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Introducing Community Energy Partners, also known as “Comm·En”, a consultancy located in Southern Maine helping farmers and agricultural producers, small businesses and municipalities reduce high energy costs by installing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.  At Comm·En, we provide competitively-priced strategic and project development services that help save money on electricity costs, and in some cases, can earn you money on your investment.

What is “community energy”?

A “community energy” project is a commercial-scale, renewable energy project that is locally-owned, and maximizes benefits to the local community.  “Locally owned” means that one or more members of the local community has a significant direct financial stake in the project, other than through land lease payments, tax revenue, or other payments in lieu of taxes.  “Commercial-scale” means a project that is generally less than 10 megawatts in size.

Here are some examples of community energy projects and their owners:

- Minwind I and II Windfarms, Luverne, Minnesota:  Jointly owned by 66 farmers and local resident investors, these 4 turbines (1.9 megawatts each) were installed in 2002.  In addition to local funding, the project received a federal section 9006 grant and wind production tax credits to help finance it.  Revenues from the project are helping to fund additional community wind projects in the same area.  Payback is expected to be 10 years.

- Haubenschilds Farm in Princeton, Minnesota:  Supported by state and federal incentives, the Haubenschilds Farm installed a biogas (anaerobic) digester to address manure management in 1999 that now powers a 130 kw internal combustion engine and creates electricity that is fed onto the local grid, and provides heat to a dairy barn.  In 2005, it launched a research pilot project that uses biogas from the digester to power a 5 kw fuel cell.  It now receives annual carbon credit revenues to accentuate its bottom line.

 - Koda Biomass Energy Project, Shakopee, Minnesota:  Scheduled to come on-line in 2007, this 14 mw combined heat and power biomass energy project will provide the full heat and power needs of the Rahr Malting Company, and part of the needs of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota Community.  Both are joint owners.  Waste biomass from the malting process as well as crops from local farms will provide the biomass fuel for the baseload facility.  Initiated with DOE funding, it will benefit from the federal biomass production tax credit.