Background on Power through Policy

“Best Practices” for Cost-Effective Distributed Wind
U.S. Department of Energy Award DE-EE0000503

Users will learn what policy improvements – including overcoming zoning and interconnection hurdles, as well as rebates and tax incentives driving sales – are most needed for wind turbines up to 100 kW, and in which states. The Policy Tool allows sensitivity analyses to be conducted on various policy options and assumptions to determine impacts and optimal combinations to help guide efficient use of public and ratepayer funds.

The Guidebook highlights attractive markets and policy targets that offer the quickest returns on investment, by providing case studies, encouraging policy makers to build on lessons learned with best practices to sustain and improve support for on-site wind generation. Case studies are included to compare and contrast the existing policy landscape. One case study ranks all states based on their current incentives and market environments for distributed wind.

Led by eFormative Options, experts from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the North Carolina Solar Center all played key roles in the project. “With increasing use of electric vehicles, wind turbines sited near the point of end use, such as at parking lots and truck stops, can quickly ramp-up to meet local demand,” said eFormative’s Principal Heather Rhoads-Weaver. “Our project helps ensure public dollars supporting this valuable technology are spent wisely.”

While rebates and incentives have been important drivers for the adoption of distributed wind technology, other policies have hindered market growth. With the wide variety of policies and regulations across various jurisdictional levels, utilities and policy makers wanting to support small wind projects have needed the clear roadmap that the Policy Tool and Guidebook provide.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, the market for small wind systems grew 26% in 2010. “Small wind turbines are poised to become an important piece of our country’s energy puzzle,” said Rhoads-Weaver. “Strategic policy support can enable this emerging technology to more effectively contribute to the national economy.”

To read more about the tool, click here. 
For the current version of the tool, click here.