A Community Based Energy Development (C-BED) organization has been formed to help landowners and/or investors make connections with each other. C-BED tariffs have been filed for approval by a handful of Minnesota utilities. And the Governor’s office has pledged that at least 800 MW of C-BED wind energy projects will be operational by 2010.
C-BED, the organization, has a mission to “foster, promote, and secure, through all appropriate means, the local economic development and environmental benefits attached to renewable energy production facilities that are owned by ordinary members of local communities.” To this end, C-BED launched an Investor Matching Service in December 2005 to help bring together investors and producers for potential C-BED projects. C-BED.org will make a reasonable attempt to facilitate and introduce interested parties.
C-BED is also providing a C-BED Project Calculator that will provide a simplified estimate of how a particular utility’s proposed tariff gets translated into payments in a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the wind project owners.
The C-BED initiative, passed into law by the 2005 Minnesota Legislature, was a substitute for the $0.015/kWh production incentive program that was out of money and oversubscribed. The C-BED initiative eliminates the need for a 10-year state incentive payment by allowing wind projects to negotiate PPAs that are front loaded with higher payments for the first 10 years of a 20-year contract.
Windustry has posted copies of the proposed C-BED tarrifs on their web site. At this writing, Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power, Interstate Power and OtterTail Power have submitted proposals.
The C-BED initiative has strong support from state government. In November 2005, the Pawlenty administration announced that it wanted to have 800 MW of C-BED projects operational by 2010. At this level, community energy projects would represent about half of all the projected wind energy development in Minnesota over the next five years.