Report highlights wind’s benefits for rural communities

Feb. 2, 2001—The advocacy group Climate Solutions has issued a report that touts wind energy’s potential to revitalize rural communities in the Northwest and outlines policy steps to encourage the market. The report was released in conjunction with the “Harvesting Clean Energy for Rural Development” conference held January 29-30 in Spokane, Wash.

The report highlights the economic development opportunities that wind power could bring to rural communities, including lease payments to landowners, construction and on-going operations jobs, and a new source of property taxes for local governments.

Specific examples from around the country are listed, including Oregon’s Vansycle Ridge Wind Farm, which provides more than $1,500 per turbine in annual leasing income to the landowner and pays almost $250,000 in yearly property taxes. The cases highlight the fact that wind power is very compatible with other agricultural uses and promises to boost rural communities because that is where the best wind resources tend to be located.

The report’s author, Patrick Mazza, suggests 12 steps to promote Northwest rural wind energy, including streamlined siting, guaranteed payments to producers, public-purposes funding, renewable portfolio standards, public-agency and retail customer wind purchases, and offsetting carbon emissions from fossil-fuel generating sources with wind development.

“Wind growth is being driven by demand for environmentally-friendly power, but wind is rapidly becoming cost-competitive with the cheapest source of new fossil fuel-fired power, natural gas turbines,” says Mazza. “While gas prices nearly doubled in the past year, wind isn’t vulnerable to fluctuating prices and the cost to build new wind farms is trending downward.”

The new report, Harvesting Clean Energy for Rural Development: Wind, is available at , or by contacting Rhys Roth, phone (360) 352-1763, e-mail [email protected] .