Turbine Technology Increases Wind Potential throughout U.S. PDF Print E-mail


wind turbines germanyA 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.





Bright Future for Renewable Energy in MN PDF Print E-mail


wind turbine field


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.  The report includes only the current 81 megawatts of solar energy in Minnesota.  Dustin Denison, president of Minnesota Solar Electricity Industry Association notes that the state’s new requirement that investor owned utilities produce 1.5 percent of their retail electricity sales from solar by 2020 will add a minimum of 450 MW by 2020.






2 MN Counties Send $80 Million for Wind to other Countries and States PDF Print E-mail

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.

As the data in "Energy Self Reliant States" suggests, states would do well to look inward for their energy security. This strategy can yield profound economic and social benefits. Expanding wind power to 20% of generation in several Plains states will create nearly 158,000 jobs, with 20,000 jobs beyond the construction phase of the wind farms. Local economic benefits will total over $1.6 billion a year during the wind farms operations (“Renewable Energy and Economic Potential in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota,” Center for Rural Affairs, August 2009). And widely dispersed energy production can be the basis for a resilient energy system.

Through encouraging Minnesotans to invest in wind turbines by allowing them tax breaks equivalent to those given to large corporations that own wind turbines, more of the revenues from the electricity produced would remain in Minnesota and contribute to Minnesota's local economies.

Wind Turbines 5 to 20 Megawatts have the lowest cost per Kilowatt PDF Print E-mail

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.

wind projects 5-20 mw have lowest cost per kw
John Farrell, Energy Self Reliant States Blog

In Germany, Community Owned Wind Turbines Contribute More to Local Economy PDF Print E-mail

Locally owned renewable energy can bring big economic benefits to local communities.  Half of Germany's, 43,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy are owned by regular farmers or citizens. John Farrell, Senior Policy Analyst at the Institute for Local Self Reliance,  reports that community ownership payments contribute 150 to 340 percent to local revenue in comparison to land lease payments by absentee corporate turbine owners.  The additional funds spread to the entire community rather than just the turbine hosts.

Local Ownership Boosts Economic Impact of Renewables

Absentee Ownership

    Locally Owned (Low)   

LoLocally Owned (High)    3.4x

Total Economic Impact

John Farrell points out that it is important to get local communities involved in both the planning and the ownership of renewable energy projects.  See Ownership (and Money) a Cure for "Not In My Back Yard:"
<< Start < Prev 1 2 Next > End >>

Page 1 of 2


MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


steve simon


Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at

facebook logo

How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

Think Again MN, Powered by Joomla!