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Welcome to the Fall 2014 issue of IREC's   
Small Wind Newsletter! 

Larry Sherwood

In the last issue of the Small Wind News, I shared my observation that we were developing infrastructure that will be the foundation for future growth, even in the midst of a difficult time in the small wind industry. In this issue, you will see a clearer picture of the current state of the market. The 2013 Distributed Wind Market Report, featured in this issue, gives us a comprehensive understanding of the various factors at play in the small wind industry today. In the IREC interview, Heather Rhodes-Weaver, one of the principal authors of the report, shares her perspective on the current challenges, from the vantage point of someone with a long and varied career in distributed wind.


The authors put numbers to what we all felt - the contraction of the market last year. Still, as the report mentions, there are positive things happening in distributed wind, including new financing models, booming exports, an increase in the number of certified turbines, and the expectation of an improved market in 2014.


And we see glimpses of the future for small wind in this newsletter, with the announcements of new financing for distributed wind projects; a collegiate competition to design and construct a wind-driven power system to supply electricity for off-grid applications; and grants given to improve efficiency and competitiveness for new technologies.


As always, 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.

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Larry Sherwood

Report Describes State of the Distributed Wind Market

In August of 2014, DOE released a report summarizing the current state of the distributed wind market in the U.S. The 2013 Distributed Wind Market Report's purpose is to help plan and guide future investments and decisions by industry, utilities, state and federal agencies, and other interested parties. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, and written by Alice Orrell, of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Heather Rhoads-Weaver, of eFormative Options, with significant contributions by Larry Flowers, Matt Gagne, Boyd Pro, and Nik Foster.


The authors believe that distributed wind is poised to play a growing role in the rapidly expanding distributed generation market, which is expected to contribute an increasing amount of the incremental generation capacity growth in the coming years, according to industry analysts. They assert that the rise in distributed generation is leading to a fundamental shift in the utility business model, with some utilities responding to the disruptive challenge as an unwanted threat. Read on

The IREC Interview: Heather Rhoads-Weaver of eFormative Options
Heather Rhoads-Weaver is Principal Consultant and Founder of eFormative Options. Among her current consulting responsibilities, she is responsible for stakeholder communications for the Small Wind Certification Council, serves as the State Policy Director for the Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA), and is the project manager for the new U.S. Department of Commerce-funded SMART [Sustainable Manufacturing, Advanced Research and Technology] Wind Consortium. She is the elected Secretary for DWEA's Board of Directors, and was awarded the 2006 "Small Wind Advocate of the Year" by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. She served as American Wind Energy Association's Small Wind Advocate for 5 years and was the founding Executive Director and Director of Community Partnerships for Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (SEED). In this issue's IREC Interview, Heather shares her perspective on the current state of the distributed wind field, and the challenges and opportunities ahead.  Read on.

DOE Announces Distributed Wind Competitiveness Improvement Project Awards

The U.S. Department of Energy and the Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory announced funding for projects led by Pika Energy, Northern Power Systems, Endurance Wind Power, and Urban Green Energy that will help drive down the cost of small and medium-sized wind energy systems. Through the second round of the Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP), the teams will receive a total of $1.27 million between them. In support of the Energy Department's Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, this funding aims to help U.S. manufacturers improve their turbine designs and manufacturing processes to reduce hardware costs, improve efficiency and eventually earn certification from accredited third-party certification bodies, which issue easy-to-understand labels showing a turbine has met performance and safety testing requirements set by the wind industry. Read on.


United Wind Announces $10M in New Financing for Distributed Wind Projects

United Wind recently announced it has secured a project financing commitment from Pacific Rim Capital, Inc., a leading equipment leasing company, based in Irvine, CA. This funding enables United Wind to continue to offer consumer-scaled wind turbines with no upfront cost for customers seeking to reduce their electricity costs today and into the future. Read on.


USDA Invests $68 Million in 540 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects Nationwide

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced in September that USDA is investing in 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide, including 14 small wind projects.  "These loan guarantees and grants will have far-reaching impacts nationwide, particularly in the rural communities where these projects are located," Vilsack said. "Investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency will continue the unprecedented increase in home-grown energy sources and American energy independence we've seen in recent years. This is creating jobs, providing new economic opportunities and leading the way to a more secure energy future." Read on.  


DWEA Launches Consensus-Based SMART Wind Consortium



More than 50 industry, academic, and government representatives from 25 states plus Washington, DC, and Canada joined to work together in a new way to inaugurate the Sustainable Manufacturing Advanced Research and Technology (SMART) Wind Consortium on October 16th in Albany, New York.


Hosted by the Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA), the event marked the launch of a new distributed wind technology road-mapping effort that will focus on overcoming manufacturing gaps and barriers to drive down costs and open new market opportunities.


"Partnering together with other U.S. distributed wind manufacturing leaders will energize and enhance the sector, helping us all capture more business and grow our market share," noted Gary Kanaby with Wetzel Engineering Inc., a wind turbine system engineering firm and supplier of small blades. "Convening the SMART Wind Consortium is a great first step in building global competitiveness for the U.S. distributed wind industry." Read on


Department of Energy Announces 2016 Collegiate Wind Competition  

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently issued a Request for Proposals seeking teams of students to participate in the 2016 U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition.


