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Big Energy, Public Ownership
Jamais Cascio, 1 Mar 05

windturbine.jpgOne of the less-worldchanging aspects of many of the wind power projects underway is that most are being done by independent companies, which then sell the power to the appropriate electric utility or grid. Not that corporate involvement is a problem -- we're all for firms being a part of the bright green future. But it would be nice to see some of the public utilities get in on the action. That's what's so appealing about the Last Mile Electricity Co-op, and their new White Creek Project, which will open a 200 megawatt wind farm in southern Washington state, with over 80% ownership by public utilities (the remainder owned by participating non-profits).

Last Mile Electric Co-op membership comprises eight public utility districts, a handful of non-profit organizations, and the city of Olympia, Washington. Most of their projects are small-scale, from farm-sized wind installations producing up to a few hundred kilowatts of power, to renewables research such as wind mapping and dairy waste-to-energy projects. White Creek is their first step into utility-scale projects.

Other wind cooperative efforts exist, and many are doing quite well. The White Creek Project, however, will be orders of magnitude bigger than the vast majority of these other projects, and will serve 60,000 regional homes . Although smaller wind (and solar and, eventually, tidal/microhydro) power generation will be an increasingly important part of a smart grid future, it will take more big projects like White Creek for renewables to get the public's attention.

White Creek is scheduled to come online in early 2006.

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Worldchanging in this instance seems to refer to U.S. changing. This from The Renewable Energy Investment Club (year 2000)- "75% of Denmark’s wind power capacity is privately-owned - 50% of this is owned by individuals and 50% is owned by wind energy co-operatives. Wind energy co-operatives and individuals also own much of Sweden and Germany’s wind power capacity too. The integration of incentive schemes and support and integration at a local level has successfully aided the development of RE projects in these countries."
It was through the efforts of individuals and cooperatives, not private enterprise and government, that wind power got going in Denmark.
Extrapolate to innovate.

Posted by: John on 1 Mar 05

It was through the efforts of individuals and cooperatives, not private enterprise

Cooperatives are private enterprises.

Posted by: Joseph Willemssen on 1 Mar 05



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