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Welcome to the Fall 2012 issue of the Small Wind Newsletter
Larry Sherwood


State incentives are an important part of the financial package that helps a consumer make the decision to purchase a small wind system. State budgets are particularly tight at the present moment, and, in addition, several states (notably California and New Jersey) have recently suspended their incentive programs due to issues of small wind turbine claims, performance and safety.   Despite these setbacks, many states continue to offer robust incentives.


In this edition of the Small Wind News, we focus on incentives - with highlights from programs in Vermont, New York, and Illinois. In this changing landscape, the DSIRE database provides your best source of current information about small wind incentives available anywhere in the country. DSIRE is an ongoing project of the North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC).


You will read, in the interview with wind advocate and author Paul Gipe, his opinion that feed-in tariffs provide a better and more sustainable incentive structure for small wind turbines than those more commonly being offered in the US. How to structure incentives, and indeed whether to offer them at all, is an important conversation that IREC is pleased to facilitate on the pages of our newsletter, even while we do not take policy positions on these matters as an organization.


If you find this issue has useful information that helps you better understand the changing world of small wind, please forward it to others who might be interested. Details on subscribing can be found at the end of the newsletter.

 Sherwood Signature
Larry Sherwood

PENNSYLVANIA: Wind for Schools Project Celebrates its First Wind Turbine Installation and Welcomes Three New Host Schools

The Pennsylvania Wind for Schools project, coordinated by Penn State University, is celebrating its first wind turbine installation at one of its host schools, Northwestern Area School District in Albion, Pennsylvania, just outside of Erie. A cadre of teachers at the school is excited to use the data from the turbine for in-class activities. Prior to the installation, this team participated in several Pennsylvania Wind for Schools activities, including placing first in the high school division of the KidWind Challenge held last spring in State College, Pennsylvania.  Read on.  


  Paul Gipe

The IREC Interview: Wind Advocate Paul Gipe

Paul Gipe is an author, advocate and renewable energy industry analyst. He has written extensively about renewable energy for both the popular and trade press.  In 2004, Gipe launched a campaign to bring electricity feed laws back to North America. The campaign has grown into a continent-wide grassroots movement that has put renewable energy feed-in tariffs on the policy agenda in Canada and the U.S.  We recently spoke with Paul about his work.   Read on.



Newly Updated Web­-Based Tool Examines Best Use of Incentive Dollars for On­site Wind

New York and Massachusetts increase rank while California and Vermont scale back

Comparing the combined impact of state and federal policies for small-scale wind is now easier thanks to a recent facelift of the Distributed Wind Policy Comparison Tool. Oregon, New York, and Massachusetts show the most favorable net cost of energy (COE) for small wind projects, while recent changes to incentives in California and Vermont have worsened those states' market environment. Read on.



NYSERDA announces the availability of approximately $13.8 million in incentives to encourage the installation of end-use wind energy systems for residential, commercial, institutional or government use.  Read on.

The 9th Annual Small Wind Conference Is Now Open for Business

Mark your calendars: the 9th Annual Small Wind Conference will be held June 18 - 19, 2013 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. This pivotal event brings together small wind installers, manufacturers, dealers and distributors, supply chain stakeholders, educators, public benefits program managers, site assessors and advocates -- all working together to move the small wind industry forward. Read on.


Upcoming Small Wind Events  

For a full listing of upcoming wind energy events, click here.    




Wind for Homeowners, Farmers, and Businesses

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory produced Small Wind Electric Systems Consumer's Guides to help homeowners, ranchers, and small businesses decide if wind energy will work for them. The U.S. map shows which states have small wind consumer's guides. Click on a state to download the guidebook. The U.S. Small Wind Guide is available in both English and Spanish. And, there is an American Corn Growers Association Small Wind Guide.  Read on


OREGON: New wind tool available from Energy Trust of Oregon

Customers can check local wind resource conditions with just a few clicks

If you feel like you're living in a wind tunnel and wondering if you're a good candidate for a small wind turbine to generate electricity, Energy Trust of Oregon can help. The nonprofit has added a new wind resource calculator to its website. The new tool allows Oregon customers of Portland General Electric and Pacific Power to check the strength of the wind at their farm, business or residence with just a few clicks. Read on


Small Wind Video



Check the Interstate Renewable Energy Council's Connecting to the Grid web site for the latest interconnection and net metering news.


MASSACHUSETTS: Interconnection Working Group Issues Final Report

On September 14, the Massachusetts Distributed Generation Working Group published its final report on recommendations for moving the Commonwealth's interconnection procedures forward. IREC has been participating throughout the four-month working group process, advising the working group on national best practices and encouraging them to integrate these practices into Massachusetts' model interconnection tariff. The report incorporated several suggestions encouraged by IREC, including a pre-application report and an increased penetration screen (from 7.5% of peak load to 15%). Read on.



