Wind Energy Technology Resources

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This page starts out by showing you the most recent content from across the CERTs website. Jump to detailed resources.

Wind energy uses the energy in wind for practical purposes like generating electricity, charging batteries, or pumping water for agricultural purposes. Wind project range from very small to very large.

Wind Energy Blog Posts

Solar thermal air heat wall at PWELC
Erin Smith
Fri, 10/31/2014 - 3:25pm
On October 15th folks from across the West Central CERT region met at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center in Spicer to learn about renewable...
Join the CERTs team!
Maggie Kozak
Tue, 09/02/2014 - 10:37am
Love energy efficiency, renewables, and helping others save money? Like to work with local units of government on helping them finance their clean...
Tour sites for 2014
Laura Burrington
Wed, 08/20/2014 - 10:44am
October 4th, 2014 from 10am-4pm the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society will be hosting the Minnesota Renewable Energy Tour, which features 50+...

Upcoming Wind Energy Events

Wind Energy Case Studies

All of us, at some point in life, were stuck indoors on a beautiful day, and wished we could be outside. As kids, we’ve daydreamed about our teacher...
Concordia Language Villages (CLV) is widely known for providing students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in a different language and...
With a vast agricultural industry and resources spread over fields and acres, how do you measure the true renewable energy resources of Minnesota?...
Wind Energy

Funding & Financing Opportunities

Funding & Financing Opportunities
There are various opportunities for funding and financing any clean energy project. CERTs offers a list of funding opportunities currently available in the fields of energy and the environment. Start exploring now! Learn more

Planning your own projects?

Check out project planning resources
The success of any clean energy project depends on how you plan and utilize community, organizational, and financial resources. This is a place for you and your community members to learn from what others have done and strategize about how to accomplish your own clean energy project goals. Learn more.

CERTs Supported Projects

See CERTs-supported projects
CERTs awards Seed Grants to community groups for energy efficiency and clean energy projects and we’re currently accepting applications! See projects or learn more about grants.

Find Companies

Find companies with the Clean Energy Project Builder
The Clean Energy Project Builder is an online directory that will help you find companies to help you plan, implement, and manage your clean energy projects. It’s also a great place to just learn more about companies serving the solar and wind energy industries in Minnesota. You can even save a portfolio of folks to follow up with! Check it out

Detailed Wind Energy Resources

Home & Farm Sized Wind

Project Planning

Small Wind Electric Systems: A Minnesota Consumers GuideUS DOE Wind Powering America Program
An unbiased and easy to understand introduction to small wind systems for residents, farmers, and small business owners who want to install a small wind turbine to supply enough energy for their home or business.

Wind Turbine Buyer’s GuideMick Sagrillo and Ian Woofenden, Home Power Magazine, June/July 2007
This is a partial update to the highly acclaimed article Apples & Oranges: Choosing a Home Sized Wind Generator also by Mick Sagrillo. It is a must read for anyone considering the purchase of a small wind system for their home, business or farm. It covers general considerations for purchasing a small wind system and specifics of some of the most common wind turbine models available in the United States.

Apples & Oranges: Choosing a Home Sized Wind GeneratorMick Sagrillo, Home Power Magazine
Small wind systems can cost many thousands of dollars, in most cases even more than your family car. Would you buy a new car without first researching the model you want? Likewise would you consider spending thousands of dollars on a small wind system without doing research on the supplier of the turbine and the history of the machine? This article is the consumer reports of small wind turbine models. Published in 2002, the article is a bit dated, but it is still a great primer on what to consider when purchasing a small wind system.

Small Wind ToolboxMick Sagrillo, Renew Wisconsin
Mick Sagrillo is the small wind guru. In his small wind toolbox he opens his head to share some of the most useful advice on small wind systems that exists. Once you understand the basics behind installing a personal wind system visit this website to find the nitty-gritty details you need to install a successful project from properly siting the machine on your property to capture the most wind possible to advice on how to approach your insurance company to have the turbine and system included on your home-owners policy. Some of the information in this toolbox is specific to Wisconsin but a lot of the information can be directly related to installations in other states.

