Community Wind: Once Again Pushing the Envelope of Project Finance

Community Wind: Once Again Pushing the Envelope of Project Finance

TitleCommunity Wind: Once Again Pushing the Envelope of Project Finance
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsMark Bolinger
Date Published01/2011
Keywordselectricity markets and policy group, energy analysis and environmental impacts department

The "community wind" sector in the United States – defined in this report as consisting of relatively small utility-scale wind power projects that sell power on the wholesale market and that are developed and owned primarily by local investors – has historically served as a "test bed" or "proving grounds" not only for up-and-coming wind turbine manufacturers trying to break into the broader U.S. wind market, but also for wind project financing structures. More recently, a handful of community wind projects built over the past year have been financed via new and creative structures that push the envelope of wind project finance in the U.S. – in many cases, moving beyond the now-standard partnership flip structures involving strategic tax equity investors. Details of the financing structures used for each project are described in Section 4 of the full report. In most cases, these are first-of-their-kind structures that could serve as useful examples for other projects – both community and commercial wind alike. Other policy-related enablers of some of the financial innovation profiled in this report include New Markets Tax Credits – which are not new but have only recently been tapped to help finance solar projects and, for the first time, in 2010 have been part of a community wind project financing – and Section 6108 of the 2008 Farm Bill, which expands the USDA's authority to loan to renewable generation projects, even if those projects are not serving traditional rural markets.

LBNL Report Number


Refereed DesignationUnknown