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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Possibilties for Cooperative Energy Generation

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April 8, 2008
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - April 7 - A typical 2 megawatt wind turbine provides enough electricity for around 600 average American homes. So why is it nearly impossible for those same 600 households to pool their resources and own a wind turbine?

A new policy brief by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) shows how removing two barriers to owning and investing in renewable energy projects can pave the way for true energy independence.

"Current federal law discriminates against people owning their own power plants," says John Farrell, author of the policy brief. "The federal tax incentive is unavailable for the average person, and security regulations make local ownership difficult."

A bill by Representative Tim Walz (D-MN), H.R. 2691, addresses part of the tax problem by making the federal tax incentive for wind power available to up to a third of all Americans.

"Removing this barrier to energy ownership makes smaller projects more accessible to the local community, and draws local investors back into the process," says Farrell. "Plus, ownership brings more economic benefits to a community than an absentee firm putting up a turbine."

The full report, Broadening Wind Energy Ownership by Changing Federal Incentives, is available online at:

For more information, or to arrange an interview with John Farrell, please contact Brooke Gullikson.

About ILSR and the New Rules Project: The Institute for Local Self-Reliance is a nonprofit organization founded in 1974 to advance sustainable, equitable, and community-centered economic development through research and educational activities and technical assistance. In 1998, ILSR established the New Rules Project to foster greater civic participation and an increased emphasis on the importance of our local economies. More at and

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