The U.S. Department of Energy recently released a report on barriers to the growth of distributed wind technology. The report presents key findings from DOE’s Deployment Barriers to Distributed Wind Technology Workshop, held on October 28, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. This workshop gathered over 50 experts from industry, non-profit organizations, academia, national laboratories, and the federal government to discuss the existing federal, state, and local policy frameworks and their relationships to the deployment of distributed wind technology. The purpose of the workshop was to identify obstacles to small and mid-size wind turbines and recommend how these obstacles could be reduced through federal policy action, federal interagency collaboration, or federal action of some other kind.
Participants discussed deployment barriers under five topic areas: interconnection, net metering policies, zoning ordinances, permitting requirements, and government incentives. As the midsize wind turbine market is considerably less developed than the small and utility scale wind markets, a sixth topic area was added to the midsize track: underdevelopment in the midsize market.
Workshop participants stressed that policy for renewable distributed generation should be technology neutral while respecting differences in cost and resources of each technology. In addition, policy needs to be in effect for long periods of time and have quality assurance requirements to reduce risk and build investor confidence. Finally, policies affecting renewable energy need to result from consensus across government agencies to ensure broad-based support for renewable energy and efficient and effective policy implementation. Guided by these policy principles, workshop participants identified policies capable of addressing deployment barriers and enabling the rapid deployment of distributed wind power projects and other forms of renewable distributed generation.
The report is available electronically here.