Windustry’s goal has always been to look at what we can do to make distributed wind energy projects easier to develop.* With this report, Windustry set out to explore the business models and financing mechanisms that get wind energy projects built in the United States. We will be presenting alternative financing models that either eliminate or reduce the reliance on the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC). The PTC is an incentive that has been critical for the large scale wind industry, but continues to be very difficult for people to use for small and distributed energy projects.
Also included in this report are ten case studies of distributed wind projects across the country. These case studies show how different business models, either on their own or in combination with the PTC, work in practice. Windustry worked with the six-member Community Wind Steering Committee of the American Wind Energy Association to identify and select community wind projects representing diverse business models and geographic areas to serve as examples of project financing. Windustry interviewed the developers and community owners, drafted the case studies with the project owners, and had the case studies peer reviewed.
Windustry also had many conversations with wind industry professionals about their finance methodologies and invited them to provide highlights on panels at conferences.
Part of the team putting this report together was the Advisory Panel on Community Wind and Renewable Energy Finance. All the Advisory Panel members have a firm footing in law or finance and many have extensive experience in the renewable energy industry. The members included:
- Cynthia Calderon, Financial Planning and Consulting; San Francisco, CA
- Chris Diaz, Seminole Financial Services; Belleair, FL
- James Duffy, Nixon Peabody, LLP; Boston, MA
- Edwin T.C. Ing, Tax Attorney; Washington DC
- Tony Grappone, Novogradac & Company; Boston, MA
* By distributed wind, we mean anything that is 20 MW or less and most often gets connected to the local distribution electric grid or on the customer’s side of the meter.