Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has announced the creation of a Backyard Wind initiative, which will provide rebates to homeowners, businesses, municipalities, and nonprofits seeking to harness wind power through the use of land-based wind turbines. LIPA has assigned $1.2 million to the initiative in the operating budget for 2009. The initiative is an expansion of the LIPA's Solar Pioneer program which has rebated over $36 million on the installation of 1,700 photovoltaic systems since 2000.

The initiative is in synchronization with the New York Governor David Paterson’s “45 X 15 program, which stipulates the state to meet 45% of its electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and renewable sources by 2015.

LIPA’s wind initiative will work as follows:

New residential installations will be rebated at the lesser of $3.50 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for the first 16,000 kWh or 60% of the total installed cost, for 2009.

New commercial installations will be rebated at the lesser of $3.50 per kWh for the first 16,000 kWh and $0.50 per kWh thereafter up to a maximum of 175,200 kWh or 60% of the total installed cost, for 2009.

New municipalities and non-for-profit installations will be rebated at the lesser of $4.50 per kWh for the first 16,000 kWh and $1.50 kWh thereafter up to a maximum of 175,200 kWh or 60 % of the installed cost, for 2009.

LIPA’s intends to achieve wind energy transformation in Longs Island by achieving the following:

Accelerating consumer awareness and market demand for wind systems;

Accelerating the development of a sound, self sustaining local infrastructure for the delivery and the maintenance of quality wind systems;

Developing a mechanism to overcome financial market barriers;

Accelerating the cost reduction of wind systems while increasing reliability and performance

“Just as LIPA’s Solar Pioneer program helped transform the photovoltaic industry and make Long Island a leader in solar panel installations, the hope is that our wind pilot will do the same for the wind industry,” LIPA President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin S. Law, said. “Our energy future is clear; we need to continue investing in and promoting the use of clean, alternative forms of energy now, or we will never break free from our reliance on costly, dirtier, fossil fuels needed to generate electricity in the traditional way.”

“This is a great initiative and I am proud to continue moving the Town of Islip to the forefront of environmental issues,” said Town Supervisor Phil Nolan. “Wind turbines will offer residents an eco-friendly, cost-saving option to meet their energy needs and the LIPA pilot project will help offset significant purchase and installation costs. As the technology advances it will became more affordable and the resolution we passed is a strong first step in expanding green technology town-wide.”

“The Farm Bureau is highly supportive of LIPA’s new Wind Power Initiative,” Long Island Farm Bureau Executive Director Joe Gergela, said. “Wind energy used on the East End and on farms across Long Island will not only provide green energy that is safe for the environment but will help those in the farming community to lower their bills.”

“In the right location, small wind turbines can generate plenty of emission-free electricity and help home and business owners meet their energy needs,” Renewable Energy Long Island Executive Director Gordian Raacke, said. “Thanks to LIPA’s new rebates for small wind turbines and state and federal income tax credits, this technology is now becoming available and affordable to more Long Islanders.”

LIPA’s renewable program funding, was increased from $8 million in 2008 to $14.4 million in 2009. This increased investment represents $13.2 million for expansion of the incentives provided for the residential Solar Pioneer program and the creation of a new “Solar Entrepreneur” program for businesses and municipal solar installations with capacities of up to 100 kw, and the $1.2 million allocation for this wind initiative.