Tag Archives: economic benefits of renewable energy development

Wind energy provides a breath of fresh air

The Grand Island Independent, Opinion written by Lu Nelsen,
Policy Associate, Center for Rural Affairs, Lyons

Wind energy projects have proven to be an important economic development tool for counties across rural America. In Nebraska, these projects generated nearly $3 million in tax revenue for local schools — accumulating a total of $3,065,623 in 2017. The contributions were used to fund schools, roads, and other essential services. As rural economies look to diversify their revenue streams without raising taxes, wind energy projects could provide a breath of fresh air.
Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: AWEA Public Domain Photos, “Wind Rainbow”

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

The top five wind stories of 2018, Windpower Engineering Development

The low cost and reliability of wind have continued to drive strong
industry growth that is still pushing forward. AWEA predicts that seven states (Arkansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wyoming,
Maryland and Massachusetts) will soon build enough wind turbines to more than double their wind-power capacity. Flickr Image

Enel Green Power brings online 620 MW of new wind capacity in the United States, News Release

Enel, through its US renewable company Enel Green Power North America, Inc. (EGPNA), has started operations of the 320 MW
Rattlesnake Creek wind farm in Dixon County, Nebraska.

As coal economics worsen, rural renewables development propels Midwest growth: NRDC

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Approximately 5 GW of new renewables were added across nonmetropolitan areas of 12 Midwest states between 2016 and 2017, compared to about 1.7 GW of capacity added in urban areas, according to the report. NRDC’s analysis focused on Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Development in the region is not slowing down either. Last week Capital Dynamics announced an agreement with power company Tenaska to develop 2,000 MW of solar across half the states listed in the report. And Illinois has 600 MW under construction with another 1.2 GW planned, which will more than double the state’s current rural renewables capacity of 1.6 GW.
Read the entire article here.

Download NRDC Report: Clean Energy Sweeps Across Rural America

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE
Data centers, EVs and cannabis poised to boost demand, American Public Power Association
An example of a public power utility attracting a data center can be found with the Omaha Public Power District. Facebook in 2017 said that it had selected a new Nebraska wind project that will supply power to the social media company’s new data center in Papillion, Neb. OPPD played a key role in bringing the data center to Nebraska through an innovative rate plan.

Wind farm proposed for Gage, Lancaster counties

By Scott Koperski, Beatrice Daily Sun News Editor

Plans for a wind farm in northern Gage and southern Lancaster counties that failed to materialize may be resurrected by a different company . . . NextEra anticipates the $141 million project would create around 200 jobs during construction and generate more than $25 million in property taxes over a 30-year period. The company is planning two informational events to discuss the project with the public. The events will both be at the Hallam Auditorium at 15 Main St. in Hallam on Tuesday, Oct. 9 from 5-7 p.m. and Wednesday, Oct. 10 from 7:30-9:30 a.m.
Read more here.

Photo: NextEra’s first Nebraska wind project was the 75-megawatt Steele Flats Wind Farm in Gage and Jefferson counties consisting of forty-four 1.7-megawatt turbines. The wind farm began commercial operation in 2013.

Source: NPPD Wind Generation

Solar Power Legislation In Illinois Could Generate $250-350 Million In Tax Revenue

By Jake Richardson, CleanTechnica

Illinois Governor Rauner recently signed two bills to support solar development conditions for Illinois farmers and rural areas.  They are SB 486 and SB 2591. The first creates a standard tax assessment value for local solar farms in Illinois. The second sets standards for the construction and deconstruction of solar farms on agricultural land. Lesley McCain, the Executive Director of the Illinois Solar Energy Association, answered some questions for CleanTechnica about the legislation. Continue reading here.

Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act Website

Pixabay Photo

Windfall: Minnesota counties use wind tax money for roads, tax relief

Written by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

Minnesota’s wind energy tax is helping rural counties hold the line on levy increases and pay for road repairs and other infrastructure projects. Revenue from the state’s wind energy tax has increased more than fivefold over the past decade to $12.7 million in 2018, according to Minnesota Department of Commerce. Wind farms larger than 12 MW pay $1.20 per MWh, while smaller farms pay just 36 cents per MWh. “Wind revenue is now a key source of income for many counties, relieving the property tax burden on homeowners and businesses,” said Commerce Commissioner Jessica Looman. Continue reading here.

