What is Community Supported Wind

By Harold Gomez,2014-04-18 05:56
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There are many ways to support renewable energy in your community including: putting up your own renewable energy system, buying renewable energy credits

     360-306-5331 ?

    1155 N State Street, Suite 426 ? Bellingham, WA 98225 What is Community-Supported Wind?

    There are many ways to support renewable energy in your community including: putting up your

    own renewable energy system, buying renewable energy credits from the utility, supporting local public

    renewable projects, and joining with others to create a larger project. Community renewable energy

    projects are large enough to support multiple households and are structured to include and benefit the

    local community. Presented here is a new way to propel community renewable energy projects forward

    that is economical, efficient, accessible and effective.

    Cascade Community Wind Company is using a model called “community-supported wind” where a project pre-sells the power (as a percentage of total project output) along with the renewable energy

    credits (also called “green tags”) from the turbine for the next 20 years. Puget Sound Energy does not

    currently allow direct allocation of the electricity to each subscriber’s account (net metering).

    We use “virtual net metering” (VNM) where PSE pays a project for the power it produces (the “big”

    check) and a percentage of each payment (the” little” check) is then paid by the project to the subscriber’s

    utility account - regardless of which utility the subscriber is connected to. The appropriate percentage of

    renewable energy credits generated by the turbine is also retired on the behalf of the subscriber (making

    the subscriber the end-user of the renewable energy).

    Cascade Community Wind Company is planning a number of wind energy projects within this region

    that will generate renewable energy for thousands of homes and help the local economy. Buying Virtual

    Net Metering Subscriptions to these projects is a great way to make sure they happen.

    For more information, to get involved, or to purchase a subscription, go to:

    Call: 360-306-5331

    or email:

    “…community wind has 5 times the economic impact on local value added, and 3.4 times the impact on local job creation, relative to a corporate-owned development.”


    COUNTY, MN?” By Arne Kildegaard, Ph.D., and Josephine Myers-Kuykindall, both of University of Minnesota, Morris.

     “We don't think of alternative power as something that we just import from other parts of the nation.“

    - Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City

Cascade Community Wind Company, LLC

    What is Community-Supported Wind? and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - June 2009

    Page 1 of 4

Community-Supported Wind FAQ

    Cascade Community Wind Company (CCWC) is developing wind energy projects with the local community that rely on community support. Here are some answers to common questions.

    Why is Community Wind any Better than Corporately Developed Wind?

    Both have their place. Community wind has the advantage of being developed with direction from the community and the power also stays within the community. Community-scale developments can

    often happen much more quickly than large projects. The most convincing argument for community wind

    is that more money stays in the community. A University of Minnesota study concluded that “…

    community wind has 5 times the economic impact on local value added, and 3.4 times the impact on local

    job creation, relative to a corporate-owned development.”

    CCWC wants the subscription money now, but the project isn’t going to be built for months. Why?

    CCWC puts the money for your subscription directly into a certificate of deposit (CD) where it earns a small amount of interest until CCWC is ready to begin construction. In order to release the money,

    CCWC needs to get authorization from the designated community trustee who is under legal contract to

    make sure CCWC is ready to construct the project. In this way, CCWC can gather subscriptions in the

    time preceding construction and have it all ready when it is time to begin. At the same time subscribers

    know the money is not being risked in the early stages of development.

    What happens if the project doesn’t make it to construction?

    If for some reason a project for which you have bought a subscription does not make it to construction, your money will be returned, plus interest earned from the CD, or you may apply that

    subscription to another project that is going forward.

    Is electricity from the turbine going directly to my house?

    Community turbines are connected directly to the local distribution grid, so all the electricity is used locally and the amount of electricity imported from outside the area is reduced. On the other hand, there is no way to tell which electrons end up at which house. You are getting the renewable energy credits

    retired on your behalf, which is the main way to keep track of who is getting the renewable energy in a

    utility grid.

    So how does community-supported wind reduce my power bill then?

    PSE periodically pays the turbine project for the power it produces. For each one percent subscription, one percent of that payment will be credited to your utility account. The price PSE is paying the project for electricity will increase by 50% over the first 10 years. If the turbine produces about the same amount of power each year, the savings on your power bill would increase accordingly. Hopefully

    this more than offsets any future rate increases, giving a degree of price protection on your utility bill. What if I move?

    No problem. Your subscription moves with you. Just let us know the new account to credit. Cascade Community Wind Company, LLC

    What is Community-Supported Wind? and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) V4 June 2009

    CSW FAQ.doc

    Page 2 of 4

Can I buy more subscriptions than would cover my electric bill?

    No. This program is designed to simulate having a smaller wind turbine or solar array on your own

    house. This is not an investment and can only be taken advantage of as savings on your power bill. But

    feel free to assign extra subscriptions to your mother’s power bill.

    But can I buy more than one subscription?

    Certainly. For some turbines, one subscription won’t cover even an efficient home. We encourage you to buy subscriptions that cover a bit less than your total power bill and then please try and conserve enough energy to cover the rest. Energy efficiency provides all the benefits that renewable energy

    provides, but with greater economy and elegance.

    What if I end up using less energy that the subscription covers?

    Good for you! In that case, you will slowly build up a credit on your utility account. Once you know

    how much of your subscription you no longer need (remember that the projects will likely be producing

    most of their power in the summer), you can get a prorated refund on a portion of that subscription.

    Does community wind mean that the lights will stay on when the grid goes down?

