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Wind Energy in Perspective Lisa M. Daniels Windustry Michigan Wind Working Group December 9, 2003 Windustry Creating a wind energy knowledge base with rural landowner/community perspective Provides technical support Performs wind energy outreach Online info and tools

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wind energy in perspective

Wind Energy in Perspective

Lisa M. Daniels


Michigan Wind Working Group

December 9, 2003

  • Creating a wind energy knowledge base with rural landowner/community perspective
  • Provides technical support
  • Performs wind energy outreach
    • Online info and tools
    • Local, state, regional and national forums
    • Coming: Wind Farmers Network
windustry s wind farmers network
Windustry’s Wind Farmers Network
  • A network for landowners, farmers, ranchers, farm organizations, businesses, community leaders and others.
  • A membership-based exchange for case studies, individual experiences, lessons learned, negotiating points, and more.
    • More info on wind easements and development models.
  • comOnline at
topics in this presentation
Topics in this Presentation
  • Wind rights
    • Wind Easements
  • Wind Energy Impacts
  • Permitting
    • Process
    • Considerations
    • Who does it
  • Siting
  • Other comments and questions
a wind energy leader
A Wind Energy Leader
  • Minnesota - a typical story for the Midwest
why minnesota why wind energy
Why Minnesota?Why Wind Energy?
  • Public Policy - 1994 Legislative session
    • High Stakes - Mandate for some renewables in order to allow Nuclear Waste Storage
  • Wind Energy Drivers
    • Economics
    • Environment
    • Energy independence/security
    • Local/state policy and grassroots support
    • New development models are emerging…
what makes a good wind project
What makes a good wind project?
  • Average wind speed
  • Proximity/access to the grid
  • Cost of capital
  • State and Federal incentives
  • Market for the power
  • Community enthusiasm/ acceptance
wind development models
Wind Development Models

Three Main Types:

  • Large Wind Plants (large number of utility scale wind turbines)
  • Dispersed Wind Projects (a few utility scale wind turbines)
    • includes distributed generation
  • Small wind turbines (residential or sm. Business size)
large wind plants
Large Wind Plants
  • Concentration of large wind turbines.
  • High voltage transmission lines required.
  • Power delivered to distant population or load center.
  • Economies of scale are the main advantage here.
  • Currently the most common model of development.
  • Local involvement is mostly wind easements and tax revenue.
dispersed wind development
Dispersed Wind Development
  • Single or small clusters of large wind turbines
  • Connected to existing or upgraded distribution grid
  • Power contracted for distant load or local use, (local use is distributed generation)
  • More and more examples of locally-owned/financed dispersed projects
  • Often owned & operated by local utility, farmer/landowner enterprise, small business or community-based entity, i.e. school district
large wind projects local involvement wind easements
Large wind projects:Local involvement- wind easements
  • No standards
    • Some good, some bad, some ugly
  • Terms
    • Wide range, $2,500-$6,000 per turbine per year
    • Range from 20 years to perpetuity, most common 25-40 years
  • Main benefit
    • A way to participate in wind development with no cash outlay from landowner
    • Little or no risk to landowner
easements lessons learned
Easements: Lessons Learned

Best results when landowner has good info on:

    • The area’s wind resource
    • Wind developer’s history
    • Wind energy project economics
    • Stays involved with siting of machines and roads
    • Size of machine developer will use matters if easement is based on a percent of revenue
  • Consult a qualified attorney before signing anything.
easement issues
Easement Issues
  • Definitions:
    • When the contract begins
    • When it ends
    • What happens when no development takes place
    • Can I work with the guy who will be siting the wind turbines
    • How much of my land is included
    • What is included in gross revenue of project
south dakota statutes
South Dakota Statutes

State Limits

    • 5 yr options
    • 50 yrs wind easements
  • Severability - wind rights can’t be severed from the land
  • Property Taxes on foundation, tower and some infrastructure -in line with neighboring states
landowners payments
Landowners Payments
  • The Result: Wind Easement Contracts are becoming more lucrative for landowners
    • Old: $2,000 per year per turbine (based on late 1990s Enron developments in Iowa)
    • Recent: Reports of $5,000 or $6,000 per turbine per year in Illinois
large wind projects local involvement tax revenue and jobs
Large wind projects:Local involvement- Tax revenue and Jobs

