- Green Jobs & Careers
- Business Sustainabilty
- Green Business
by Jeremy Gross, Green Economy Post
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reported that the U.S. wind energy industry broke all previous records in 2008 by installing more than 8,500 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity. To put that number in perspective, it is enough to power over two million homes.
However, in a sign of even greater opportunities and future growth, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) reported that the wind power’s generating capacity grew from over 25,000 MW in 2008 to over 35,000 MW in 2009.
Like many other industries, wind power has a handful of companies in dominant positions. Check out this AWEA chart of the top five wind asset owners in 2008:
|Top Five Owners of Wind Assets as of End of 2008|
|Owner||Wind Penetration (MW)|
|NextEra Energy Resources||6,290|
Take a look at NextEra – in 2008, they alone owned around 25% of total wind assets in the U.S!
But what about the “little guys and girls”? How can local communities get a piece of the action? The answer is Community Wind!
What is Community Wind?
Wind power information non-profit, Windustry, provides a clear definition of Community Wind:
Community wind projects are locally owned by farmers, investors, businesses, schools, utilities, or other public or private entities and they optimize local benefits. The key feature is that local community members have a significant, direct financial stake in the project beyond land lease payments and tax revenue. Projects may be used for on-site power or to generate wholesale power for sale, usually on a commercial-scale greater than 100 kW.
Much like larger real estate projects, community wind power projects can take a few years to plan and develop. It requires working with a devoted team of wind industry experts who can navigate around financial, easements, power purchase agreements, engineering, construction, utilities, and project management.
The key takeaway is understanding that local ownership can have a positive multiplier when looking at the economic, social, and environmental benefits of community wind. Again, Windustry provides us with clear examples – let’s take a look at some specific benefits.
Economic Benefits of Wind
Social Benefits of Wind
Environmental Benefits of Wind
Wind power generation and capacity have been expanding at a rapid pace. This has created many opportunities for community wind development. States have been building wind in to their renewable portfolio standards. According to the AWEA, in 2008, Minnesota and Iowa – now get over 7% of their power from wind and 13 states get more than 2%.
Here is AWEA‘s list of the top 5:
|States with Highest Percentage of Electricity from Wind|
|State||Wind Penetration (%)|
Community wind power is a great way to help strengthen each state’s local communities and local economies as well as to help create a more sustainable and green future.
For more information, check out the Windustry Community Wind Toolbox:.
© 2010, Jeremy Gross. All rights reserved. Do not republish.
Author: Jeremy Gross (10 Articles)
Jeremy Gross is a beginner blogger who has always been drawn to the idea of the triple bottom line (planet, people, and profits) and green living. While studying for his B.S. in Business Management with a concentration in Entrepreneurship, he started a small, side business selling organic granola and cookies. Since granola wasn’t as lucrative as he hoped, for the last few years he has been a technically-oriented Business Analyst with a family-and-employee-owned bank in Seattle. Jeremy volunteers with a forest restoration program and an urban agriculture organization. He also enjoys working with plants, building terrariums, and spending time with his wife, daughter, and cat! If you’d like to reach Jeremy, contact him through JeremyGross.com. He’d love to hear from you!