First held in 2014 at the American Wind Energy Association Annual Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, the Collegiate Wind Competition challenges teams to design a wind-driven system based on market research, develop a business plan to market the product, build and test the system against set requirements, and demonstrate knowledge of current and emerging issues facing the wind industry. This interdisciplinary Competition brings together students in engineering, business, marketing, communications, policy, and social science fields in order to engage the future workforce in broad and unique aspects of wind energy. The competition is open to undergraduate students from two and four year institutions of higher education. Read on


Upcoming Small Wind Events

For a list of upcoming small wind events, click here   



Distributed Wind Policy Comparison Tool Updated




The Distributed Wind Policy Comparison Tool has been updated with several improvements to reflect changes in market conditions: The Distributed Wind Policy Tool is a one-stop shop for information related to the cost, policies, incentives and other details associated with on-site wind. It was created to help policy makers, industry representatives and advocates better understand what makes a successful distributed wind market environment, and keep tabs on the complex, ever-changing policy landscape.  


The tool allows sensitivity analyses to be conducted on various policy options and assumptions to determine impacts, optimize scenarios, and guide smart investments in small wind technology. It highlights attractive markets and policy targets that offer the quickest return on investment, encouraging best practices to sustain and improve support for distributed wind.  Read on.





INDIANA:  Utility Proposes Expansion of its Feed-in Tariff Program

Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), an investor owned utility serving nearly a half million customers, filed a proposal to expand its voluntary feed-in tariff (FIT) program. The proposed program, known as FIT 2.0, is a renewable energy purchasing program that enables NIPSCO to procure 16 MW of electricity from small-scale, renewable electricity projects within its service territory. This program is the successor to FIT 1.0, which created 30 MW of market capacity for local renewables. Read on.


NEW YORK:  PACE Financing

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has announced a new partnership that will expand innovative clean energy project financing to all of New York State for commercial, industrial and multifamily buildings to help them become more competitive and cost effective by decreasing their energy costs. Through the partnership, NYSERDA is providing approximately $1 million to the Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC) to jumpstart its Energize NY Finance program in the state over the next two years. The Energize NY Finance program uses commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) finance and property tax laws to provide long-term, market-rate financing for clean energy commercial and multifamily building improvements. Read on.    


MICHIGAN:  PACE Financing 

PACE financing effectively allows property owners to borrow money to pay for energy improvements. The amount borrowed is repaid via a special assessment on the property over a period of years. Commercial, industrial and multi-family property owners (five units and up) in a participating city or county can participate in Lean & Green Michigan. Read on.

New Incentives are 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.



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

Can These New Small Wind Companies Finally Duplicate the Success of the Solar Industry?

GreenTechMedia, August 20, 2014

While solar has exploded in the U.S., small wind has struggled to grow. Two startups are hoping to change that. United Wind's mission is to recreate the success of third-party financing in solar. United Wind has developed a twenty-year lease that it says will save customers 15 percent to 20 percent on their monthly electricity costs. The other company to put together a similar offering is Urban Green Energy, a vertical-axis wind producer that closed a $20 million fund for servicing telecom operations. Read on. 


MINNESOTA: Pricey VA Wind Turbines Around U.S. Remain Idle

KARE11, August 31. 2014

Visions of a national wind energy bonanza have been a costly mirage for the Department of Veterans Affairs, even after five years of work and more than $3.7 million spent. A St. Cloud Times investigation found the department has little to show for its coast-to-coast attempt at wind energy development. Read on.


IOWA: Wind turbine goes up

GlobeGazette, September 25, 2014

Work began Thursday on installation of a windmill at Carroll Sales, 600 Fourth St. S.W., marking the end of a long pursuit by owner Marv Schlutz. "I've been talking about this for 18 years," he said, as workers poured cement for the foundation. "It's been a hectic journey." Schlutz has owned Carroll Sales, a wholesale food distributorship, since 1976. "It seems like I've been trying to do this for almost that long," said Marv. It wasn't until February 2006 that the City Council passed an ordinance allowing windmills in all areas of the city. Read on.


VIRGINIA: Chesapeake School Uses Wind Turbine As Teaching Tool, October 10, 2014

The wind is creating new educational opportunities for students in Chesapeake. Grassfield High School is now a part of the Wind for Schools program through James Madison University. And you could say the partnership is powered by a new addition on campus that's hard to miss. Each time the football team kicks a field goal this season, there's a 60-foot turbine in sight, showing the school's focus goes well beyond sports."The thought process behind it was really to have an educational tool, not really to power the building," said Tom Spencer, who's an engineering teacher that spear-headed the effort. "We understood that wasn't going to happen, but we can provide a small power offset, and we do." Read on.



The Small Wind Newsletter is published electronically by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.

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If you have comments or news items, please send them to Larry Sherwood at [email protected] .

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