Community wind power ownership schemes in Europe and their relevance to the United States

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With varying success, the United States and Europe have followed a more or less parallel path of policies to support wind development over the past twenty years. Feed-in laws and tax incentives first popularized in California in the early 1980s and greatly expanded upon in Europe during the 1990s are gradually giving way to market-based support mechanisms such as renewable portfolio standards, which are being implemented in one form or another in ten US states and at least three European nations. At the same time, electricity markets are being liberalized in both the US and Europe, and many electricity consumers ... continued below

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73 pages; OS: Windows XP

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Bolinger, Mark May 15, 2001.

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Description

With varying success, the United States and Europe have followed a more or less parallel path of policies to support wind development over the past twenty years. Feed-in laws and tax incentives first popularized in California in the early 1980s and greatly expanded upon in Europe during the 1990s are gradually giving way to market-based support mechanisms such as renewable portfolio standards, which are being implemented in one form or another in ten US states and at least three European nations. At the same time, electricity markets are being liberalized in both the US and Europe, and many electricity consumers are being given the choice to support the development of renewable energy through higher tariffs, both in traditionally regulated and newly competitive markets. One notable area in which wind development in Europe and United States has not evolved in common, however, is with respect to the level of community ownership of wind turbines or clusters. While community ownership of wind projects is unheard of in the United States, in Europe, local wind cooperatives or other participatory business schemes have been responsible for a large share of total wind development. In Denmark, for example, approximately 80% of all wind turbines are either individually or cooperatively owned, and a similar pattern holds in Germany, the world leader in installed wind capacity. Sweden also has a strong wind cooperative base, and the UK has recently made forays into community wind ownership. Why is it that wind development has evolved this way in Europe, but not in the United States? What incremental effect have community-owned wind schemes had on European wind development? Have community-owned wind schemes driven development in Europe, or are they merely a vehicle through which the fundamental driving institutions have been channeled? Is there value to having community wind ownership in the US? Is there reason to believe that such schemes would succeed in the US? If so, which model seems most appropriate, and what barriers--legal, regulatory, tax, market, or investment--stand in the way of implementing such a scheme? These are the questions this report seeks to address. The report begins with a discussion of the relative advantages and disadvantages of community wind ownership, as opposed to the large commercially-owned projects that have so far dominated US wind development. Next, four detailed case studies relate community-owned wind experience in Denmark, Sweden, the UK, Germany, focusing primarily on the different participatory models employed in each country. The report then categorizes the various models into three main groupings--community-led, developer-led, and investment funds--and draws general conclusions about the success of each category in Europe, and the conditions that dictate the effective use of one approach over another. Finally, the focus shifts to the US, where the report discusses the domestic barriers facing each model category, and identifies the category offering the most value with the fewest barriers to implementation. The report concludes with a high-level introduction to potential applications for community wind ownership within the United States.

Physical Description

73 pages; OS: Windows XP

Notes

OSTI as DE00827946

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  • Other Information: PBD: 15 May 2001

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  • Report No.: LBNL--48357
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • DOI: 10.2172/827946 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 827946
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc778650

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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Creation Date

  • May 15, 2001

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • April 4, 2016, 4:03 p.m.

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Bolinger, Mark. Community wind power ownership schemes in Europe and their relevance to the United States, report, May 15, 2001; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc778650/: accessed May 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.