With the recent fluctuations in energy prices and rising concerns regarding global warming, there is increased interest in non-fossil fuel energy sources. Wind energy is an option that is being strongly promoted in Michigan because it is an underutilized resource. Other states with lesser wind resources have substantially more wind energy capacity.
This presentation describes an educational program that was developed to make the agricultural community aware of the potential of wind energy and the possible options available to them. The educational program, funded by grants from the State Energy Office, addressed both utility scale systems and small-wind systems. The utility scale program explored what factors are necessary for a successful project, options for implementing a utility scale project (e.g., wind developer vs. a community wind project), important legal aspects of a wind power lease, and siting issues including zoning provisions.
The small-wind program focused on our anemometer loan program, how the data collected as part of that project can be used to evaluate investments in turbines, net-metering provisions, and small-wind alternatives.
For both the utility scale and small wind programs, an investment model was developed to illustrate the economics of these systems. The model takes into consideration special grant programs and tax credit for renewable energy projects. Case analyses that were run with this model will be part of the presentation.