Small Wind Energy Guide: Kandiyohi County, MNBy Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, Financial support from CERTs, among others (2007)
Most everything you need to know about getting a small wind project on the ground in Kandiyohi County, MN is contained in this document. This document will also be helpful to those outside Kandiyohi who want to work on small wind project development.

Public Wind Resource Data and Supporting Resources

  • State Wind Resource MapsUS DOE, Wind Powering America Program
  • Raw Wind Data from Hundreds of Sites Across the Great Planes StatesUniversity of North Dakota, Planes Organization for Wind Energy Resources
  • Minnesota WRAP ReportMinnesota Department of Commerce: The Wind Resource Analysis Program (WRAP) Report of data collected from wind monitoring sites sponsored by the Energy Division of the Minnesota Department of Commerce. This report includes data for years 1995 through 2001.
  • Small Wind Economic ModelUS DOE, Wind Powering America, NREL: The Small Wind Economic Model is a spreadsheet tool that can help you analyze the economics of a small wind electric system and decide whether wind energy will work for you.
  • Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy: A one stop shop for existing policies that are designed to spur renewable energy and energy efficiency development on both the state and national level. This site is where to go to find incentives and policies in your state. It is regularly updated by experts in renewable energy policy and provides descriptions of how each policy is being implemented in an easy to read format with links to higher level information.
     
     

Workshops & Seminars

Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA)
This Wisconsin-based organization that promotes renewable energy and sustainable living offers a small wind installers certification program, regular installation workshops working with small turbines in the filed, and holds an annual small wind meeting of industry members and advocates in conjunction with the annual Energy Fair. This is the place to get hands dirty working with small wind systems.

North Carolina Wind EnergyAppalachian State University, Boone, NC
Beech Mountain is one of only a few small wind turbine test facilities in the North America. Visit this website to find out when their next small wind installation and maintenance workshop will be held and to see some great views of small wind systems in action. This program is a little ways from the Midwest but if you can make the trip to North Carolina for one of their workshops it’s well worth it.
 
 

Companies & Consultants

Clean Energy Project Builder
The Clean Energy Project Builder connects you with the clean energy industry by helping you find companies that can work with you to plan, implement, and manage clean energy projects. The Clean Energy Project Builder directory allows you to browse companies; to search by specific technologies like wind and solar or services like engineering, operations & maintenance, or legal services; to find companies near you using geographic search; and to find companies through a range of other details like service area, company age, or completed project capacity. Once you have found companies that you want to follow up with you can create a portfolio that allows you to tag them, organize them, and export your lists to a PDF. Compiling a list of qualified companies for your request for proposals just got a whole lot easier! It is also easy and free to add your company to the Clean Energy Project Builder directory.

Hiring a Renewable Energy InstallerMinnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources
This document lists a number of questions that you should ask a renewable energy installer before you hire them—a very handy resource to ensure that you’re vetting potential companies appropriately.
 
 

Industry Information and Policy

Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC)Small Wind Energy
Visit this site to hear the latest news on small wind energy policy, technical issues, important conferences, workshops and meetings. Sign up for their small wind monthly e-news letters and find out more information about the Small Wind Certification Corporation. If you want to stay on the pulse of small wind energy in the United States this website is your stethoscope.

American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)Small Wind Resources
The trade association for the wind industry has a branch dedicated to national and state level policy development to help more small/home and farm sized wind systems get installed. Visit this site to learn about the small wind industry, case studies from successful installations, benefits of small wind systems, and what you can do to help support policy that is pro-small wind systems.
 
 

Non-CERTs Case Studies


Commercial-Scale Community Wind

Handbooks & Publications

Ownership and Regional Economic Impact: The Case of Wind Development in MinnesotaArne Kildegaard, Professor of Economics & Management at University of Minnesota Morris
This study attempts to quantify the regional value-added and employment consequences of local- versus outside-ownership of wind-powered electricity generation. We employ a realistic pro forma model of a “flip” structure—i.e. a local equity “community wind” group partnered with an external tax-motivated equity group—for a modestly sized (9.9 MW) wind farm, using recent vendor-certified capital costs combined with additional financial estimates from industry participants, assuming a class four wind resource.

