Tuesday, October 12, 2004

A wind-win scenario? ... Cooperative, small-scale wind farms in Minnesota

The Times-News in Twin Falls Idaho, has this interesting article on a recent tour of farmer owned wind-farms in Minnesota.

The article highlights an inventive financing mechanism in which small local farmers form a cooperative with power companies to install turbines on farms. The structure of these cooperatives allow the power companies to recover the tax benefits associated with new wind farms, while at the same time creating a stable, long-term revenue stream for farmers. "In one example, the farmers invest $150,000 and the power company $450,000 to construct a turbine. After 10 years the power company will realize a return of $1 million on its initial investment and for the next 10 years the farmers earn about $125,000 per year."

According to the article, the
coperatives have been so successful that transmission lines in the region are at maximum capacity and new lines are in the works.

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