Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies from Minnesota
Nearly two dozen school districts in southern Minnesota would have hundreds of thousands of dollars restored to their budgets next year under a tax provision passed in the state Senate on Wednesday. An amendment, introduced by Sen. Dan Sparks of Austin, would restore to school districts the revenue generated by an energy production tax on wind farms. Triton, Grand Meadow and Southland are among the 22 districts that would benefit from this revenue stream at a time when schools are struggling financially, legislators say. ...Those odds are still considered long. Spark's amendment passed by only a single vote, while exposing a deep regional rift between rural and metro legislators.
On the heels of hefty budget cuts, Grand Meadow Public Schools is now faced with losing thousands of dollars in revenue from wind turbines. Superintendent Joe Brown said his district expected to get $50,000 in extra revenue next year thanks to a tax on area wind farms. But a change to state law last year means schools would no longer benefit from the wind energy production tax. Meanwhile, efforts by area lawmakers this session to restore the tax benefits have met stiff opposition. Brown said his district, which is currently in statutory operating debt, had been counting on the wind tax dollars.
Wind energy companies are hoping for quick action on a tax credit affecting their industry when congress resumes work later this month. The credit is set to expire at the end of this year. The organizer of a wind project in western Minnesota says that is creating uncertainty which could slow development of Minnesota's growing wind production. ...Most people in the wind industry expect Congress will act soon to extend the tax credit past the end of the year. Brent Olson of Big Stone Wind says that should happen in the next few months. If it does not happen, he and others will scramble to decide how that decision affects their corner of the wind energy world.
They gave their word and in return farmers gave up their land. Now a broken promise by the state to turn wind energy dollars into funding for schools has at least one farmer fuming. ...Al says, "I had to sign a 30-year lease; I am married to these." Of course there's financial gain for the Stier's to have these on their property, but being civic-minded, they also just wanted to help their schools.
School districts stand to lose thousands of dollars a year under a new law that takes away taxes generated by wind farms. A measure passed the Legislature last session means school districts will no longer benefit from taxes generated by local windmills after June 30, 2009. It's a change that has some southeastern Minnesota school officials angry.
NEW ULM - A few years from now, District 88 may begin to reap some benefits from wind energy. The school district is registered as an "interested party" in a federally funded program that would potentially provide it with a revenue source from the sale of wind energy produced at a wind farm in western Minnesota, Superintendent Harold Remme told the Board of Education last week. The school district will be participating in a Phase II grant process facilitated by Johnson Controls. All costs associated with the project are covered by a federal grant. The grant will pay for 10-year interest-free bonds to fund the wind farm project.
Utilities would turn increasingly to wind, water and other renewable-energy sources for their electricity under a pace-setting bill that cleared the Minnesota House tonight. After almost three hours of debate, the House voted 123-10 to join the Senate in requiring utilities to meet ambitious new requirements. The bill now goes to Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is expected to sign it. Earlier this month, the Senate voted 63-3 to adopt it. “It will be the strongest, most aggressive renewable-energy standard in the country,'’ said Rep. Aaron Peterson, DFL-Appleton, the bill’s chief sponsor.
The Minnesota state Senate passed a new renewable energy standard Friday under which the utilities would be required to generate 25 percent renewable energy by 2025. Initially, consumers may pay a slightly increased rate for their power, but the bill includes measures to protect consumers if costs get too high, The Fergus Falls Daily reported. In the long run, Sen. Dan Skogen believes the hike will power research into affordable alternatives. “Utility rates will pick up because the cost of renewables is more expensive right now, so energy bills will go up,” he said. “But maybe that will be an incentive to do further research on renewables to improve the costs.” This legislation has been in the pipeline for a while and since before that Minnesota Power was already requiring a minimum percentage of renewable generation, said representative for Minnesota Power at the 2007 Wind Power Finance and Investment Summit in San Diego. Minnesota has historically been a major player in wind; it has one of the top five capacity potentials in the United States along the same lines of Texas and Washington. The first phase of Fenton, a major wind farm near Pipestone, was recently completed and the second phase is now under way and is expected to be operational by 2008.
A large wind farm that’s being built in Brookings County, South Dakota, and Lincoln County, Minnesota, must be operating by the end of next year so it can qualify for federal tax credits.
The trend is upward elsewhere, too. Utilities in 36 states offer some form of green pricing, and last year 430,000 households bought green power - up 20 percent from a year earlier, the U.S. Energy Department reported.