Creating Opportunities for Cooperative Distributed Wind with Rural Utilities

April 15, 2021

Recently published resources from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) illuminate how distributed wind projects can be used to benefit rural electric utilities and the communities they power. NRECA’s DOE-funded project Rural Area Distributed Wind Integration Network Development (RADWIND) aims to understand, address, and reduce the technical risks and market barriers to distributed wind adoption by rural utilities. In the first phase of their project, the RADWIND team surveyed NRECA membership interests in distributed wind, identified beneficial use cases for distributed wind, and is developing case studies on members’ successful distributed wind projects. The first case study features Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, who estimate that their two 10.5-megawatt distributed wind projects will earn well over $300,000 per year for 20 years. The annual revenue from the distributed wind plants benefits the electric co-op and community by helping to keep electricity costs down for members and by improving the local tax base. In addition, several community members profit directly by leasing farmland to the co-op for the turbines.