    Unfortunately, it does not. Utility-scale wind turbines rely on the grid to stay running and when the

    grid goes down, they shut down. However, local production diversifies the utility’s energy source and

    may make grid failure less likely. If being energy self-sufficient is a long-term goal, community wind

    turbines can be integrated into such a system in the future.

    Can I tie a subscription to a specific home?

    Yes. Some builders have requested a way to help add green power to the homes they build. In

    addition to good insulation, sun exposure, and other efficiency features, buying subscriptions tied to that

    building is a great way to accomplish that. The price of a subscription will be significantly less than the

    cost of putting solar panels on the house that produce an equivalent amount of energy.

    What if I want a subscription, but can’t afford the up-front cost? / How can I help those in the community who want a subscription, but can’t afford it?

    CCWC’s website will have a lending tool which allows one community member to make a “person-

    to-person loan” to someone who wants a subscription, but does not have the cash up front. In this way,

    one person in the community gets to participate and another gets a modest interest rate on a loan secured

    by the subscription. The terms of the loan are the responsibility of the two parties, but CCWC suggests a

    term of less than 5 years and an interest rate between 4 and 7 percent. CCWC’s website tool (third party-

    operated) will service and keep track of these loans.

    What about birds?

    Wind turbines have a bad rap when it comes to birds. The truth is modern wind turbines on the whole

    have a very light impact on birds, thousands of times less impact than cars, cats, picture windows,

    transmission lines, and pesticides. Even if wind became our major source of energy, the impact of wind

    turbines on birds would not damage bird populations. That said, there are a very few corporate wind farms that do have significant avian impacts. One benefit of the community approach to wind

    development is that any unusual impact on birds will be noticed before there are enough turbines in an

    area to have a serious effect. Studies of Northwest wind farms show that in this area 2.2 common

    songbirds 0.68 bats, and 0.07 raptors are killed on average per megawatt per year. One car continuously

    Cascade Community Wind Company, LLC

    What is Community-Supported Wind? and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) V4 June 2009

    CSW FAQ.doc

    Page 3 of 4

on the road has more of an impact on birds than a 1-megawatt wind turbine powering 600 energy-efficient


    What are renewable energy credits (RECs) or “green tags”?

    This link is a great description of renewable energy credits:

    Renewable energy credits are the way the “renewableness” of the energy is tracked. Since there is no

    way to distinguish green electrons from brown ones, renewable energy projects are assigned a unique

    “renewable energy credit” (REC) for every megawatt-hour of energy they produce. Those RECs can be included as a part of a project’s power sales contract or sold to someone else. When a REC is retired the

    renewable power has been used, even if the REC accounting and the electrons took very different paths.

    In most green power programs you are actually retiring RECs not buying them otherwise you would just

    be a renewable energy middleman and not its consumer. Most RECs end up being used to satisfy a

    utility’s green power requirements, some are used by residences that “check the box” and pay extra to

    have renewable power, and some are sold to events that want to advertise as being renewably powered.

    RECs in some sense are the bragging rights associated with renewable energy. All the soft benefits of

    renewable energy, beyond the electricity itself, are wrapped up in the REC, including carbon offsets,

    pollution reduction, self-sufficiency, national security, etc. RECs associated with a community project

    have the additional attributes of stimulating the local economy, supporting distributed generation, and

    strengthening community pride.

    REC’s from a CCWC project are especially valuable in that you know exactly where they are coming from and that all of the purchase price went to supporting that project. CCWC also ensures that RECs

    from its projects have what is called “additionality”. Additionality means that buying those RECs went directly to funding new renewable generation. Many REC’s that are bundled in utility green power

    programs come from existing projects that would have been built anyway; so what good did paying that

    extra money do? Also the money spent on utility program RECs often goes primarily to funding the

    bureaucracy of running the utility REC program and only a fraction ends up with the generator. For

    instance PSE recently decreased the price of their RECs to $12.50 per megawatt hour, still slightly more

    than half of that does not end up with the renewable generator. This is an improvement from the $40 per

    thmegawatt hour they used to charge and only 1/7 of that ended up with the renewable energy projects (that most likely would have been built anyway). So when you join a utility green power program you are

    mostly paying for them to have a green power program and not so much paying for the green power itself.

    There are three ways to get CCWC RECs

    1. A Virtual Net Metering subscription includes the REC’s that are being renewably powered

    with a Virtual Net Metering subscription

    2. You can also get a REC subscription from CCWC for ? the price of a VNM subscription.

    You don’t save money on your power bill but will get quarterly updates on how much green

    energy was produced from your subscription. This is a great solution for those who don’t pay

    their own power bill, or who want to offset a non electrical energy use such as heating or

    driving, or are on a budget and want just the non-power attributes from the renewable energy

    generated by the community wind turbine.

    3. Any RECs not subscribed to before turbine completion will be sold in bundles for $40 per

    megawatt hour as they are produced. Great for greening events. All proceeds will be used by

    the turbine owners to make loans to help start new projects.

    You can see in all three instances your REC purchase goes 100 percent to creating a new renewable

    energy generator that would not exist without your purchases. By offsetting Puget Sound Energy’s

    average generation mix each kWh generated by a CCWC project offsets 1 pound of carbon, or the

    equivalent of 1 mile of driving a 20 mpg car.

    Cascade Community Wind Company, LLC

    What is Community-Supported Wind? and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) V4 June 2009

    CSW FAQ.doc

    Page 4 of 4

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