Photo by Michael Janke of wind turbines on a Minnesota Farm

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

AT&T signs huge renewable energy purchase agreement

Posted by Climate Action

AT&T has agreed to purchase 520 megawatts of renewable energy, in what is being signaled as one of the largest corporate agreements to date The company has also signed on to a set of principles which help guide and support corporate companies make cost-effective renewable energy purchases from the grid. The initiative is being led by WWF and the World Resources Institute. Read more here.

 Image Credit: Leaflet / CC 

 ALSO IN THE NEWS

Invenergy Completes Construction Financing for 202 MW Upstream Wind Energy Center in Antelope County, Nebraska

Press Release Excerpt

Upstream Wind Energy Center is currently under construction and scheduled to begin commercial operation in the fourth quarter of 2018, creating more than 240 jobs during construction and up to 11 full-time, permanent jobs once operational. The project will generate approximately $2 million a year for the local economy through tax payments, lease payments to participating landowners, and wages and benefits for employees. With 81 wind turbines, the wind farm will be able to power as many as 68,000 homes and businesses. Read the complete press release here.

Invenergy Projects in Operation in Nebraska

  • 35.8 MW Prairie Breeze III Wind Energy Center in Antelope County southeast of Elgin. 20 turbines. Commercial Operation Date: 2015
  • 73.4 MW Prairie Breeze II Wind Energy Center in northeastern Nebraska in Antelope and Boone Counties. 41 turbines. Commercial Operation Date: 2015
  • 200 MW Prairie Breeze I in Antelope, Boone and Madison Counties. 118 turbines. Commercial Operation Date: 2014

Source: Wind Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Energy Office

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST
Wind industry encouraged by FERC’s direction on grid resilience, American Wind Energy Association Press Release

News Release: OPPD Adding More Wind To Its Portfolio

With the addition of a new wind facility, the Omaha Public Power District announced it is projected to provide approximately 40 percent of its generation from renewable energy sources when the facility comes online, currently scheduled for late 2019. OPPD President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Burke talked about the plans at the district’s Board of Directors meeting today.

A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources will build the 160-megawatt Sholes wind facility in Wayne County, Nebraska. Construction is slated to begin in March 2019, and it is expected to be operational by December 2019. OPPD will purchase 100 percent of the facility’s wind energy as part of a 20-year agreement.
Click here to read the full release.

From OPPD’s winds of change, The Wire:
The investment is a welcome one not just for OPPD’s customer-owners, but also for those in Wayne County, where the construction could bring in approximately 200 jobs during the construction period and six to 10 full-time operations jobs. The project is estimated to provide more than $30 million in tax revenue.

When wind turbines move to town – How do rural communities benefit?

By Anna Luke, Into the Wind, American Public Power Association Blog

It wasn’t always the case, but nowadays rural places are often among those in greatest need of new economic development. Sadly, the farm belt and Rust Belt have been losing jobs and investment for decades. It will take significant change to raise up rural communities, including welcoming new opportunities like wind. Rural areas already are home to 99 percent of the country’s wind turbines, with more on the way. Building a wind farm can be a big change for a small town, but a number of benefits come along with those changes, including: Continue reading.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Can Solar Benefit Rural America’s Economy?

By Bobbi Peterson, The Energy Collective

Currently, the solar power industry employs 260,077 workers – up 24.5% from 2015 — and 51,000 of the jobs added were for newly created positions. Many of these positions are in rural areas, taking advantage of ample space and solar’s unique scalability. Also on the rise are rural solar cooperatives, which invest in and support solar power, like the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. This association is a conglomerate of 44 coops from Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and New Mexico . . . Beyond the jobs market, rural consumers also stand to gain from the advent of affordable solar technology. The cost of solar panels has been declining for some time, allowing more and more rural consumers to install them on their property.
Click here to read the entire article.

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