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United States

Wind power gets majority state clean energy dollars

Wind power has captured 60% of $400 million in state clean energy dollars throughout the US since 1998 and 80% of the 2249 MW in renewable energy projects supported by state clean energy funds in the same period, according to a report released last month by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), in conjunction with the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA). The data follows a March update to an LBNL database designed to track information on 234 renewable energy projects supported by CESA clean energy funds. Wind received $250 million dollars for 1878 MW of installed capacity. Of the 2249 MW total of new capacity currently supported by state funds, half has been completed, leaving 1133 MW still in the development pipeline. The report shows states increasingly using innovative incentive structures to support the projects. While 78% of aggregate funding has been awarded through real-time production payments, several states offer variations on that traditional theme. Some award lump sum payments secured by a letter of credit at the inception of commercial operations. Others make advance purchases of tradable renewable certificates. Both approaches provide much needed capital early in the life of a project. Unlike grants with no strings attached, such incentives encourage good performance without reducing the value of the federal production tax credit. Other structures include providing ten year price insurance on a project's tradable green credits as provision of debt for financing.

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