Community-Based Energy Development (C-BED) tariff fact sheetCERTs
Learn more about the C-BED tariff, a public policy adopted by the Minnesota Legislature in 2005 to promote more locally owned and dispersed wind energy facilities within the state.

Community Wind Development HandbookRural Minnesota Energy Board and partners
This Handbook is designed to provide local community leaders of “wholesale” community wind projects with practical knowledge of what to expect when developing commercial-scale projects in the range of 2 to 50 Megawatts. The handbook was developed on behalf of Rural Minnesota Energy Board through a funding collaboration involving AURI, MN Corn Growers, CERTS, Southwest Initiative Foundation, and The Minnesota Project. AURI managed the project on behalf of the collaborators and contracted its development with Windustry.

Community Wind ToolboxWindustry
From recruiting an effective project team, wind resource assessment that will help your project to acquire financing, understanding various business structures and how they can affect your projects bottom line, as well as primers on the interconnection process and tips on negotiating wind turbine purchase, this publication covers many of the issues you will need to consider while planning your project. Each chapter of the Toolbox contains additional resources to find more detailed information about the topic.

Wind Energy Siting HandbookAmerican Wind Energy Association
This extensive 183 page handbook is designed to take the reader from the basic steps and considerations within the wind development process through to construction of the wind project. It can be downloaded in full or by chapter. Definitely worth consultation.

Community Wind: An Oregon GuidebookEnergy Trust of Oregon in Collaboration with NW SEED
This guidebook provides a conceptual framework for understanding many of the complex issues associated with developing a community wind project. Topics covered include: Project Design and Management, Resource Assessment and Siting, Permitting, Financing and Development Models and much more.

Native American Resources & ToolsUS DOE EERE Wind Powering America Program
This page lists resources and tools specifically for Native Americans. Read personal interviews with Native Americans who have experience installing wind power on Native American lands, find wind resource maps that have Indian Reservation boundaries, and watch a video about installing wind power on Native American lands.

Wind Energy ToolkitNew York State Research and Energy Development Authority (NYSERDA)
This toolkit covers many details about the wind industry, wind development, and wind energy’s impact on communities that host projects including information on wind energy and property values, payments in lieu of taxes, assessing project environmental impacts and much more.

The Community Wind Financing HandbookEnvironmental Law and Policy Center
This publication explains many of the financing options available to community wind projects to help these projects utilize tax credits for wind energy.
 
 

Presentations, Webinars & Conferences

Community Wind Energy Conference ProceedingsWindustry
Every two years Windustry holds a national community wind energy conference where seasoned professionals in wind energy development hold workshops. Access presentations, audio recordings, and transcripts from these conferences here.

Web Seminar on Community WindMidwest Ag Energy Network
This webinar was an introduction to important community wind issues, presented by a handful of leading experts in the field. It drew over 120 participants from 16 states, across a wide spectrum including nonprofit, business & industry, economic development, county & city officials, legislative staff, finance, education, planning & zoning, electric utility representatives, as well as a number of interested community members.

Community vs. Corporate Wind: Does it Matter Who Develops the Wind in Big Stone County, MN?Arne Kildegaard, Ph.D. and Josephine Myers-Kuykindall, UMN Morris
Also see the accompanying report.
 
 

Transmission/Interconnection

Minnesota Dispersed Generation Study
Learn about alternative wind/transmission system integration schemes that Minnesota is exploring to help meet the Renewable Energy Standard.

Minnesota State Wide Study of Dispersed Generation Potential
By Matt Schuerger, Energy Systems Consulting, LLC, and Brian Antonich, Antonich Wind Energy Consulting
In 2007 the Minnesota Legislature adopted a requirement for a Statewide Study of Dispersed Generation Potential. The Minnesota Department of Commerce, community based energy developers, and advocates believe the results of the study can be used to help guide the development of locally-owned renewable energy projects which have the potential for significant economic benefit in rural Minnesota. Read this publication to learn more about how smaller dispersed wind projects can be incorporated into transmission systems that are approaching capacity.

Distributed Generation Interconnection StandardsNew Rules Project
Learn about interconnection standards for distributed generation (generally wind or other electrical generation technologies sized 20 MW or less that are interconnected to the electrical distribution system).

