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PUD put together an LLC with 2 other PUDs to finance, install, and run wind turbine farms in Klickitat County.

I will write a diary about the details this Winter, but the basic advantages for the district are: 1) control of the resource (and pricing) and 2) full property taxes for the county itself. As to the second part - if the PUD owned the resources directly, the formula for publicly-owned property reduces the tax rate very substantially. Because the LLC owns the turbines, property taxes are set at the standard rate. Klickitat County will soon have $2 billion in assessed value - which is huge in a strictly rural county.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (paulgspencer@gmail.com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 05:36:11 PM EST
Paul, sent you an email about a top colleague who can help on the technology side.  And nb41, nice detailed diary, but don't worry about investment, as nature abhors a vacuum.  Sure it means work, but the work will be done.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 05:49:53 PM EST
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CH,

Thanks. I'm a firm believer that if there is the will to build wind turbines and install them at this scale, it could be done. And solutions to the variability (of closely co-located sites) and electricity storage can be found, though this will also start a decent sized cottage industry in complaining about how difficult it will be to do. Oh well, engineers and scientists also bitch and grumble and take apart the ideas of others - its how things get improved. No use being a wilting flower about it. If the ideas can't cut the mustard, so to speak, maybe they are so good.

But the scale of the ridiculous tax breaks for the wealthy...now that is something worth griping about (don't those types already most most things under the sun???). They should make a profit on the sale of their electricity, and pay taxes on those profits. And if that means raising the price of electricity to near its real, sustainable price, c'est la vie. I bet if I ran the series out to 2030 (even if the PTC was ended in 2020, the total lack of taxes would be close to $2 trillion. Uggh....

Nb41

by nb41 on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 03:07:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Once you've built the things, you really should consider monetising the energy they produce with "shares" redeemable in energy.

See

Beyond Peak Credit: A New Approach to Energy Investment

The outcome for the county would be an "Energy Pool" and "Energy Dividend".

KiloWattCards

are part of such an architecture....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 07:19:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Paul,

Did the latest proposal for a wind farm in that County get approved? I heard there were some fearsome headwinds on one of the proposals, and that in spite of no apparent violation of "The Starbucks Rule". That rule, for those not acquainted, if that putting a wind farm within 7 miles of a Starbucks will likely incur the wrath of some scurrilous Starbucks patrons (= Yuppies with Trophy Homes) who hate the idea of seeing THEIR view altered with electricity generating devices. And even though the Starbucks rule is a big hurdle to overcome, it beats the Vermont Conundrum. In Vermont, the "Green Mountain State", wind turbine siting is a bloodsport, like hockey on 'roids and various combinations of large amounts of legal and/or illegal stimulants. The right to New York State produced really cheap renewable electricity (St Lawrence River and Niagara River) in Vermont (while most people in NY State can't touch that stuff), and the right to have hills unadorned with wind turbines, still reigns supreme.

Anyway, seeing them turn in the breeze is fine by most people, and the more who get used to them/familiar to them, the less the opposition to them becomes. It's fine by me...I just wish it was easier to vote with my dollars spent for electricity. Sign me up for a co-op....

Nb41

by nb41 on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 03:25:19 PM EST
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to my county - Skamania. We are in the midst of a fight concerning zoning, which is largely precipitated by, and focused on, a potential wind farm. It is very definitely a NIMBY problem, but the chief opponents are relatively thoughtful folks, who are asking primarily for a larger set-back.

The potential developer seems to be somewhat tentative, too. I think that they would be glad to see zoning that makes the permit process relatively free of public input, but I don't think that they will actually invest in the present market.

You may know that I live in the Columbia River Gorge, which is actually one of the highest-rated regions of the U.S. for wind-power. Much of our neighboring county, Klickitat, has about a 6 rating on the 7-point scale that the feds use, as it serves as part of an eastern funnel for the Gorge winds. Their main advantage is that the local economy is agricultural, and the farmers are grateful for the steady rental income and the cheap electricity.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (paulgspencer@gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 11:20:01 PM EST
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