Browse Items (142 total)

Mechanism that allows the system to be paid off over time with installments added to property taxes.

A federal tax credit program aimed at encouraging investment in low-income neighborhoods.

Credit that covers 30% of installation costs

A business model, similar to a flip model, where there are two partnerships instead of one.

A financing option where a large number of people fund a development, each receiving a proportional return on investment.

The concept of distributed wind generation has been around since the 1970's and is just now gaining acceptance in the utility sector. Traditionally most forms of generation have been located at some distance from load centers. Energy from these generation plants had to be transmitted to large load centers like Minneapolis and Chicago via high…

These permitting regulations refer to the minimum distance the tips of the blade must be above the ground or other nearby obstacles. This ensures both safety for structures and beings near operating turbines, as well as promoting the most efficient use of the wind resource.

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Net metering is a way for you to connect your small wind turbine behind the meter at your home, business or farm. This system is designed to allow energy generated at your home farm or business to offset some or all of the electricity you use. If your generator is producing more electricity than you can consume the excess is sold back to the…

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Permitting requirements for safety equipment generally refer to the presence of braking systems in the event that the rotor spins too fast in high wind or to help prevent a catastrophic failure. Most modern turbines today include, in the technology design, both automatic and manual braking options to slow or stop the rotor altogether.

Similar to other land uses, a county may choose to identify which zones or regions within the county that wind energy conversion systems are allowed. Generally commercial-scale wind turbines need to be sited in locations that provide access to a good quality wind resource, which are typically found in open areas away from buildings or other…

A term and calculation used to describe how wind speed increases with height above the surface of the earth. The degree of wind shear is a factor of the complexity of the terrain as well as the actual heights measured. Wind shear increases as friction between the wind and the ground becomes greater. Wind shear is not a measure of the wind speed at…

A wind rose shows the direction and the frequency of that direction that the wind blows at a particular location. Wind roses are used in wind projects to portray the amount of energy that comes into the wind project from various directions.

A way of quantifying on a scale the strength of the wind at a project site. The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory defines the wind class at a site on a scale from 1 to 7 (1 being low and 7 being high) based on average wind speed and power density to offer guidance to potential developers as to where wind projects might…

Transmitting bulk electricity from a generating plant to a distribution system across a third party's lines.

A unit of electrical power: 1/1000 kW

The space behind a wind turbine that is marked by decreased wind power capacity due to the fact that the turbine itself used the energy in turning the blades. The wind behind the turbine, in its wake, is less effective at generating energy for a certain distance in the downwind direction due to turbulence created by the upwind machine. Thus, when…

The process of separating a service into component parts (generation, transmission, distribution, ancillary services, etc) to allow customers to choose where to buy each service separately. Utility unbundling, overseen by regulators, generally requires utilities to ensure that the price of each service accurately reflects the cost of that service…

A device for converting the flow of a fluid (air, steam, water, or hot gases) into mechanical motion that can be utilized to produce electricity.

The transfer of electric current from a power plant to a destination that could be hundreds of miles away.

Electrical power lines that carry electric energy from one point to another in an electric power system, using three power lines, to transmit three different electrical signals. The phases, or electrical signals, required for most large rotating machines which are used in many manufacturing processes and for many commercial/large wind turbines. The…

The term or life of a contract, similar to maturity.

A standardized set of terms for generation, purchase, transmission and/or delivery of electricity on a utility’s system, a state, region, or country. The term is commonly used in electric utility rate making in North America. The term is also commonly used in Europe. In this context tariffs are not taxes or customs duties on goods crossing…

A required fee (also known as a public benefits charge) from all electricity customers to fund programs that are in the public interest that may or may not be competitive in a deregulated electricity market. These programs include energy conservation, support for renewable energy use, subsidies for people with low-income, and research, development…

Permitting regulations in this category address the internal spacing between wind turbines in a given project. There may be a variety of reasons for this type of regulation including ensuring one turbine will not damage another if it malfunctions, or to mitigate impacts on migratory birds and bats. Many developers will already include such internal…

SMMPA is a company that generates and sells wholesale electricity, primarily for its eighteen member municipally-owned utilities. The member municipally-owned utilities are located mostly in Southeastern and South-central Minnesota. SMMPA website: www.smmpa.com

Sound level measured at a receptor (e.g., a neighbor’s house, a microphone). Sound pressure decreases proportionately to the square of the distance from the source and can be affected by prevailing wind direction, topography, temperature, barometric pressure, and other factors. Sound pressure, like sound power, is given in A-weighted measurements…

Strength of a sound source, measured in A-weighted decibels (LWA). Typical sound power values for wind turbines (which can be obtained from the turbine manufacturer) are in the range of 90-105 dB(A), LWA. (The measurement is A-weighted to account for the sensitivity of human hearing.)