New Incentives reported by the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE), a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and selected federal incentives that promote renewable energy. To access state-by-state incentives and policies that promote wind energy technologies, click here and select "wind (all)" or "wind (small)" from the drop-down menu. DSIRE is an ongoing project of the North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.

ILLINOIS: Wind Energy Rebate Program

The program is open to customers of investor-owned and municipal utilities, as well as electric cooperatives, which impose the Renewable Energy Resources and Coal Technology Development Assistance Charge. Fiscal Year 2013 rates have been reduced compared to previous years. Wind rebates are:

Residential and commercial wind: $1.70/watt or 30% of project costs

Public sector and non-profit wind: $2.60/watt or 40% of project costs

Wind energy systems must have a rated nameplate capacity ranging from 1 to 100 kilowatts. Eligible systems must be mounted on a tower of at least 60 feet in height on a land parcel of 1 acre or more. Applicants must also submit documentation verifying that the wind resource at the project site is suitable for wind generation. Read on.


VERMONT: Small Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program

Vermont's Small Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program, initiated in June 2003, provides funding for new solar water heating, solar electric (photovoltaic), wind, and micro-hydro energy system installations. Currently in its seventh round of funding, the program is available to single- and multi-family residences, commercial and industrial businesses, farms, schools, builders/developers, and local & state governments. In 2012, the wind incentive went back to a hybrid (capacity-based + performance-based) incentive originally proposed in 2010.   The first part of the incentive is paid upon successful installation and the second part is paid after one year and is calculated using the turbine's actual production data.  This incentive program design aims to support well-sited wind turbines. 

Residential Wind: Maximum incentive is $30,000 for one turbine up to 10 kW.

Commercial Wind: Maximum incentive is $180,000 for one turbine up to 100 kW.

Read on. 


These articles from around the U.S. give examples of how small wind is covered today,  good or bad.


MONTANA: Small-scale solar, wind keep costs low

The Outpost, October 11, 2012

While the big push in the current Montana energy scene seems to be full-speed-ahead for coal (strip mined or longwall-mined) and oil (recovered from hydraulically fractured shale deposits deep underground), solar and wind technologies continue to (a) improve in efficiency and cost, (b) keep power bills low for homeowners or businesses employing them, and (c) create local jobs. Read on


WYOMING: New Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center integrates wind power as part of energy-conscious design

Wind Tech, October 16, 2012

Five small wind turbines are among energy-conscious features of the new Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center dedicated 12 October 2012. Read on


RHODE ISLAND: Small Wind and Solar Energy Suffering in R.I.

ecoRI News, September 21, 2012

Vito Buonomano doesn't beat around the bush when talking about renewable energy and our future. His solar installation business is hurting, the state's new incentive program for renewable energy, he said, snubs small projects, and he's concerned little is being done to address climate change. Read on


NEVADA: Some Nevada wind power users say returns lacking

Fox News, September 27, 2012

Three years ago, Albert and Dena Sousa spent about $30,000 to install two vertical axis wind turbines at their Spanish Springs home after they were told the technology would cut their power bill in half. The retired couple from California thought the turbines, produced by former Reno-based company Mariah Power, would generate enough electricity to pay for themselves in five years after a $7,000 rebate from NV Energy. Read on.


ARKANSAS: Air Force Vet Converts Silos to Low-Cost Wind Turbines for Small Farms

Clean Technica, September 24, 2012

A U.S. Air Force veteran from Arkansas has won a chunk of funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a new venture called Agri Wind Turbines, to develop a low-cost wind turbine that uses compressed air funneled from existing or new silos. The idea is to provide small- and medium-sized farms with access to affordable wind power, especially in regions where "free-range" wind conditions are not ideal for conventional wind turbines. Read on


OHIO: Horticulture Business Relies on Solar, Wind Energy for Year-Round Food Production

Clean Technica, October 9, 2012

Ohio horticulturalist and renewable energy advocate Barry Adler is harnessing solar and wind energy to provide all the heat and electricity he needs to provide a steady supply of herbs, greens, and other vegetables to local restaurants and shops. RainFresh Harvests, near Plain City, Ohio, is one of 170 businesses, homes, schools, parks, and other properties on the 2012 Green Energy Ohio Tour, Columbus Dispatch reports. Read on



The Small Wind Newsletter is published electronically by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.   The Small Wind Web Site contains news, resources, and links.

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Disclaimer: The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) does not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product or process that is referred to or linked to in this newsletter. Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply IREC's endorsement or recommendation.


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