A recent National Renewable Energy Laboratory study reports great news on wind energy. Significantly more wind power potential was found in nearly every state thanks to advancing technology which makes taller turbines to catch the wind possible. Wind energy potential increased in nearly every state making 2/3 of states now able to produce 100% of their electricity with wind. See the Director of the Energy Self-Reliant States and Communities program at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, John Farrell's article and slides showing the increase in wind energy potential since 1991.
The Wind Energy Foundation’s “Powering Up Minnesota: A Report on The Benefits of Renewable Electricity Development” suggests Minnesota could supply more than 50 percent of its power needs through renewable energy by 2030 while creating more jobs and meeting federal carbon targets. Wind project costs have dropped 50 percent in the last five years, while solar prices decreased 40 percent since 2010, However, the Wind Energy Foundation's report vastly underestimates solar’s potential contribution.
Because wind turbines are economical for relatively small project sizes, it is feasible for small groups of investors to own a turbine project. Local ownership increases the projects contribution to the local economy and the number of local jobs.
John Farrell, Energy Self Reliant States Blog
In "Energy Self Reliant States," David Morris and John Farrell write that the benefits of our energy resources can be of much greater benefits to states if they are locally owned.
. . . states have been the driving force behind renewable energy developments, largely because they correctly view these as economic development initiatives. In the next 20 years, the United States may invest up to $1 trillion in new renewable energy projects. All states can and should benefit from this investment. There’s a lot at stake, as characterized by Minnesota community wind developer Dan Juhl:
I live out on the Buffalo Ridge...I look out my window and I see hundreds of wind turbines. When I look at those turbines I'm happy and I'm sad... Most of those turbines are owned by our friends, the foreign multinationals. Out of two counties in Minnesota we export about 80 million dollars a year to France, Florida, Italy, Portugal, Spain. All of our energy future is going out the door when we could be turning that into something real for us.
Locally Owned (Low) 1.5x
LoLocally Owned (High) 3.4x
Total Economic Impact