Own a Wind Farm? Black Oak Wind VP tells NYEW Meetup how New Yorkers are taking their energy future in their own hands.
For the environmentally minded among us, we often think of contributing to a clean energy future as shutting off the lights, recycling, or buying energy efficient appliances.
But what if you could physically build a new renewable energy project? That is exactly what more than 120 New Yorkers are doing, by investing in Black Oak Wind Farm, New York’s first “community-owned” renewable energy project. Community-owned means that any New Yorker has the opportunity to invest and claim ownership of the project.
Marguerite Wells, Black Oak’s Vice President and Project Manager, visited last week’s New York Energy Week Meetup to talk about how she first got involved with Black Oak and led the proposed 11.9 MW project to be on track for COD later this year. Black Oak has completed its environmental review, raised $3 million in community capital, and executed a 10-year PPA with Cornell University for 100% of its energy.
Wells explained that the community-owned model is new for New York but is ripe to gain traction outside of Enfield, the upstate town where Black Oak is located and where she lives.
NYEW Meetup attendees asked Wells about some of the challenges she’s overcome in the development process, from navigating Production Tax Credit eligibility to building near-universal local support. Emblematic of the bottom-up nature of Black Oak, one attendee who works in the energy storage space suggested that Marguerite construct a battery at the project’s Oak substation site. “If you have an idea, let’s talk about it,” she said, picking up the conversation over pizza after her talk.
It was not every day that you could shape an energy project, let alone own a part of one, but Wells has changed that for NYEW members and all New Yorkers. If you are interested in becoming an investor or learning more about Black Oak, you can visit the project’s webpage at: www.blackoakwindny.com. Marguerite can also be reached directly at: email@example.com