Back to top Jump to featured resources
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States

Community Wind Act: More Locally Owned Wind Power

| Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Nov 10, 2011 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/community-wind-act-more-locally-owned-wind-power/

Wind TurbineThe use of the tax code has long made the federal wind power incentives something of a bane for community wind power.  Finding strategies to use the passive-income-only Production Tax Credit has made community wind developers do legal acrobatics to structure deals with tax equity partners that can use the credits.

Senators Al Franken (D-MN) and Jon Tester (D-MT) hope to make community wind easier with the Community Wind Act.

The bill, introduced in late October 2011, would extend an existing 30% investment tax credit (ITC) for very small wind (100 kilowatts and smaller) to wind projects up to 20 megawatts in size.  Since the ITC doesn’t require passive income, it may be easier for community wind developers to use the credit internally or to find tax equity partners closer to home. 

Brian Minish, whose company Val-Add Services helped develop the innovative South Dakota Wind Partners community wind project, believes that the Community Wind Act could make a big difference: 

We strongly support the Franken-Tester Community wind bill so other groups like ours have the opportunity to build competitive wind farm projects.  Not needing to have investors with passive income to be able to utilize the production tax credits to take advantage of the federal incentive helped our project be successful.

The Wind Partners project brought together over 600 local farmers and South Dakota residents to own seven utility-scale wind turbines in a 10.5 megawatt wind project and utilized the short-lived cash grant in lieu of the Production Tax Credit.  With the Community Wind Act, Wind Partners could more easily be replicated.

Click here for the full bill (pdf) or a 1-page summary from Sen. Franken’s office.  Click here to track S. 1741 on Govtrack.

Tags: / / / / /

About John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Self-Reliant States and Communities program at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. More

Contact John   |   View all articles by John Farrell