Midwest Independent System Operator
When interconnecting any wind project in most of the Midwest projects must be studied by the Midwest Independent System Operator. Visit this website to find important information about the interconnection process for wind systems, schedules for technical studies and important news about rule changes.

Utility Wind Integration Group (UWIG)
The Utility Wind Integration Group (UWIG) mission is to accelerate the development and application of good engineering and operational practices supporting the appropriate integration of wind power into the electric system through the coordinated efforts of wind industry stakeholders, including federal agencies, trade associations, and industry research organizations. Learn about wind integration studies from around the country as well as new tools that have been developed by utility engineers for utility engineers to aid in the interconnection of wind projects.

Rural Wind Energy Development Revolving Loan FundMinnesota Office of Energy Security
The purpose of the Rural Wind Energy Development Revolving Loan program is to provide financial assistance to owners of eligible community-based wind energy projects for wind studies and transmission interconnection studies. Loan proceeds must be used to fund wind studies and transmission interconnection studies only.
 
 

Wind Resource Assessment and Cash Flow Modeling

Community Wind Project CalculatorAlice Orrell, Alice Orrell Consulting, and Brian Antonich, Windustry
A wind project calculator that allows the user to calculate up to 20 year cash flows for wind projects utilizing different ownership models, tax incentives, and grants. This calculator requires background in wind energy finance, tax and other legal issues surrounding wind energy. When planning a project it is advisable to enlist the help of someone who has experience with these issues.

Wind Energy FinanceUS DOE, NREL
This is application is an on-line levelized cost of energy calculator for wind energy projects. You will need to set up a username and password, but there is no charge for using the software.

Excel Wind Analysis and Wind Turbine Power CurvesUS DOE, Idaho National Laboratory
This Excel based wind analysis platform allows the user to pair wind data with wind turbine power curves to produce production estimates for wind projects. It is advisable to enlist the aid of a meteorologist for data validation and interpretation purposes.

Public Wind Resource Data and Supporting Resources

Rural Wind Energy Development Revolving Loan FundMinnesota Office of Energy Security
The purpose of the Rural Wind Energy Development Revolving Loan program is to provide financial assistance to owners of eligible community-based wind energy projects for wind studies and transmission interconnection studies. Loan proceeds must be used to fund wind studies and transmission interconnection studies only.

West Central Minnesota Wind Resource MapsCERTs, USDA-ARS, UMM WCROC
Big Stone County, Chippewa County, Douglas County, Grant County, Kandiyohi County, Lac Qui Parle County, McLeod County, Meeker County, Nicollet County, Pope County, Renville County, Sibley County, Stearns County, Stevens County, Swift County, Yellow Medicine County
 
 

Incentives

Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE)
A one stop shop for existing policies that are designed to spur renewable energy and energy efficiency development on both the state and national level. This site is where to go to find incentives and policies in your state. It is regularly updated by experts in renewable energy policy and provides descriptions of how each policy is being implemented in an easy to read format with links to higher level information.

Community Wind: A Review of Select State and Federal PolicyFarmers Legal Action Group (FLAG)
This is a guide to existing state and federal policy incentives that specifically seek to promote the local benefits of wind energy developments. The report covers laws from Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, and the federal government that impact where and to whom the benefits of new wind energy developments flow.

U.S. Department of AgricultureRural Development: Businesses and Cooperatives Programs
This branch of the U.S.D.A. administers the Farm Bill Section 9006: Renewable Energy and Efficiency Program. Visit this website to sign up for notices of funds available for renewable energy projects and for contact information for your closest Rural Development office. The Rural Development staff is there to help guide you through the grant writing process.

Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs)Environmental Law and Policy Center
Find updates on the very popular low cost financing program publicly owned renewable energy projects, including, a description of the program, deadlines for applications, IRS notices and rulings, and prospects for extension of the programs.

Native American Anemometer Loan ProgramNREL & WAPA
The Native American Anemometer Loan Program is part of an effort to promote the installation of wind turbines on Native American lands. NREL’s program allows Native American tribes to borrow anemometers and the equipment needed for installation so that they may measure the wind resource on tribal lands.
 
