Full Title: Financial Innovation Among the Community Wind Sector in the United States
Author(s): Mark Bolinger
Publisher(s): Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Publication Date: July 1, 2012
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In the relatively brief history of utility-scale wind generation, the “community wind” sector – defined here as consisting of relatively small utility-scale wind power projects that are at least partly owned by one or more members of the local community – has played a vitally important role as a “test bed” or “proving ground” for wind turbine manufacturers. In the 1980s and 1990s, for example, Vestas and other now-established European wind turbine manufacturers relied heavily on community wind projects in Scandinavia and Germany to install – and essentially field-test – new turbine designs. The fact that orders from community wind projects seldom exceeded more than a few turbines at a time enabled the manufacturers to correct any design flaws or manufacturing defects fairly rapidly, and without the risk of extensive (and expensive) serial defects that can accompany larger orders.