Some counties require signs for safety reasons in their permitting regulations, while some also regulate what type of non-safety related signs are allowed. Many ordinances require wind projects to comply with the National Electric Code which already requires high-voltage warnings if necessary, and posting of emergency contact information.

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As wind energy technology and project siting practices have advanced, the interference with radio, television, cellular, and other broadcast services has been minimized. However local ordinances may require a study of potential impacts to broadcasting services prior to receiving a permit or a listing of such broadcast towers within a certain…

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Shadow flicker occurs when the blades of the turbine rotor cast shadows that move across the ground and nearby structures.

Setbacks refer to permitting regulations for the distance from homes and property lines. A county may impose setbacks for a variety of reasons and the requirements may vary depending on the specific land uses. Many setbacks are established generally to protect the available wind resource to encourage wind development while also addressing concerns…

A term used in siting and permitting for the construction of structures that refers to the distance from the base of the structure to existing easements, roads, buildings, bodies of water, or other geographic or man-made structures or property lines.

An agency of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture that makes loans to states and territories in the U.S. for rural electrification and for providing electricity to persons in rural areas who do not receive central station service. It also furnishes and improves electric and telephone service in rural areas, fosters energy conservation,on-grid and off-grid…

The process of changing the structure of the electric power industry from one of regulated monopoly over electrical customers to one of open competition between power producers for customers.

A minimum renewable energy requirement for a region's electricity mix. Under an RES, electricity suppliers are required to provide some percentage of its supply from renewable energy sources. RPS proposals frequently ease that requirement by including a tradable credit system under which electricity suppliers can meet the requirement by buying and…

A federal production payment of 1.5¢ per kWh that is made available to new qualifying renewable energy generation facilities. However, since the REPI involves spending of federal funds, money must be appropriated annually by Congress. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 reauthorized appropriations for fiscal years 2006 through 2026 and has expanded the…

The “green” or renewable attribute of electricity that is generated utilizing a renewable energy resource. A wind turbine that produces 1 MWh of electricity has produced 1 REC which, in some electricity markets, can be sold separately from the electrical power.

This is the production of reactive power to maintain stability on the transmission system. Power on the system comes in two main types: the first is the power that is actually delivered to end users, and the second is reactive power, which is power provided to the system to maintain the system, rather than for end-use consumption.

A federal law passed in 1978 that requires electric utilities to purchase electricity produced from certain efficient power producers (frequently using renewable or natural gas resources). Utilities purchase power at a rate equal to the costs they avoid by not needing to generate the power themselves. State regulatory agencies establish the rate…

A state government agency responsible for the regulation of public utilities within a state or region. A state legislature oversees the PUC by reviewing changes to utility laws, rules, and regulations and approving the PUC's budget. The commission is usually made up of Commissioners appointed by the governor or legislature for a specific term which…

A per kWh tax credit for energy produced by a wind turbine and sold to an unrelated third party. Provides the owner of a qualifying facility with an annual tax credit based on the amount of electricity that is generated. By focusing on the energy produced instead of capital invested, this type of tax incentive encourages projects that perform…

In proportion to, as determined by a specific factor. Example: tax credits are allocated to project owners in direct proportion to the percentage of the project they own.

Comprehensive financial analysis of a business or project.

A contract between a seller of electricity and purchaser for a set period of time to buy the electricity generated by a power plant.

The instantaneous power output of a specific turbine design at various wind speeds. Used with wind resource data to determine the potential for electricity generation at a project site.

A map showing politically defined sections and townships that shows who holds the deed to the parcels of land contained within.

Most, if not all, county permits for wind energy conversion systems are conditional use permits. Often the permitting authority will establish threshold requirements, as seen with the ordinances in the County Wind Ordinance Survey.

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The amount of electric power required by a consumer or a system during peak demand; measured in kilowatts or megawatts.

The greatest demand placed on an electric system; measured in kilowatts or megawatts; also, the time of day or season of the year when that demand occurs.

Negotiated payments between the local taxing authority and a wind project. These payments compensate for excessive use of infrastructure in the area while developing the project and allow the local community to benefit from wind energy development. Property taxes and PILOTs contribute a great deal to the tax revenue of many windy rural areas and…