Community-based wind energy development laws are modified under a new law aimed at reducing ambiguity in the 2008 statute.
The goal is to create local green energy jobs and self-reliance to meet a community’s energy needs, but too often the capital needed to construct a C-BED project isn’t available locally.
Recognizing that a developer may have to include partners outside the “community-based” service area, the Office of Energy Security has a requirement that 51 percent of those who benefit from a C-BED project must come from the service area or be Minnesota-based companies. Effective May 18, 2010, the new law clarifies who those “beneficiaries” can be in order to meet the 51 percent threshold. Examples include landowners where the turbines will be located, Minnesota manufacturers and construction workers who build the project, and banks that may finance the wind energy development.
Also, the new law requires a developer to demonstrate to the Office of Energy Security how the 51 percent threshold is met prior to construction on a C-BED project.
Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing) and Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) said the modifications don’t go far enough. In Goodhue County, two large wind projects are underway involving thousands of acres and hundreds of landowners who agreed to lease land for wind turbines. The project is being financed through a Texas-based company, according to Drazkowski.
Any current project moving through the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator network or that has a letter from OES that they are going to qualify for C-BED status would be grandfathered in.
“As we move forward with C-BED there are probably going to have to be further discussions in the next session to look at the C-BED statute, but I believe the changes we are making are good changes,” said Rep. Andy Welti (DFL-Plainview), who sponsors the law with Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon (DFL-Duluth).
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