Case Study: Lincoln County, MN

(population: 6,429, per capita income: $19,935)

  • Tax Revenue
    • Collected $757,634 from 156 MW in 2002. (25% of total county tax revenue)
  • Jobs
    • 31 jobs are supported annually for operations and maintenance for 107 MW project
    • Construction phase of same 107 MW project supported 150 jobs.
community commercial scale wind projects public utilities
Community Commercial- Scale Wind Projects- Public Utilities
  • Municipal Utilities

Examples: Moorhead, MN • Waverly, IA • Hull. MA

  • Rural Electric Cooperatives

Examples: Kotzebue Electric Association, Alaska • Last Mile Electric Cooperative, Oregon.

Moorhead, Minnesota

community wind projects
Community Wind Projects
  • School districts

Examples: Spirit Lake, IA • Eldora, IA • Lac Qui Parle School, MN- integrated into school curriculum

  • Tribal Communities

Example: Rosebud, SD- first Native American-owned large-scale wind turbine in the US

wind energy and economic development
Wind Energy and Economic Development
  • Large non-local wind projects
    • Wind easements
    • Local tax revenue
    • Jobs
  • Community and Local projects
    • Same benefits as above
    • Energy production revenue stays local
    • Tend to use more local businesses (such as banks, engineering firms, and construction contractors)
economic development for communities tax revenue
Economic Development for Communities- Tax Revenue
  • Largest benefit to whole communities from large wind farms is tax revenue
  • For example:
    • Lincoln County, Minnesota 2002 (Pop. 6,232): $757,634 from 156 MW (25% of total county tax revenue).
    • Pipestone County, Minnesota 2002 (Pop. 9,761): $389,789 from 113 MW (10% of total county revenue).
    • Worth County, Iowa - the new 80 MW project will add an estimated 9% to the county tax base.
kas brothers plant 25 year cash crop
Kas Brothers Plant 25-Year Cash Crop
  • First farmer owned commercial-scale projectin US.
  • Two 750 kW Micon turbines installed in summer of 2001.
  • Financed with local banks (had an equity partner)
  • Dozens of farmers in MN now following this model.

Richard and Roger Kas --Woodstock, MN

a growing group of minnesota wind farmers
A growing group of Minnesota Wind Farmers
  • "Combines cost you $150,000. You use it two, three, maybe four weeks out of the year. This costs you over a million dollars, but it runs 365 days a year. So when it all boils right down, I think this is a better investment," Pam Fey, Woodstock, Minnesota.

Fey family wind turbine under construction. Photo by Mark Steil/MN Public Radio

wind energy permitting process
Wind Energy Permitting Process
  • Typically wind projects are required to obtain a permit from one or more government agencies.
  • Often jurisdiction is local (planning commission, zoning board, city council, county board etc.)
  • Federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management and Federal Aviation Administration can come into play.
typical steps in permitting
Typical steps in permitting
  • Pre-application
  • Application Review
  • Decision-making
  • Administration and Judicial Review
  • Permit Compliance

(NWCC Permitting Handbook, 2002)

principles common to successful permitting processes
Principles Common to Successful Permitting Processes
  • Significant Public Involvement
  • Issue-Oriented Process
  • Clear Decision Criteria
  • Coordinated Permitting Process
  • Reasonable Time Frames
  • Advance Planning
  • Timely Administrative and Judicial Review
  • Active Compliance Monitoring

(NWCC Permitting Handbook, 2002)

specific permitting considerations
Specific Permitting Considerations
  • Land Use
  • Noise
  • Birds and other wildlife
  • Aesthetics
  • Soil Erosion and water quality
  • Public health and safety
  • Archeology and Paleontology
  • Solid and hazardous wastes
  • Air quality and climate

(NWCC Permitting Handbook, 2002)

1 land use
1. Land Use
  • Wind turbines should be compatible with other land uses.
  • Agriculture generally works well with wind energy.
2 noise
2. Noise

Wind turbines generate sound levels no higher than a moderately quiet room at distances of 750-1,000 feet.

