and Promoting Wind Power: Implementing Wind Ordinances in America's Counties
The Distributed Wind Energy Association and the National Association of Counties published County Strategies for Successfully Managing and Promoting Wind Power: Implementing Wind Ordinances in America's Counties. This publication provides an overview of wind ordinances, best practices that work for local communities and the wind industry, case studies of counties implementing wind ordinances, and additional resources.
Including Alternative Resources in State Renewable Portfolio Standards: Current Design and Implementation Experience
This paper, Including Alternative Resources in State Renewable Portfolio Standards: Current Design and Implementation Experience examines state experience with implementing renewable portfolio standards and explores compliance experience and costs, as well as how states evaluate, measure, and verify energy efficiency and convert thermal energy. It aims to gain insights from the experience of states for possible federal clean energy policy and share experience and lessons for state renewable portfolio standards implementation.
Community Wind Benefits Fact Sheet
Community wind projects are defined by an ownership model instead of by the type or size of turbine. Community wind projects have multiple applications and can be used by schools, hospitals, businesses, farms, ranches, or community facilities to supply local electricity. Rural electric cooperatives or municipal utilities can own community wind projects and use them to diversify electricity supplies. This fact sheet explores the benefits of community wind projects such as increased local control, stabilized energy prices, high levels of community support, and more.
Impact of Wind Power Projects on Residential Property Values: A NEWEEP Webinar
The New England Wind Energy Education Project (NEWEEP) hosted the first in a series of free webinars. The main topic of NEWEEP's inaugural event was, "The Impact of Wind Power Projects on Residential Property Values" presented by Ben Hoen, consultant to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. The session opened with a brief introduction of the New England Wind Energy Education Project, followed by an introductory discussion of, "Wind Power's role in Achieving Regional Policy Objectives" presented by Heather Hunt, executive director of New England States Committee on Electricity. The webinar included a question and answer session. This was a free webinar funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Wind Powering America Initiative. The webinar was designed for attendance by the general public, local officials, facility siting decision makers, policy makers, and others interested in a review of objective information on the impacts of wind energy.
- Audio and text versions of the webinar are available (WMV 76.2 MB) Download Windows Media Player. Time: 02:02:03. Text Version.
- Ben Hoen's presentation (PDF 1.7 MB)
- Heather Hunt's presentation (PDF 1.1 MB)
- Bob Grace's presentation (PDF 2.3 MB)
- Annotated Bibliography (PDF 134 KB)
Receive Notices for Future Webinars in the Series
If you would like to be on the NEWEEP mailing list to be notified of future NEWEEP webinars via email, please provide us with your contact information. Subscribers will also receive periodic email announcements about newly posted information on the New England Wind Forum website and new editions of the New England Wind Forum newsletter. The addresses and information of those signing up will not be distributed to anyone else for any other purpose. Past NEWEEP webinar audio visual files and transcripts are available.
Estimating Small Wind Turbine Energy Output and Economic Performance: An ASES Small Wind Division Webinar
The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) Small Wind Division bi-monthly Webinar series continued with a presentation titled, "Managing Expectations: Estimating Small Wind Turbine Energy Output and Economic Performance." The Webinar was presented by Tony Jimenez from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. This presentation taught methods for estimating wind turbine energy production and economic performance. The presentation started with an overview of wind characteristics and energy potential before describing the techniques used to evaluate wind turbine energy production and economic performance. Publicly available sources of wind data were also discussed.
Wind Powering America 12th Annual All-States Summit Simulcast and Proceedings
Location: Chicago, IL
The Summit followed the annual WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition and provided state Wind Working Groups, state energy officials, U.S. Energy Department and national laboratory representatives, and professional and institutional partners an opportunity to review successes, opportunities, and challenges for wind energy and plan future collaboration.
This year's Summit focused on the topic of wind energy in a troubled market. Speakers discussed how the current uncertainty in the market regarding energy costs, renewable energy policy, and climate debate is impacting the wind market and which activities and business models may help reduce the impact of this uncertainty on local wind development.
Proceedings are also available.
APPA National Conference
Date: 6/14/2013 to 6/19/2013
Location: Nashville, TN
The APPA National Conference helps utility leaders and policymakers connect with industry leaders, partners and peers while learning about the complex issues facing public power utilities.
The 2013 Public Power Wind Award recipient will be recognized.
Small Wind Conference
Date: 6/18/2013 to 6/19/2013
Location: Stevens Point, WI
Join manufacturers, installers, distributors, site assessors, policy-makers, advocates, educators, and other wind energy professionals to learn about news in the industry, share experiences, and visit the exhibit hall.