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Community Energy

The Northwest region has abundant sources of clean, renewable energy and many opportunities for conservation and efficiency. This site focuses on Community Energy in the Northwest, meaning development of these clean resources with substantial community ownership and involvement. Project size can vary widely, especially given the range of efficiency and renewable technologies, but historically these projects have been up to 20 megawatts, or roughly $20 million in cost. New financial models that allow many community members to invest modest amounts in large scale projects (over $20 million) are under development, but as yet are not widely available.

Benefits of Community Energy

Renewable energy and energy efficiency investments carry remarkable benefits including lower environmental impact, greater price stability, and greater energy security, when compared to investments in fossil fuel generation. In addition to those substantial benefits common to all clean energy solutions, Community Energy has several distinct advantages including:

These are the driving forces behind most community based efforts, and the reason we decided to create this website.

Note: Community energy is also used to mean energy projects that supply a block or neighborhood with heat, common in Europe, which is not what this website addresses.

Community Participation in Large-Scale Renewable Energy Projects

An alternative to developing a community-scaled renewable project is community participation in commercial scale (over 10 megawatt) projects. Larger-sized projects offer economies of scale and can be more cheaply developed on a cost per-kilowatt basis, but present their own unique challenges. Both benefits and ways to resolve challenges are discussed here.

How to Use This Site

This site is designed for people and organizations with a wide range of expertise and interests. Users should be easily able to start at any page on the site and follow an interest to other pages, using a variety of available tools such as tabs, navigation bars, “related topics” boxes, and key term searches. We welcome input on ways to make the site more user-friendly, please contact us with your suggestions.




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