3 bird and wildlife impacts
3. Bird and Wildlife impacts
  • Concerns include:
    • Direct fatalities (such as bird and bat collisions or electrocutions)
    • Loss of habitat
    • Loss of natural vegetation
  • All of these impacts can be mitigated with thoughtful siting.
4 aesthetics
4. Aesthetics
  • Highly subjective subject
  • Many things can be done to reduce visual impacts:
    • Spacing and turbine design
    • Markings and lighting
    • Roads on slopes
    • Building and storage
5 soil erosion and water quality
5. Soil Erosion and Water Quality
  • Mostly an issue during construction.
  • Good construction practices can go a long way toward preventing permanent harm to soil or water resources.
6 public health and safety
6. Public Health and Safety
  • Health concerns related to energy generation usually stem from harmful emissions released into the environment.
    • Wind energy is emission-free
  • Appropriate setbacks and signage protect public safety.
7 archeology and palentology
7. Archeology and Palentology
  • Culturally, historically, or scientifically important sites could be damaged by wind energy development.
  • Usually project plans can and should be adjusted to avoid such sites.
8 solid and hazardous waste
8. Solid and Hazardous Waste
  • Relative to other energy generation technologies, wind power produces little waste.
  • Considerations:
    • Construction produces solid waste that must be removed.
    • Poorly designed turbines could leak gearbox oils, hydraulic or insulating fluids.
9 air quality and climate
9. Air Quality and Climate
  • Use of wind energy reduces air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by displacing fossil fuel use.
case study minnesota
Case Study: Minnesota
  • Minnesota Environmental Quality Board had jurisdiction over permitting wind projects over 5 MW.
    • Process includes streamlined review process (usually 60-90 days, 180 day max.) and environmental review.
  • Smaller projects are approved by local governments, usually counties.

(NWCC Permitting Handbook, 2002)

case study minnesota41
Case Study: Minnesota
  • Wind turbines have been widely accepted by local communities.
  • Issues that have arisen include:
    • Limited impact on TV reception
    • Some aesthetic complaints
  • Long term avian study in Buffalo Ridge area showed wind turbines to have minimal impacts on local birds. However, a number of bat fatalities was recorded, prompting a bat study.
case study minnesota42
Case Study: Minnesota
  • Lessons learned:
    • High standards have been established to protect interests of local communities and residents.
    • Efficient and flexible process for developers.
  • Successful projects must address the needs of both the developer and the community.
case study lincoln and kewaunee counties wisconsin
Case Study: Lincoln and Kewaunee Counties, Wisconsin
  • Developer Madison Gas & Electric accelerated its timeline due to beat the expiration of the Federal Tax Credit.
  • Result was a hasty community outreach effort that left the community feeling “ambushed” and some vocal opposition to the 9.24 MW project.
  • Developers need to have established public support before and should be aware of specific local issues before moving forward with permitting applications.
case study lincoln and kewaunee counties wisconsin44
Case Study: Lincoln and Kewaunee Counties, Wisconsin
  • Lessons Learned:
    • Developers need to have established public support before and should be aware of specific local issues before moving forward with permitting applications.
siting and permitting guidelines and resources
Siting and Permitting Guidelines and Resources
  • National Wind Coordinating Committee’s Permitting of Wind Energy Facilities Handbook, 2002.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Interim Guidance on avoiding and minimizing wildlife impacts from wind turbines.”
  • American Wind Energy Association’s Model Zoning Ordinance for small wind turbines.
  • AWEA’s Small Wind Turbine Permitting Handbook, Learning from the California Experience.



wildlife natural resource conservation voices for wind
Wildlife/natural resource conservation voices for wind

“The most beautiful thing about wind turbines is not visible at all: It’s cleanliness—clean energy. That enormous benefit may not always offset the drawbacks of wind-fueled energy, but it ought to make us think twice about tilting at giant windmills as if they were monsters.”

– Kathleen Weflen, editor, Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, MN DNR

how to view wind power
How to view wind power
  • As a tool for economic development in rural communities.
  • As a significant new crop for farmers.
  • As a home-grown energy resource.
  • As a clean alternative to traditional energy generation technologies.
  • A new industry for rural economy.
contact us
Contact Us


2105 First Avenue South

Minneapolis, Minnesota 55105

toll free(800) 946-3640 

main phone(612) 870-3461  

fax(612) 870-4846