 

Companies & Consultants

Clean Energy Project Builder
The Clean Energy Project Builder connects you with the clean energy industry by helping you find companies that can work with you to plan, implement, and manage clean energy projects. The Clean Energy Project Builder directory allows you to browse companies; to search by specific technologies like wind and solar or services like engineering, operations & maintenance, or legal services; to find companies near you using geographic search; and to find companies through a range of other details like service area, company age, or completed project capacity. Once you have found companies that you want to follow up with you can create a portfolio that allows you to tag them, organize them, and export your lists to a PDF. Compiling a list of qualified companies for your request for proposals just got a whole lot easier! It is also easy and free to add your company to the Clean Energy Project Builder directory.

Hiring a Renewable Energy InstallerMinnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources
This document lists a number of questions that you should ask a renewable energy installer before you hire them—a very handy resource to ensure that you’re vetting potential companies appropriately.

American Wind Energy Association Member DatabaseAmerican Wind Energy Association
Search the directory of over 1000 companies and consultants that are members of the American Wind Energy Association. Find companies involved in every aspect of wind energy development, large and small, from predevelopment planning to operations and maintenance firms.
 
 

Legal Issues

Wind Energy Leases and EasementsWindustry
This is the best resource for gaining a better understanding of wind energy leases and easements if you are a land owner who has been approached by a wind developer or if you are a developer approaching landowners to participate in wind projects. These documents are not meant to be a substitute for legal advice, but rather to give you the vocabulary and background you and your legal council need to negotiate a fair deal with wind developers or landowners.

Farmers’ Guide to Wind Energy: Legal Issues in Farming the WindFarmers’ Legal Action Group
This book serves as a guide to the many legal issues faced by farmers and rural landowners who seek to develop wind energy projects. Legal issues covered in this guide include negotiating wind property agreements, siting a wind farm, liability risks associated with developing and operating wind turbines, project financing, choice of business structure, government incentives for wind development, and the tax consequences of these efforts.
 
 

Siting/Permiting

Wind Turbine Facility Siting & PermitingMinnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC)
The MN Public Utilities Commission has responsibility for the site and route permitting of certain energy facilities, including wind turbine siting of wind energy conversion systems generating more than 5 megawatts.

Wind Energy Siting HandbookAmerican Wind Energy Association
This is a technical document that provides a regulatory framework for siting ordinances as well as technical information on the types of impacts projects can have, studies a developer can commission to understand impacts, and methods to mitigate them.

Community Wind Toolbox Chapter 6: Permitting BasicsWindustry
Communities around the country are working to find the best ways to permit and tax wind generation facilities. Their decisions are vital to windy areas because they determine the impacts and benefits of wind energy projects for the broader community. Some states, like Minnesota, have developed statewide policies but still involve local agencies in the process, while most states leave it to the counties or other local permitting agencies to create regulations and issue permits. Read this publication to gain a greater understanding of how the permitting process works.

Minnesota Model Wind OrdinanceThe Minnesota Project, Southwest Regional Development Commission, Minnesota Association of County Planning and Zoning Administrators; partially funded by CERTs
This model ordinance is based on real experience and real industry needs, focused on county government institutions and organizations. It was created to revise and update ordinances developed in the mid to late 1990s, and to allow members of the Clean Energy Resource Teams to learn more about wind zoning to ensure the development of reasonable standards in their counties. Also see the Companion to the Model Ordinance.

Wind Energy Guide for County CommissionersUS DOE, NREL, Wind Powering America, and the National Association of Counties
This is a quick reference guide to help local officials find the best information about the wind energy development process and how they responsibly promote its development in their communities.

National Wind Coordinating Collaborative (NWCC)
The National Wind Coordinating Collaborative is a consensus based collaborative comprised of electric utilities, wind industry representatives, wind energy advocates, wildlife experts, and other experts and professionals who are dedicated to developing and disseminating best practices for responsible wind energy development around the United States. This is the BEST resources for finding out the most up-to-date information on the technical, environmental, economic, and community impacts of wind energy. These resources are great for educating local officials and community members about the real impacts of wind energy on surrounding communities.
 
 

Non-CERTs Case Studies